Sleuthing Out the Pretenders
There's a saying in the money-making world, "Fake It Until You Make It!"
Essentially, this means that you pretend to be successful to get people to buy your stuff or to sign up to your newsletter, or whatever you are trying to get them to do.
I don't know about you, but following this advice seems a bit underhanded and sneaky to me. It's deceptive. I get that people have to start somewhere to build up their reputation and authority. But, does it have to be with deception?
The motivation is the classic chicken vs. egg dilemma. How do you sell when you are not an expert? If you are not able to say, how are you going to ever gain the credibility to eventually to sell.
I get it! But, I believe there are better ways to go about it.
Okay, so if I am going to extol the virtues of flushing out the pretenders, then I should have at least some credential to back me up, right?
Yes, absolutely! I am not yet a blogger of the status of the likes of Neil Patel, Seth Godin, and others. I am working on it though. However, I have successfully sold through my websites and continue to do so and I am a published author who makes a steady income from my books.
So, while you may not see my name or my blog posts immediately appear when you search on Google, I am taking legitimate steps to grow my business and reputation.
I created GetPaidBootCamp.com from the perspective of a beginner back in 2009. I did let it run idle for several years as I had other commitments that got in the way at the time. However, When I started up again a few years ago, it was with the commitment to help people make money online.
My efforts have been working. Again, I am not completely where I want to be yet, but I have no doubt I will be there soon. And, the knowledge I have gained is now allowing me to feel confident that I can call myself an authority.
What to Look For When Evaluating Others
Suppose you receive an offer in an email that states this person can help you become a bestselling author. Great! You are stoked up thinking that your ship has come in and you're going to enter the big leagues, right?
Not so fast. Don't you think the person teaching how to do this should have at least one bestselling book? In fact, if they have a great and successful method, shouldn't they have several bestselling books?
When a blogger tells you he can supercharge your traffic and make your blog become influential, are they showing you the various websites they have made that are influential?
The point is, always look beyond the sales pitch to make sure the seller is walking the walk and not just talking the talk. Otherwise, how you can you trust the material you are buying is going work? And how will the seller possibly answer any question you may have in a credible fashion?
What if Your Not an Expert or Influential?
The one lesson I have learned in the several years I have been doing this is to be honest. If you are new, then set up your blog in a way that is an experiment in learning about what you are blogging about. Then, as you gain credibility and authority, you can start incorporating those skills into our blogs.
Using this way of blogging can actually be used to your benefit. You will show your readers that it's possible for someone new to learn and do. By blogging about your experience, they can use what you've learned as a road map to succeed. This immediately increases your credibility over time while allowing you to build your blog presence.
Reviewing Products You Have Not Used or Purchased
I know of colleagues who will cal me out on this one. But, I firmly believe that you should not review products that you haven't at least tried yourself. It's another deceptive practice. How can you tout the benefits of product and pass it off as if you are the one who received those benefits?
You'll see plenty of advice floating around on the web that you can use what others have written as the basis for your review. That is NOT a review. That is a research report.
By the way, I do believe you can gather other people's reviews and other value-added information about a product and pass it off as research. You can state that you have not bought this product yourself but based on your extensive research, you would be comfortable buying this product, etc. Your viewers will appreciate the honesty and they still will buy from you since they often don't have time to do this research themselves.
Another option is to buy the products you are going to review and use them. See if they benefits derived match with what is said in the sales page. Add your insights about what you liked and didn't like. When you have legitimately bought the product, you can feel good about writing a review.
A Note of Caution: If you receive a product for free in exchange for a review, you should disclose this fact in your review. This is per FTC guidelines and they are cracking down on people who don't disclose.
Don't even think about including testimonials that are fabricated. This is something the FTC is going full force to combat. It too is deceptive. Also, don't make claims about products that cannot be verified through studies. Acai berries were the source of major complaints during their popularity.
Piggyback Off of the Success of Others
Another way to gain credibility is to align yourself with people who already have it. If you can get influential people to endorse what you are doing, this can go a long way into building up your status.
Also, if there is a service that you belong to that contains people who have succeeded with the service, you can use that influence to prop up your blog. You have proof that others have made it work in that network. If you use this method, it's not a bad idea to ask some of those experienced and successful members if you can name drop. Most will let you do it.
Don't Be Afraid to Ask Questions
If you get a money making offer, does the seller make himself accessible? You can use this as a litmus test to see if they are willing to answer questions. Ask them to see websites that are successful or books that they have published, etc. Be fair though. If they aren't making outrageous claims and they can show success in certain areas, consider that when making your decision.
Honesty Truly Is the Best Policy
No one likes to be deceived. So, don't do it. By being honest with your readers you will build trust with them. They will find it refreshing that you rise above other who are using deceptive practices. You will stand out because of it.
Find a way to use what you know or don't know in a way that will help readers. They will get a kick out of keeping track of your progress and watch you as you grow.