Blogging: The Rule of Authority

June 26, 2013 by Linda Anger

On or off-line, people trust, follow, and share the wisdom and content of those they feel have greater authority than themselves. As children we accepted the authority of our parents, babysitters, teachers, the police, and clergy. When we matured, we also honored the orders of our boss, attorney, or doctor.

Authority Holds Power

In an on-air stunt, a TV reporter dressed in a uniform and carrying a badge and baton placed a sign on the ATM that read “OUT OF ORDER – GIVE DEPOSITS TO GUARD ON DUTY,” then stood next to the machine.

“Do you need to make a deposit, or a withdrawal?” he asked as each bank patron approached.

Without hesitation, the customers handed over cash, checks, Social Security numbers, credit cards, account numbers, and PIN codes. In two hours time, the reporter gained access to over $10,000 in check deposits and account balances. Only one out of ten showed any signs of hesitation, even though they were all giving away private information that could leave them penniless if it fell into the wrong hands.

When the reporter ‘fessed up and asked the people why they were so willing to hand him money and private information, every one of them stated that the sign and the uniform gave him authority. [1]

Blogging: The Rule of Authority

Online Authority

Google and the other search engines give “authority” to people who have earned a following and share all they can on a given topic. The more “authority” Google ascribes to you and your web page/blog, the higher your page will rank in organic search results.

While the search engine authority equation is complex, the concept is simple: online, your authority is based on what other people say about you, which includes the number of other authoritative people who link to your site or blog. As humans, we seek out the people who are credible, knowledgeable, and reliable. We give them authority, and when we see that someone else has the “blessing” of those authoritative people, we give them authority, too, so we link to them or subscribe to their blogs and feeds. Why do you think unknown authors pay $10,000 or more for a two-sentence front-of-the-book “endorsement” from famous names? They become authoritative by association.

How do you Build Authority?

Aside from technical steps related to coding for Search Engines, there are quite a few things you can do. Here are four no-cost avenues with which to start:

Stories that STICK & Educate: “Sticky content” is the stuff that brings people back to your website again and again. It’s relevant to the reader, and it educates. Sticky Content is not loaded up with sales talk.

Great Headlines and Hooks: Without ‘em, you don’t have a chance to attract attention. 80% of people read only the headline. Only 20% read the rest.

Good Content Promotion: Great Content + Limited Promo = Fail. Great Content + Great Promo = Great Results. Be consistent and strong in your promotions, but don’t load it up with sales talk.

Loyal Subscribers: You can yammer on all you want about your favorite topic, but you are speaking into the wind if you don’t have a growing following. Offer incentives and/or freebies - an e-book, for example - when people subscribe to your blog, then stay in touch. Look them up on Facebook or Twitter and learn a bit about them, contact them and ask for their feedback. Show them you are interested in them, and your list will grow because they will talk about you to their network.

On or off-line, people trust, follow, and share the wisdom and content of those they feel have greater authority than themselves. Will you be one of them?


[1] Story told by noted Copywriter Dean Rieck www.directcreative.com

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