How to Write with Power and Authority, Even if You Feel Like a Nobody

How to Write with Power and Authority, Even if You Feel Like a Nobody

Reader Comments (57)

  1. You know what sucks about being “just a writer” is that’s all I have ever been known for. I mean, I can do video work, some digital marketing, graphics, etc. But when it comes down to it, all I’m ever known for is being just a writer. No promotions, first one to go when layoffs come around….maybe it’s my personality. But I definitely feel like a nobody in this industry.

    • I hear your pain, Alex. It really differs from company to company how much writers are valued. I only became a writer in recent years, and I’ve been pleasantly surprised how much clients appreciate the impact of good writing. I’ve been lucky.

      For me, writing has become an immensely valuable skill for connecting with people and for expressing my thoughts.

    • Alex,

      Don’t let those ugly-hearted people get to you. You are not a nobody. They don’t understand you and how creative you truly are! THEY ARE THE NOBODIES! They are nobody because they failed to understand and cultivate your creative gifts.

      Sounds like you’ve got a lot to offer. We need you around.

  2. Hi Henneke,

    Your skills are reflecting your talent. Of the 60 emails I wake up to daily I read 6. When I see your name I read what you have to say regardless.

    Guess it’s not always about the headline – sometimes it just the brand and the right amount of scarcity – both of which you’ve mastered.

    I wish you well and look forward to the next time I see a post of which you are the author.


  3. Whoa! That was something. You know I kept scrolling back and forth while reading this. All the advice that you doled out so freely was implemented all across your work. It was so self-explainatory. I’m soaking it all up and hope to have something to show for it soon

  4. Hi Henneke,

    I relate to your question “why [would] people read my writing tips when the web is awash with writing advice from people more experienced, more knowledgeable, and more authoritative”?

    I’m sure everyone does – unless they have a colossal ego, of course ;).

    It reminds me of Paul Wolfe from He often says that he knows that as a bass player, there are legions of musicians who surpass him. But as a teacher, he has this incredible system and ability to shift absolute beginners much closer to their goals.

    I use that to encourage myself in my own niche whenever I look at the ‘more experienced, more knowledgeable and more authoritative’ competition out there.

    Thanks for you post. You inspire me. I’m proud to be part of your tribe :).

    • We all have our own uniqueness even when we don’t see it or don’t know what it is. I didn’t know what would set me apart when I started to write, but over time I found and nurtured my own uniqueness – with the help of readers like you. Thank you for being part of my tribe 🙂

  5. Hi Henneke,

    Lovely to see you on CopyBlogger again!

    It’s amazing how much impact we can make as writers and the process you laid out in this post is a surefire way to write powerfully.

    I especially like your tip “writing with substance”. Sometimes a long blog post lulls me to sleep, while a snappy email from one of my favorite marketers can makes such a deep impact on me that I end up dreaming about it.

    I love to add quotes, statistics or specific examples. It does add more punch to my articles. The other advantage is that I learn a lot while doing my research. ?

    Amazing how “you should” can rob a sentence of all it’s power. Excellent example, Henneke!

    Thank you for sharing your expertise with us. I do not take it for granted.

    Enjoy the rest of your week!

    – Jasper

    p.s. Sally Hogshead’s book sounds interesting. I’ve heard lots of great things about her so I might have to pick it up. Thanks for the tip. 😉

    • Hi Jasper

      It’s good to be back again 🙂

      I can highly recommend Sally Hogshead’s books. I learned a lot from her!

      And yes, eliminating “you should” from a text makes a real difference. I find it crazy how such tiny tweaks can make a big impact.

      Happy writing!

  6. Excellent reminder for me to use more examples in my blog posts. Specific examples establish credibility, offer better clarity, and let readers get a look into my life. Love this write up!

  7. Henneke, thank you for a great article. When I first started writing it was painful. I was never a writer but I knew that I had to learn to get my views across to be able to help others artists like me succeed with there dreams. After time went by and hundreds of articles I have learned my voice and have learned to share my message quickly and to the point. One thing I always remember when I am writing is that I am writing for the reader not for me.

    I enjoyed all of your points from this great article.

  8. Great advice. Clear and actionable. Every blog helps me improve my writing. Thanks.

  9. “I didn’t understand why people would read my writing tips when the web is awash with writing advice from people more experienced, more knowledgeable, and more authoritative than me.”
    I tell you why, Henneke. It’s because your writing is friggin awesome. Why else would I still read your blog after 4 years?
    (Some might say it’s because I’m a simpleton, I still haven’t put half of what I read to good use.)

    • I can’t tell you how much advice I don’t implement because it’s too overwhelming or too cumbersome or too difficult.

      I feel lucky having readers like you, Kerstin! Thank you for your lovely comment.

  10. Hi Henneke! Great article! Yet another for my files. I love your point about learning from your own writing. It’s not only about the writing of a blog post, but expanding your own understanding of a topic. And that allows you to bring more value to the table.

    • Yes, good point. I find that is the fun of blogging – you have to challenge yourself to dive deeper and deeper into a topic. So you learn while sharing your newly acquired knowledge.

  11. Whew! This arrived JUST in time, Henneke!
    I finished writing a how-to that several people have requested and it was LONG. I knew it was too long. And now I know why: too many “should” statements, and too many how-to’s in one post.
    I was just about to post it! Thanks so much for this helpful piece! 🙂

    • I find it a pity that so many blogging experts advocate that we write longer more in-depth content because quite often long content becomes overwhelming for our readers.

      I’m glad my article helped you out!

  12. When I taught Advanced English Writing at a university in China, I assigned essays for my students to write. They always asked “How many words?” and I replied “As many as you need.” After the classwide laughter (it never failed), they realized I was serious. You make many excellent points in this article, but I just felt like commenting on your observations about clear, direct, simple writing without a bunch of wasted words trying to pad the word count.

  13. Excellent points Henneke, thank you very much.
    Down to earth, down to business.
    I will have to work on exposing my bossiness, though.


  14. Clearly your writing advice works as this already has 1K shares and you had me engaged from the get go. Thank you so much for the advice Henneke.

  15. Thanks Henneke for such wonderful article. You have mentioned effective points and everyone should follow these points while creating a powerful content. Really helpful information.

  16. Your posts may not always teach me something new, but I really enjoy reading them. Why? Because they’re so well written. You’re the perfect example of someone who practices what they preach. Your posts also often contain useful reminders. This particular post reminds me to try to use more specific examples in my content writing. Thanks Henneke.

    • Thank you for your lovely comment, Micky. I appreciate it. I do my best to walk the talk 😉

  17. This was a really timely post for me. I write fiction and I also do academic writing, so when I sit down to write an article for my blog, sometimes I forget that I need a different writing style. But I also struggle with low confidence around the fact that I’m just this tiny little figure – why would anyone care? But I have skills in lots of areas that could be useful to other people – I just need to learn to express myself better.

    • I bet you have a lot to share, Icy.

      Many of us (me, too!) tend to focus on what we do NOT know and what others DO know. It’s better to turn it around and focus on the knowledge and ideas we can share to inspire the people who know less than we do.

      Happy writing, Icy! Thank you for stopping by.

  18. Hey Henneke,

    You’re one of the first people I ran into that emphasized writing with authority. And I also liked the fact that you explained it well.

    This is what helped me along my blogging journey. I wrote longer sentences to explain myself “better”. But all I had to do is keep it short, sweet and to the point.

    Great share Henneke! Have a good one!

    • I might have been inspired by the Copyblogger team who talk about Authority a lot, too 🙂

  19. Hi Henneke,
    thanks for sharing your thoughts on writing again. With your help I’ll become a great writer.
    Being at an advanced age, I have tons of stories to tell. But its hard to get them on paper.
    You inspire me.

  20. Hi Henneke,
    It’s always nice to find your articles here as it’s where I discovered you for the first time :-).
    I like the idea of a narrow topic and working on the depth of our arguments.
    It is so tempting to give as many tips as possible to our audience as we want to make sure that we give them enough value. I still need to make sure that I don’t overwhelm people with a firehose of information.

    • Yes, I know, I have the tendency to try and cram a lot in a blog post, too. After blogging for a while, I realized the only way to keep blogging was to start addressing one narrow topic a time. I now enjoy writing those narrow posts a lot.

      Good to see you here, Thuy!

  21. Henneke,

    A very inspirational read. I can see that you implemented what you preach into your own writing, it’s very powerful.

    “Why would someone listen to me?” Is a question I often ask myself as well, and this post helped me realise that everyone has something valuable to share, that you can actually write with authority and power if you are willing to learn (both about how to write and what you are writing about).

    As Alison mentioned in the comments, Paul Wolfe didn’t have to be the best bass player to be a great teacher.

    Thanks for sharing!


  22. I used to tend to wonder quite a bit why people would read my material over others. I enjoyed this a lot, thank you for sharing Henneke.

  23. Yay, it’s been a while since you wrote for CopyBlogger.

    Anyhoo, I’ve been thinking the same way – why write about a certain idea/topic when it’s been written before?

    Thanks for this reminder, Henneke!

  24. Henneke, thank you for the motivation and insight. I signed up for your Snacks series a couple months ago, and I now use them as a checklist and a framework for my own writing development. Your guidance is gold.

    With that guidance from you and others, I’m also learning to rely on my audience to determine what is ‘powerful’ and what is ‘authoritative’. I don’t get to decide that. And the best way to learn that is to ASK them. With the number of shares, likes, and comments you have here, you clearly subscribe to the same philosophy!

    All the best! Keep the writing gold flowing.

  25. I read your article for the second time today as I needed a boost. I kept the original email as I knew that I would need this in the future, just didn’t realize that I’d need it so soon. 🙂 As a fairly new blogger it’s tough to keep going when you think no one is listening. Thanks much for the info.

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