We often hear the word “authority” mentioned in blogging circles, particularly in discussions around building a loyal following.
At its most basic, authority is about knowing what you’re talking about, and who you’re talking to. If you think about it, this is a key to rich exchanges in the real world. Why wouldn’t it be the same online?
Looking at some of the leading bloggers in some specific niches today, though, it’s clear that they have more than authority and a way with words or images.
They’re also great leaders. They show their followers how to overcome challenges successfully. They keep their tribe abreast of industry developments and warn them of pitfalls. They help audiences avoid making the mistakes they themselves have made.
That’s how they build readership: by being the best leader within their blogging niche. Let’s look at how this pans out in practice.
Lead through knowledge
To lead a group, you usually need to know more about the topic, overall, than anyone else in the group.
This doesn’t mean you have to know everything—none of us can claim that. But you need to have unique, first-hand knowledge of the topic, gained over time, through your own personal experience.
As a blogger, you need to know your niche better than anyone. This is your first point of value in attracting readers. It may also be a crucial element in your unique selling proposition.
An example is Jules Clancy from The Stone Soup. Jules is a food technologist-turned food blogger. She’s got a thorough knowledge of food at a very detailed level. And now she’s leveraging that knowledge at a high level, to blog about food and offer classes and courses to her loyal and growing readership.
Similarly, Nomadic Matt Kepnes has more than six years’ experience of having a fantastic time travelling the globe on a shoestring budget. Few of his competitors can claim that level of knowledge of the same niche, and his rising reader levels reflect how important that is in this complicated niche.
Lead through innovation
One thing we can say about leaders in pretty much all industries or niches is that they innovate. You don’t stay ahead of the pack for long unless you find new ways to operate. And by sharing the results of that innovation, you can gain a loyal following that values your bleeding-edge insights.
Leaders share their experiments so that they can save their readers time and trouble. Whether they’re