Do You Need to Be an Expert to Start a Blog?
One the biggest stumbling blocks for people starting blogs is knowing what to write. Experts don't have this problem because they can draw from the vast knowledge and experience. The big question becomes, do you need to be an expert to start a blog? That is what this post will answer.
You'd be forgiven for feeling as though blogging should be left to the experts. After all, they are the ones who spent years gaining their expertise and they seem to have the most to say on their topics.
If you've ever been in a room filled with people who know more than you about a topic, it can be intimidating to say the least. You hope and pray they don't ask you any questions about your background which would expose you as a neophyte. By keeping a low profile, they cannot make any judgments. This is the feeling people get when thinking about starting a blog, too.
Let's face it. Experts have great insights to offer. That is an underlying reason why they start blogs about their expertise. They have a wealth of knowledge to share to the world and will likely get followers as a result.
So where does that leave someone who is not an expert but has a profound interest in the subject matter? In truth, you have a lot more to offer than you think. You do not need to be an expert to start and maintain a blog.
As with most things in life, there is more to it than this. If you aren't an expert in the niche or topic that you want to start blogging about, you will have more work to do.
However, don't let that stop you from getting started with your blog.
In this post, I offer several tips that will help you overcome the fear associated with starting a blog. When you use these tips, you'll gain confidence that you have something valuable to offer and you'll feel ready to start the blogging process. This video summarizes what you'll learn from the post. NOTE: the link in the description of the video is to the page you are currentlyl reading, so there is nothing to click on.
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#1 -Unique Value Proposition (UVP)
This is a term that gets thrown around a lot, often by people that can't seem to describe it in helpful ways. Your Unique Value Proposition (UVP) is basically your way of differentiating yourself from others in your niche. Sounds simple enough, right?
It doesn't matter if you are an expert in your niche or not. If you don't figure out what your UVP is, it won't matter what you know or don't know. You'll be considered a copycat by your visitors.
Don't copy other people. It doesn't work and it gets people angry with you!
How do you find your UVP? It may take a few iterations to get it right. You should learn about who your customers are and find information and resources that help them find it. As you gain customers and followers, learn from their actions and words. It's one thing to guess at who your customers are but the actual customers will tell you so much more.
#2 - Be Honest About Your Abilities
Too many hacks and "gurus" will tell you to fake it until you make it. This is awful advice and will set off a firestorm of complaints from your readers. You can bet your blog will appear on scam-busting sites or review sites that will think nothing of giving your website a bad review.
It's not easy to overcome this bad press once that happens. It puts you on the defensive, which is a huge waste of your time.
If you are new to a niche, let people know that fact on your blog. In fact, you can use it to your advantage. For instance, you can blog about what you are learning and how you are progressing. People love to read about that.
Often, a beginner's perspective is welcome by readers because experts get too caught up in their expertise, if you will. A beginner can relate to other beginners. Besides, people will enjoy watching you rise up in the ranks as you continue to learn and share your experiences.
One word of caution, though. Do not try to answer questions that are beyond your current expertise. You can do more harm than good. This is why you should be upfront with your readers about where you are currently within your niche.
#3 - Enlist the Help of Others
The internet is one big sharing mechanism. Therefore, use that to help you build a solid base. Get the word out that you are looking for contributors, either paid or free.
Don't expect to find high-profile bloggers willing to do this. While may get lucky on occasion, these influential bloggers receive thousands of requests per day.
Focus instead, on bloggers who seem to be climbing up the ranks of influence. These are the hungry bloggers who want to spread the word. Their pages are on page two and page three of search results who are dying to get to page one. They will be more apt to listen and respond.
One word of caution: be selective on who you choose to contribute on your blog. If you allow bloggers who use questionable practices on their own blogs, your blog becomes associated with those questionable practices. This is something your readers will notice and it will reflect badly on your reputation. Stay away from link exchanges, too!
#4 - Learn, Learn, Learn
If you get nothing else out of this post, learn this one item. Never step learning. Read, watch videos, listen to podcasts, etc.
The internet has a vast array of resources which means there is no excuse for not taking advantage of learning. If you believe you have no time, trim off fifteen minutes of television time per evening to view a video about a topic in your niche.
No matter what, you will gain a skill that will be useful in your full-time job or for an online venture.
#5 - Blog About Your Mistakes
Here is a great quote from a Medium.com article:
"Good judgment comes from experience and experience comes from poor judgment."
GogleMan. “Why You Need To Learn From Your Mistakes – Motivational Stories – Medium.” Medium, Augmenting Humanity, 12 Mar. 2017, medium.com/motivationapp/why-you-need-to-learn-from-your-mistakes-87accfd83c37.
People love to read how others overcame their situations. If you read the biographies of successful people, they will always contain stories about the trials and tribulations they went through to get where they are now (or were for those no longer with us!)
When you write stories about your mistakes, you show your human side. You show that it is possible for the anyone to "make it" whatever that means to him or her. This gives them a glimmer of hope that they can overcome their own situations. That's pretty powerful stuff!
It can also be the source of fun stories that readers can laugh about. People love anecdotal stories that give them a snicker or two.
#6 - Learn From the Mistakes of Others
You don't have a monopoly on making mistakes. That's a good thing. Everyone makes them all the time. Take a look on forums and blogs to find out what problems people are asking about. You may find others who chime in about solutions to those problems. This is a wealth of information.
The ones who answer the questions (intelligently) are your experts. Use what they say (don't copy) as a basis for investigating other solutions or enhanced solutions. You can write an outreach post and include these people. Let them know when you do this. They will appreciate it and likely share your posts.
#7 - It's Nice to Share
Don't leave out posting your blog on social media. Even if you think it is not making any impact (it is), it can help you spread the word. It can also give you some "link juice" for search engines, although this isn't as strong as it used to be.
When sharing, always present your post in a way that shows how the information will help your followers. Don't present it in a way that is pushy or sales pitchy. This doesn't work.
If you don't have a social following get one. Start participating and interact with others. Create posts and pages and pin stuff. Share other peoples stuff. Do this a lot and let them know about it.
#8 - Add Value
Your readers are looking for ways to make their lives better. If you give that to them, they will become fans for life (as long as you keep doing that). Therefore, stop concentrating on how you are going to make money from your blog and learn what others want from it.
If you already have a small following, ask them what they are looking for. People usually don't have a problem giving you this information, especially when you ask it in the right manner. Quick multiple choice questions are great for this. There are plenty of plugins (software add ons) that can help you with this.
Ask yourself what you would like to see in a blog. If necessary, review some of your earlier blog posts (assuming you already have a blog - it's okay if you don't). Take a look at what problems you were addressing in the early days of your blog.
If you are new to blogging, try to draw on your experiences at work or in your personal life. If you have a journal, reference it for these answers. You won't always find them there, but they can help you get a sense of where you mind was at during that period.
No matter what your experience level is, ask the following question:
How will what I present here help visitors?
List out the benefits and see if you are helping answer those benefits. If not, make changes so that you are.
#9 - Earn, Earn, Earn
Only start this part after you have accomplished all of the items before this. I did state that you don't want to emphasize selling on your blog. However, you want to make money with it. You have that right. That is your reward for providing your expertise (or future expertise, etc)
How do you earn? There are several methods that you can use (although by no means complete):
"Who Else Wants to
Become an Expert Fast?"
If you are looking to get up to speed as quickly as possible, then you need the right training to help you. Also, having a team of mentors that can help you when you get stuck, will propel your success as a future expert. Best of all, you can get started with your learning completely free and without having to use your credit card.