Many times content that you are writing requires you to take on an air of authority. This helps lend credibility to the article and enhances the quality of the content to readers. Content that reflects your understanding of a topic related to a current news item or industry trend requires you to add opinions, analyze and support arguments from authoritative sources. These sources include reputable news sources (i.e. New York Times, Washington Post, Associated Press, etc.), college and universities and government departments and agencies.
Learning to create authority in your writing is important if you want to be looked on as a subject matter expert and called on for more specialized (and higher paying) work. The skills involved in adding authority to your writing include the incorporation of source material, the addition of historical context and the inclusion of critical analysis.
Use Source Information from Official Sources
Any given topic that you are writing about that requires substantiation should include references to sources considered official in nature. The citation of official sources is a required practice of those who write on an academic level and is accompanied by a standard for which such citations should take place. The use of official sources enhances your credibility as a writer and gives credit to the source you used for the inclusion of their ideas. It also gives readers a way to reference your source and verify the authenticity of your arguments.
Official sources can be newspaper and magazine articles, research reports from accredited organizations, or data and analysis from government agencies like the National Highway & Transportation Safety Administration or Census Bureau.
Add Historical Context to the Content
Another method that will give authority to your writing is the use of historical context. For example, if you are writing an article about the Great Recession of 2009 and the resulting economic recovery, a good authoritative piece on this topic would build on the economic factors that led to the conditions that resulted in government bailouts; a crisis in the credit and housing markets, and a downgrade in the credit rating of the United States. Providing this type of information helps a reader properly frame the context of the topic and see how the past influences the future.
Provide Critical Analysis
One of the most important ways for your writing to illustrate authority is by including some critical analysis or opinion of the question being asked. It is not enough to simply answer the question being raised by the topic with statistics and data; you need to provide some meaning to the numbers and analyze what they mean for the reading. This also requires you to offer some opinion relevant to what the analysis means to the reader.
For example, take something as controversial as taxes. A survey has been performed by the American Enterprise Institute for 75 years (1937-2012) measuring public opinion on taxes. Through these surveys, one consistent opinion comes out: Americans feel their taxes are too high, never too low. So how would you approach an article that taxes are in fact at their lowest levels since the 1950s for most people living in this country? You would make this argument by showing tax rates of 17.4% on income of $4,000 to 91% on incomes over $400,000 in 1950 to current tax rates of 10% on incomes up to $8,925 and 39.6% on incomes over $400,000. You can further discuss the benefit of taxes and the impact on GDP growth as well as the amount of tax revenue returned to individuals, corporations and local governments in the form of grants, economic development and other federal spending.
The more authoritative you become with your writing through the use of these methods, the more you will be seen as an authoritative Writer. This will lead to better paying assignments and growth in your writing skills.