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2 characteristics for building an industry-leading content strategy

when I started out in content marketing, I thought creating a publication that’s a trusted, go-to industry source came with time. While there’s truth to it, there are 2 characteristics that can help you cut the time route short.

So what are those two characteristics? Lemme break them down for you:

  • Authority
  • Empathy


Hang on, doesn’t authority come with time? It does. But also, it doesn’t.

It’s the same as: wisdom comes with age. It does. But it doesn’t because wisdom comes with the experiences you have. Some folks can be way more mature than you are — simply because they’ve lived through life lessons that have taught them tons.

So if you’re someone with in-depth knowledge in your field — say it came from failing one too many times, taking a ton of (valuable) courses, talking and learning from experts, etc. you become an authority on the topic.

And in case you haven’t done any of this, solid research skills and talking to subject matter experts to create helpful content help.

In short, if you want to position your blog as a go-to source in your industry: gear up to show authority.

Here’s how:

  • Let your expertise shine through. Share your experiences, insights, and frameworks that have worked for you.
  • Let your research do the talking. Answer all insider questions readers have on the topic. And answer them well — based on experts’ insights.
  • Let your customers speak of your authority. Weave in customer testimonials and case studies throughout your content to show how you’ve helped others. Or include numbers of how many people you’ve helped do so and so.


Without empathy, authority can quickly turn into arrogance. That kind of attitude shows in your content. And of course, it does little to win content loyalists.

People trust brands who understand them (their pain points and struggles). Empathy is the key to building that trust. It’s building commonalities between yourself and your target buyers.

Remember: people want to be seen, heard, and understood.

Empathy helps you tell readers you understand them because you’ve been through the same struggles. Or that you care about the same things that they do.

So here’s how you demonstrate empathy:

  • Touch on your readers’ pain points. I don’t recommend rubbing the problem in their face way too much (that’s just plain rude). But talking about the struggle signals you know the problem and so are in a position to offer a solution.
  • Share stories of your struggle. For a productivity tool, this would mean the author sharing their (relatable) struggle with meeting deadlines, for example.
  • Add in empathetic statements. Example: ‘Now I understand you want your first 1,000 users fast. But I also know you want to take the sustainable route to onboard them.’

Keep in mind that your readers are always on the lookout for these two characteristics.

And when they see them bleeding through each piece you publish as part of your content strategy, they know you’re their go-to guide right away. In the long haul, this helps with conversions.

For now, whether you’re creating a content strategy, a new stand-alone content piece, or auditing your content library, ask yourself: is the work demonstrating empathy and authority?

Alex Lim is a certified book reviewer and editor with over 10 years of experience in the publishing industry. He has reviewed hundreds of books for reputable magazines and websites, such as The New York Times, The Guardian, and Goodreads. Alex has a master’s degree in comparative literature from Harvard University and a PhD in literary criticism from Oxford University. He is also the author of several acclaimed books on literary theory and analysis, such as The Art of Reading and How to Write a Book Review. Alex lives in London, England with his wife and two children. You can contact him at [email protected] or follow him on Website | Twitter | Facebook

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