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Authority Blogging? Surely not I, YOU?

So Chris Garrett and Liz Strauss have launched a compelling contest which focuses on helping folks understand what it takes to be an authority blogger. This is a great opportunity to drive awareness for the SOBCon08 and Authority Blogger and represents a great opportunity for the community to collaborate. Authority Blogging conjures up a lot of things for me and probably for you as well – personalities, brands and even individual posts which have influenced your understanding. There is just a bunch ways to look at this topic and to position oneself as an authority blogger.

Narrowing Authority

There may be more than a little game theory in folks responses and I spent some time looking at folks posts. This project has already delivered some amazing insights from the participants and it is clear that it is GAME ON!

Content, topics and perceived value are all part of the authority puzzle. Spatially Relevant is a great opportunity for me to share experiences and develop relationships with folks I would not have otherwise and is the main reason I’m even blogging. There is no shortage of opportunity for me to share great content from folks’ I interact with via social media. Y’all provide great tweets and posts to write on. Each authority I follow provides an interesting lens for looking at the segment. It’s the diversity of views in this segment which is completely amazing. I just hope that I can add to the discussion. To that end, I suspect a person’s personal biases can ultimately drive authority.
With at least a directional understanding of authority, it is important to clearly understand the rules of this game should YOU want to participate as well. I’m very appreciative of the contest, since I have been struggling to find something to blog on since my muses aren’t here right now. I now have a topic AND I could get some cool things. What you ask? Here’s the cool stuff:

SOBCon Competition

  1. $1000 budget to pay for SOBCon08 registration and travel expenses
  2. A hour of consulting with Chris Garrett.
  3. The complete Authority Blogger online course.
  4. Meet the speakers.

It’s About the Booty

A fabulous prize package indeed! I’m motivated – YOU? Wait, wait – THAT’S NOT ALL! You can also get a guest blog piece on New Music Strategies and since Music is a tertiary theme here – I couldn’t resist to participate now — like a bug to a flame.

So what is the correct way to tackle this topic? That is now the increasingly more important question which I’m looking to close on by the end of this post. Folks are creating diagrams and generating comprehensive lists in their responses. I’m probably not going to do a list, since Confident Writing has 12 GREAT inspirational items. The great ideas from the folks which is making it difficult to decide on how to write on authority blogging and differentiate.



Bob Younce has an excellent overview on his authority and an about page which was fairly intriguing for me. As a geographer, I am completely interested in where he is from, since he only references mid-Michigan. What is mid-Michigan? Bob’s post has successfully reminded me of a paper I’ve never wrote on what is the definition of the frequently used term “Up North”. Authority bloggers have a unique ability to start conversations and actively participate in conversations with others.


Ain’t too Proud to Pander

I am a little too proud to brag and may never be an Ego on Alltop, but I’m not to proud to suck up. Hmm… sucking up as a component of Authority? So I may have a chance on this whole thing, since this is in fact a core competency for me.



The above image in fact is a subtle suck up, since Chris likes images and has a Canada birth connection. While my vacations to the Bruce Peninsula aren’t as authoritative as Hart’s “Canadian-ness”, but I did co-author a piece on “Canadian regionalism’s impact on the media: A content analysis”, which should raise my Canadian street cred. So I got that going for me… Let’s see how that works….




Building out the concept of authority blogging is a great topic to work on from a project perspective. The great insights on influence and authority which have already been surfaced and are yet to come out of this contest are the key drivers for my wanting to participate in the discussion.

So what is Authority Blogging and why should I be considered an authority blogger? I’m not sure authority blogging is any one thing, or that I’m even able to meaningfully opine on why it should be me, but there are a 3 things which I feel authority blogging is not about:

  1. Ego: I’m quickly coming to the conclusion that ego’s can drive traffic, but not influence. I find myself linking to really insightful content from non-ego folk who provide a thought provoking take on a subject.
  2. The amount/size of Content: Very often the amount of content is confused with authority. Some of the most authoritative things online are published in under 140 characters on twitter and isn’t a fleshed out, but a query or insight which makes you THINK.
  3. It is NOT a metric: Not links, not technorati ranks, not page views. A single post can be more influential than anything – where is YOURS?

So if authority isn’t driven from those things, it only leaves me with two things it might be or that I might have. A passion to share and willingness to engage. It would be great to do an interview and to get some open feedback on how to improve my blogging from Chris, but it would for anyone.   Authority is as authority does and below are some folks YOU should know and who should participate too: