I remember seeing one of my favorite comedians of all time, Jerry Seinfeld, a year or two ago. It was my birthday, and my dad took me because he knows what a big fan I am.
So we went, laughed at observations about dinner parties and airports, and went home. Thinking back, though, I found the experience curious.
Why do people keep going to see Jerry talk about stuff they experience on a regular basis? Why do they pay to watch him talk about trivial things like uncomfortable relationships and cleaning his apartment?
It’s because Jerry has made himself the authority on the everyday. And all he had to do was stand up and say “Did you ever notice how…”
This tells me that it isn’t all that hard to become an authority on something. I’m sure no one ever asked him to start telling jokes about those things, and probably never even told him how good he was at it before he was doing it. Granted, not many of us are comedians, but I believe there is something to learn here that directly applies to blogging.
Consider: What can you make yourself an authority on? What could you stand up, today, and speak confidently on? If your topic isn’t the everyday like Seinfeld’s is, then what is it?
Tips for Finding Your Authority
- Check your thoughts regularly. Things that are commonplace and a no-brainer to you are usually not that way for other people. Oftentimes what you don’t think is worth writing about (even though it’s your passion and even though you know it very well) is just the thing others are waiting to read.
- Speak with authority. One of my favorite uncles retired from a high level management position to start his own business offering leadership training to companies and organizations. His main reason for going down this path? He started speaking with authority and people just ate it up. He’ll be the first to admit that he’s not saying anything particularly earth shattering. But he’s the one saying it, and sometimes that’s all that makes the difference between the authority and the audience.
- Study other authorities. In blogging, this is imperative. If you want to blog on something as an authority, start looking around at what other bloggers in completely different fields are doing. I guarantee you will see trends and gain ideas just by studying how they write and what they write about.
Again, being an authority isn’t necessarily hard. A large part of it is stepping up to be that authority. So, before anything else: Are you willing to be an authority on your topic? Can you accept that responsibility? Being seen as an authority becomes a large responsibility (just ask Brian).
Decide now whether you want to be that authority or not. Once you’ve decided to become an authority you’re already halfway there. If you want it and expect the sort of respect an authority figure receives, you’ll be well on your way.
I’m curious—what can you, after reading some of these thoughts, confidently call yourself an authority on? It doesn’t matter if it’s biochemistry, knitting, or watching daytime television… so let me know in the comments.