How to Sound Like You Know What You’re Blogging About

This is a guest post by Tia Peterson of BizChickBlogs.com

Think of the most influential person you know. Think for another minute about what it is that attracts others to that person, and makes everyone around her say, “She really knows what she’s talking about (or he :)).”

In order to sound like you know what you’re talking about, you first have to know what you’re talking about. But, even after that, there’s more to it than just being knowledgeable. A lot of it is in the way you present information; it’s in your tone, your appearance, and the way you talk about yourself.

Even if your blog is new, you’ll establish yourself as an authority in your niche among your readers if you can earn their trust and then keep it.

1. Be Honest

A front can only last for so long, and the lifecycle of the lie gets shorter and shorter as the number of people you surround yourself with grows. If you plan on maximizing your reach and putting yourself in front of many people, learn to get real. Take cues from some of the thought leaders out there: the ones with long-time, loyal followings in mass numbers are very honest.

There’s a method to the madness, though. It’s not about being honest for the sake of morality. It’s about being honest for the sake of trust. There’s no question that you should not lie – we all know that. But being honest about who you are, what you know, and how you can help establishes a level of trust that is not easily broken. People will feel comfortable with what you have to say going forward if they trust that you are not going to lie to them; that if you don’t really know something, you’ll be upfront about it.

2. Be Opinionated

I’m not so sure when or why the word opinionated got such a bad name, but in the realm of thought-leadership, it’s crucial. However, don’t add being nasty, rude or condescending to the mix. Opinionated just means that you have an opinion about something one way or the other.

As an advisor, you’ll need to have an opinion in order to really provide advice. Feel free to offer an open-ended discussion but be prepared to answer the question, “What do you think about that?”

3. Be Accurate

This is a tough one. Ultimately, you have to be right. At least, you have to be mostly right. When you don’t know something for sure, refer back to number 1 above and just mention that. But where you do know something, you should probably test it out before you go blogging about it. You can bet that others will certainly be testing your theories, too, and the mavens among them are going to call out the inaccuracies.

Your blog is your turf, so protect it. If you’re blogging about numerical things (stats, etc.), show proof. If you just want to avoid the potential for error altogether, admit that you haven’t tested something but you are in the process of it (e.g., if you are promoting a product). In all likelihood, you’ll attract comments and reactions from people who are in the same boat that you are.

4. Be Open

It takes guts to do what we do as bloggers. Fully knowing that everything we publish online is going to live on well past us, we lay out our thoughts, knowledge, and very valuable advice out there for the public to consume, and we do it FREE.

Then add to all of that the fact that we invite people comment on our stuff! Naturally, it would be easy to get defensive of our own contributions to this world.

But if you want to sound like you know what you’re talking about, you have to be open enough to hear and appreciate responses. Maybe it’s just me, but people who get defensive about their posts come off a little immature. People who are sure about what they say aren’t shaken so easily. For the most part, they believe they are right, so, a little challenge isn’t going to mean much. And if they are shown to be wrong, that’s fine, too. They acknowledge it and store it away for later.

5. Be Choosy

If you really, really want to sound like you know what you’re talking about, you have to be choosy. Pick your battles – and that includes what you choose to write about, how you choose to write it, and how you respond to reader comments. Hone your craft, and then own it. Lack of passion is noticeable, so try not to write about things you don’t know or care about.

On my own blog, I’m very choosy about both topics and writing style. I don’t write a certain way or about a certain thing just because everyone is writing that way today. Tomorrow, that trend may be long gone. I have made it a point to stay away from fluff, even if it means sacrificing some traffic. As a result, in just a short time, people trust me enough to seek my advice and opinions on things, and that speaks for itself.

Your Turn

What else characterizes people who are generally thought of as in-the-know? What matters to you?





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Comments

  1. says

    “…there’s more to it than just being knowledgeable. A lot of it is in the way you present information; it’s in your tone, your appearance, and the way you talk about yourself.”

    I had a really good chuckle, thank you. This is so true; some people will never fully understand it. I didn’t until I started experiencing it for myself.

    I have several close friends, as well as acquaintances. Absolutely brilliant; true genius in every sense. Literally.

    No people skills whatsoever in any shape or form; asked to give a public presentation would probably result in mass suicide. LOL
    .-= New from Dennis Edell @ Direct Sales Marketing A TRUE Make Money Online blog – Part 2 – Choose My Domain Name =-.

  2. says

    I really enjoyed this post, it is very relevant for me. I always try to make sure I am honest in all of my posts, and that I only blog about a subject that I am ready to stand behind and defend my opinion. I think I have a good way to test myself though:

    When I publish a new post, I think to myself: “Would I be happy to present this in front of a room full of industry experts.” and “Would I be happy to present this in front of all of my school friends.”

    If the answer is no to either question then I know I need to seriously think about what I’m writing. Building the trust of my readership is always number one priority.

    Just my thoughts. Great post, thanks.

  3. says

    Fantastic Post!!! I am so happy to read this as it serves as the affirmation of what I am doing, especially the honest and opinionated part. I have heard so many people say that my genre (yoga/travel/books/self-improvement & few more) on prolifc living is too large and that I don’t publish frequently enough (2x a week) and that my posts are too long (no 500 word post really, sorry) but I write from the heart about what I want in the exact style and voice and if it doesn’t attract a million people or a million dollars (which it shall someday), I happen to be fine with it. I am doing it all for ME first so that I can be of some value for OTHERS. Selfishness is another thing that gets a bad rap in this world and it’s quite a virtue, really :)!
    Ok I am done now. Hey thanks again for this post!

    • says

      Thanks, Farnoosh! I’ve always believed that no amount of constructive criticism can compare to the good that just a little bit of self confidence and self respect can. At the end of the day, if you’re accomplishing your goals, you must be doing something right!

  4. says

    I’ve not started blogging yet and I’ve read lot of blogs. I guess most readers understand you can’t be the master to all subject. Its alright to say “I’m not really good in this…”

    Honesty is the best policy a blogger should have.

    • says

      Agreed. I wrote once about not liking blogging – because it was the truth at the time! I caught a little flack for it, but I’d rather be upfront with my readers than pretend. Instead of losing readers, I gained a few, because they could relate.

  5. says

    I am just starting and learning a lot from this blogging world. The present article is really full of insight and a good guideline.
    Because I don’t know everything about what I am talking, I try to be MOST HONEST. But still, I’m safe, because I do not pass instructions and decisions but rather share my feelings and reasons and causes that moved me to write something about the topic. I invite my readers to share their views to shape my belief.
    I guess, this is the process of learning, after all!
    .-= New from Suresh Khanal @ icttrends.com How to Use Embed Tweets in Blog Post? Three Steps with Blackbird Bookmarklet =-.

  6. says

    In my eyes, the first guideline of all bloggers should follow is “Keep Honest”. Perhaps our articles are not attractive, but we can be honest when writing.
    If you we keep honest all the time, I think more and more readers will find the value of our posts.
    .-= New from Calking@ Health Tips Low Cost Individual Health Insurance Plan =-.

  7. says

    Hey Tia, definitely a good post. :) I especially like “Be Choosy” about what you write and post about… don’t just post for the sake of posting. Post something relevant, valuable to your readers, and something you enjoy talking about and… have an opinion on! :)

    I agree opinionated gets a bad rap, and if we didn’t have opinions we’d all be like drones, walking around and talking about the same things… no excitement or friction or point of view whatsoever. Boring!

    C

    • says

      Hey Cori! Thank you! Ugh, I know! People say they don’t like opinionated people but if you look at every major world changer, they all had/have strong opinions one way or the other. Even Ghandi had an opinion about the best way to live – in peace! :) Cheers.

    • says

      Absolutely. It works very well and it requires that you do some research, which in turn makes you a bit more knowledgeable! Thanks for your comment.

    • says

      Hey Ari: A lot of what is up there is opinion. It’s a post containing observations, and they are all mine. :) I suppose the one that stands out the most is

      “In order to sound like you know what you’re talking about, you first have to know what you’re talking about. But, even after that, there’s more to it than just being knowledgeable. A lot of it is in the way you present information; it’s in your tone, your appearance, and the way you talk about yourself.”

      That’s a very opinionated statement. People may agree with it, but it’s not fact. Only opinion.

  8. says

    Tia, these are all important points.

    What sounds most salient for me right now is the need to be accurate. With blogging there are no fact checkers or editors to catch mistakes, so we need to be extra careful, especially since lack of accuracy is one of the key knocks on blogs.
    .-= New from John Soares@ Work Less, Live More Beat Parkinson’s Law — Get More Done Quicker =-.

    • says

      Thanks, John! That’s a great additional point. Consistency certainly seems to be a trait among some of the popular gurus.

  9. says

    I think talking in the same terminology of the niche you are in is a must to be considered in-the-know. In any business, there are terms used that everyone knows and understands. Using these terms presents a knowledgeable and informed person to the listener and/or reader.
    .-= New from Colleen@Kennewick Real Estate West Pasco Washington Homes For Sale =-.

  10. says

    It is all about trust in this business. Most newbies get into this wanting to earn a lot of money fast but that’s not how this works or actually anything works.

    Building trust and rapport with your readers takes time but will pay off way more than ripping them off for a quick buck. These readers or buyers will come back and buy more if they trust and like you.

    Another characteristic would be risk-taking or willing to take a leap. You can’t lead anyone if you are not ready to try new things.
    .-= New from Alex@Zahnaufheller Braun Oral-B Sonic Complete DLX – Testbericht =-.

    • says

      Alex – I love your comments! Perfect. And I agree that the idea that you can earn a lot of money *fast* seems to be untrue, however, I know a lot of people that disagree with me on that.

      I also love what you said about taking risks. It’s hard. But influencers don’t stand at the back of the crowd and wait for someone else to take a stand, try something new, or discuss something that’s never been discussed before. They stand out by being forward thinkers and that is risky.

      Thanks!

  11. says

    *applause* you have certainly owned this stage here. Honestly, it’s really hard to be honest as a blogger, well that’s in my case. I’ve been writing for different niches for a long time now, whether it’s about gambling, automotive, cooking or whatever came across my path as a freelance writer. But all I can say is that even I wasn’t honest enough before, I am rest assured that I’ve given substantial, accurate and comprehensive information to my previous readers (if there were some, I hope).

    Just to add something, in my experience, I believe that passion — as you have mentioned — and enthusiasm in learning new things everyday is more than enough to be able to give something back to our society for free :) By the way, I enjoyed reading this entry. I also visited kikolani few days ago, and have read a great entry by Cori. I guess I’ll be coming back for more. Great post Tia!

  12. says

    Great post! Unfortunately, although the part where you first have to know what you are talking about makes perfect sense to you and I – there seems to be many out there that just don’t get that part. There is nothing worse than looking for information and finding all the answers on Google have just been put there for their affiliate or Adsense revenue. To most people they wouldn’t tell the difference which is the scarey thing because much of the advice can be medically related or rather important!

    • says

      Hey Lisa – I know what you are saying. The blogging world has a lot of players; not everyone is like you or I or will benefit from any of what I just talked about up there! Thanks for sharing.

  13. says

    I like the comment about honesty – we all have an idea of who we want to be, but if we put on a facade we’ll get caught out in the end! One of the most powerful statements someone can say is ‘I don’t understand – could you explain’? As it shows vulnerability and also that the person is honest and looking to find out more! At least that’s what I always told myself at the back of the class in school…

  14. says

    I believe in taking the word opinionated in a positive sense. It is good to be opinionated and not just going with the flow. With being opinionated comes bravery and confidence.

    • says

      Hey Andrew – Thanks. I do, too. It does require bravery, confidence and of course a sense of self and trusting your own thoughts and feelings.

  15. says

    Hi Tia,

    To be opinionated and accurate at the same time is quite a thin edge to clime but I think it can be done.

    Being truthful and choosy is a a good idea.

    Being open is a bit related to being honest but it could also mean being open to change opinion.

    I think that trying to sound like somebody who knows what she of he, (he, he) is talking about will be beneficial only if carried only so far as to improve style etc.

    If carried too far it could be counterproductive.

    Vance
    .-= New from Vance@Wealthy Affiliate University Black Eye Wealthy Affiliate Uses Forced Continuity, Ignores Refund Requests =-.

    • says

      Hey Vance – Great points. And you’re totally on point about being open to changing opinion, too. That’s very tough.

  16. says

    Great Post Tia!
    I think what matters most about bloggers is that their audience can relate to them. I am drawn towards people I can aspire to, and am inspired by. Bloggers who make me reflect, challenge my thinking, or ideally, give me a good belly laugh. Most of all, it is the blogger who is genuinely passionate about what they do that has a profound influence – their words are totally infectious!

    • says

      Thanks, Kym! Right on. And those bloggers end up becoming regarded as very knowledgeable and “experts” even if that’s not what they set out to do.

  17. says

    Great blog, Tia! I really agree with you about being honest. This is true for anything in life because after the initial impression, the truth will always surface in the long run so what’s the use of being dishonest?

    Till then,

    Jean

    • says

      Hey Jean!

      No use in being dishonest, ever. It’s certainly tempting sometimes but never worth the time. :) Thanks for your comment!

  18. says

    Good points in your posts as well as in the comments. It’s part of the topic at hand, actually. As bloggers, both our accuracy and out opinions are open for public scrutiny as soon as they are posted.
    .-= New from Anne Blogging about Blogging =-.

    • says

      Yep; it’s instant and pretty much forever. lol I’m tellin’ you, we are BRAVE for blogging. I have to remind myself that because it’s no small thing.

  19. says

    Hi Tia!
    Glad to see you continuing your guest posting! Awesome!
    I like the idea of being choosy – I totally agree with you about avoiding topics just because they’re trendy, instead focus on quality and choose your topics wisely.
    .-= New from Kiesha @ We Blog Better Guest Post Rejection: How to Deal =-.

    • says

      Thanks, Kiesha! Yeah I finally broke out of the comfort zone. It’s been very nice interacting with some new faces. :)

  20. says

    “It’s not about being honest for the sake of morality. It’s about being honest for the sake of trust.”

    Thats the key to the whole thing, in my opinion. No matter the style of the site, active blog, static site, semi static blog, the key is to find the correct type of trust. For an active blog, you need to show your weaknesses. For static sites, where you’re basically selling “something” you need to make darn sure you know what you’re talking about, because the trust level is at a much higher bar.

    Nice Post
    .-= New from Frank@MWDBE Construction Management CSM Engineering, PC: An M/W/DBE Construction Management Firm =-.

  21. says

    You’ve covered the grounds pretty well on it Tia, that its hard to follow up with good suggestions beyond yours, but here I go…. I would say that over delivering, and being consistent would perhaps be some of the best ways to sound like you know what you are blogging about. The connection you make with your viewers/readers I would say is also very important. Having a good connection makes it that much easier to be perceived as someone that knows what they are talking about.

  22. says

    Yes, Tia. i am totally agree with you. anyone may have a good skill on a specific niche. But that doesn’t actually mean that he or she will be very good blogger. At first he or she have to make other people understand that they know what they are going to say. So its blogger duty to prove that. And i like all of your point here. Thanks

  23. says

    I am drawn towards people I can aspire to, and am inspired by. Bloggers who make me reflect, challenge my thinking, or ideally, give me a good belly laugh. Most of all, it is the blogger who is genuinely passionate about what they do that has a profound influence – their words are totally infectious!