Why You Shouldn’t Be The Authoritative Blogger


by Joe Warnimont |

When you write a blog post do you have any idea how you sound to other people? It’s an interesting question, because chances are you have no idea. Your loyal followers aren’t going to tell you, and those who think you stink have run far away from you already.

You learn lots about how you need to create an authoritative blog. You require a voice to show people that you know what you’re talking about. Unfotunately, there are plenty of bloggers out there who just sound like jerks. They talk down to their audience and this jerkiness moves into their personal lives as well.

It’s similar to how Bill O’Reilly or Chris Matthews develop authoritative personas, but then they just end up annoying most people, and it actually seems like they start to believe everything that comes out of their mouths. Regardless of your politics, generating too much authority makes people turn against you, and it’s usually not good for a business.

Let’s take a look at why being an authoritative jerk hurts you in the long run.

You Make People Feel Self Conscience or Demeaned

No one likes getting talked down to, and when you write your blog posts you have a chance to show modesty or tell people that you are always right. Good authority is about showing people what mistakes you have made in the past and how you got past them. This type of authority connects with your readers and shows that you are not walking around thinking that the world owes you something.

The last thing you want is your readers to feel self conscience about their business or hurt by the way you speak. This usually comes in the form of you bragging about your successes and backing up all of your claims with your boring resume. The thing is that people don’t respond to resumes. They respond to action. Having a PhD doesn’t give you the credentials needed to tell me how to handle my health. It’s a decent start, but I’d rather hear stories from a practicing physician who just recently handled a patient with a similar sickness as I. Your diploma doesn’t mean a darn thing. Show people that you are actively learning and sharing the information. You are experiencing the learning process together.

You Make People Feel Dependant on You

Being too authoritative leads people to latch on to your teachings. This is counterproductive for you and your readers. Whenever they need help with something they come back to you for help. This wastes your time and disproves your teaching methods. Teach your readers how to fish instead of creating miracles that require them to turn to you for help all of the time.

Even if you are scared of losing these followers then they will always recommend you if they find success. There’s no way they find success if you keep giving them the answers and not the procedures.

You Make Yourself a Target

When you walk around and tell everyone that you are the smartest person in the world, naturally people want to challenge the claim. If you develop a social media blog that discounts other people in the field, then you should get ready for the experts to plow you over. No one likes to get attacked, so you need to learn when it’s time for controversial moves and when it’s good to stand your ground.

Even if you don’t catch the eye of experts in your industry, beginners are not dumb. They will constantly fact check and see whether or not you are actually giving them good information. You can bet that people follow multiple blogs, so if you contradict someone with clout then you bring more and more attention to yourself.

Getting started in an industry often means that you have to fake it until you make it. Let’s be honest, not everyone knows everything, so there will be times that you say something that isn’t true. This is fine, but you shoot yourself in the foot when you start acting arrogant about your claims. If your authority supersedes the actual content and relationship building, you run the risk of losing your customer base altogether.

You Might Scare Away People You Admire

I call this the babbling fan syndrome. It’s never done anyone any good, and when you are in a situation where a fan gushes over your work it becomes prevalent that some people just don’t know when to hold it back a little.

Imagine a young teenager who finally gets backstage passes to his favorite rock band. He has a whole monologue prepared for the band, with references to past obscure songs and how he has loved the band before they were even known. The boy plans on quoting particular lines in a song to show how much he knows and how it relates to his own life.

The problem with this? It’s a little weird and overbearing. You’ll hear from artists time and again that fans often overanalyze great stories and art as having deep underlying meaning when the artist simply wanted to make something cool. There is a great scene in Entourage where an obnoxious fan asks James Cameron if the sinking of the Titanic was a foreshadowing of an upcoming economic crisis. He responds with, “No, I just wanted to make young girls cry.”

When you act like you know everything about one of your heros, you lose your own human personality. This goes for bloggers, artists, entrepreneurs and pretty much anyone you look up to. If you want any chance of working with them or learning from them in the future you can’t act like they are some god. Showing them how much you know about their resume is tedious and annoying.

Write your thoughts on authority in the comments section below. Let us know if you have trouble finding the line between too authoritative and not authoritative enough. What do you think of this blog post? Does it provide enough information without sounding too “jerky”?

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Joe Warnimont is a writer and marketing professional who writes for technology companies and runs a writing blog called Write With Warnimont. You can find him riding his bike in Chicago.

[via RichWP]

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