If you’re like me, there are at least one or two things you’re passionate about. You love doing them, and you’re good at them. But here’s the thing: While there seem to be so many experts out there with years of experience, connections, speaking gigs, published books and a squillion fans raving about them, you feel a bit left out. After all, you’re just starting out and you have no track record, authority, or any products to your name. And that’s when doubts settle in. “I’ve never done any blogging. Where do I start?”, you’re asking yourself as you fire up WordPress.
Well the good news is that there are many things you can do to start blogging without coming across as unintelligent, even when you’re not an expert in that area. These are all proven methods and you’ll see them used in this blog and by various top bloggers. The beauty of them is that, implementing you’ll be perceived as an expert by association as you build up your credibility.
So, let’s dive in, shall we?
Table of contents
Doing interviews is one of the ultimate ways to generate fresh, quality content. You leverage the knowledge and experience of experts in your niche so your own expertise becomes irrelevant. Moreover, doing interviews is a way to create products and form fruitful relationships with experts. But the icing on the cake is that you come across as an expert by association. As you share the interviews with your audience, you are associated with the interviewees and, over time, gain expert status yourself.
Find experts in your industry in one of these 4 ways:
1.Google “[industry name] + blog” (if it’s a popular blog, its owner is likely an expert in the relevant niche) or “[industry name] + expert”
3.Look for Amazon best-sellers in your niche market. Authors of best-sellers are likely experts as well. Try to Google them and if they have a website, contact them there.
2.Create resource posts and pages
Are you using WordPress? Well, in that case there’s probably a boatload of plug-ins you’ve tested. Why not post about your top 10 or 20 plug-ins? People love to read and share this kind of articles. To set yourself apart, choose a theme (ex. 10 best traffic plugins).
You can also create a list of your favorite iPhone/Android apps for health, productivity etc. Take it a notch up by incorporating your own screenshots. Remember, there are a few million apps out there and most of them are not that great, so such a list would be a huge time-saver for many.
Another common (and potentially profitable) way is to put together a resource page. Here you can review a few of the tools and services you’re using in your blog, with affiliate links to the product sites. As your blog community grows, your resource posts and pages will attract more eyeballs and become a key source of revenue for you.
1.Go to your WordPress admin panel, and make a list of the 10 or 20 plug-ins you’re using and you’re happy with. Write a few lines about why you’d recommend it, with a link to the download page.
2.Alternatively, make a list of the 30 most successful marketers today, the 20 most converting email headlines or anything else relevant to your niche.
As their name implies, infographics are a fun and visual way to get statistics, numbers and otherwise exhaustive pieces of data across. Why people marvel at a static image with fancy numbers, vector shapes and designer fonts is beyond me, but it’s hard to argue with the numbers. People love data and numbers with a bit of eye-candy, and infographics can quickly become viral!
So why not jump on that bandwagon?
1.Use Google Images, Pinterest or this great article by B2C to find great infographics to share with your audience. (Please be ethical and either ask the infographic creator for permission to republish it or just show a screenshot of part of it and link to it from your blog).
2.Take it a step further and create your own infographic. Most countries have a central bureau of statistics but you can also search Google or Wikipedia for “[Area of expertise] + statistics”. Fact-checking and detailing your sources is key when it comes to infographics!
Next, using your stats, you can take advantage of Visually’s in-house infographic creation tool. Not cheap, but these guys are experts. Take a look at their portfolio and you’ll know why you won’t be wasting your time on experiments and low-quality design.
Alternatively, you can design your own infographic if you have what it takes, or outsource on a site like Upwork (formerly Elance) or 99 Designs and share it on your site and on social media. Good places to start are Flickr, Pinterest, Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn. Ask people to share your infographic if they liked it.
4.Analyze relevant blogs
If you are passionate about a certain topic, you probably read blogs about it on a regular basis. Why not take, say, 5 or 10 of your favorite blogs, or search for the top 10 blogs on that subject matter, and analyze them? This could make for an insightful article. You can search for similarities between them, e.g. layout, design, monetization methods and posting frequency. You can craft an entire article or even shoot a video going through what makes these blogs so popular.
2.Look for common traits among these blogs. For example: How often do they post? What are their monetization techniques? Does the blog owner reply to comments? Are there similarities in the layout of the sites?
3.When putting together the article, include a list with the blog names and relevant links. Then you can go through 5-10 comparing questions and answer them. Try to include a takeaway (practical conclusion) at the end of each paragraph, to make it relevant to your readers. A summery with your key conclusions, or better yet, action steps, would be an excellent way to wrap up the article!
One of the most lucrative ways do to monetize your blog is to write product review posts. When done right they also make for interesting content and can generate trust and position you as an expert. The beauty of reviews is that you don’t need to be an expert to craft them. You just need to make them in-depth, useful and ideally to have used the product yourself.
ProBlogger has some more useful tips on that. You can also visit Amazon and look for the featured reviews on popular products like the Kindle – the top reviews are usually well-written.
1.Find 5 products (physical or digital) in your niche market, which you have been happy with. If you don’t have any products at hand, contact the product owner and ask to review their product. If you do this respectfully and show that you are serious they might give you free access to the product (this will mostly work for digital products only). Don’t abuse this technique though. Don’t ask for free product access if you’re not going to write a review. Personally, I prefer to buy products so I can write a completely honest review about them.
2.Write a thorough review about each product, including an overview of the product, its upsides as well as downsides. Don’t simply copy the reviews provided by the product owner as you won’t gain any trust or sales this way. The review doesn’t have to be extremely long, but it must address the key aspects of the product – is the price fair, how useful it is, does it deliver on its promise, is it high-quality, how good is the documentation and the company’s support etc. If this sounds complicated, simply describe your experience as a customer from the moment you received the product. As simple as that. And end by saying whether you’d recommend it.
3.Bonus points if you include a video with a walkthrough of the product or with yourself talking about the product and showing it in action!
4.You can offer bonuses to people who buy through your links, but if your blog provides excellent content then you might not need these bonuses at all, because your readers already trust you.
5.Link back to your review pages from other blog posts, but don’t overdo it. When mailing to your list, refer them to your reviews rather than straight to the product’s sales page. This way they’re more likely to purchase the product because they already know you.
6.Do a product/service face-off
Do you know a few products or services that essentially do the same thing? Let’s take iPhone apps for example. There are a few apps, which let you manipulate photos, Adobe Photoshop Express being one of the popular ones. Why not take 2 or 3 apps and compare them side-by-side? At the end, you can choose your winner and ask your readers to nominate theirs. These posts generate interest because they give a lot of useful data and are easy to skim.
1.Choose 2 or 3 products or services that do the same thing. Example: HootSuite and Seesmic are both social platforms that basically give their users the same functionality.
2.Find about 5 points of comparison. For example: Speed, customer service, robustness, efficiency, etc. For each point, write a paragraph comparing the 2 or 3 products. Use bullet points and even give grades for each service. People love numbers!
3.At the end of the article, select a winner. Encourage comments by employing a bit of conspiracy and leaving room for a debate.
7.Blog as you grow
Another approach you can take is that of your blog being a journey towards a destination/goal. Let’s say you are into photography. You could say in your About Page or even on the header, something like: Jo’s journey to becoming a world-renowned photographer. A bit pretentious, I hear you, but you get the point. Here are the advantages of this method: Your readers can really relate to you because you come across as one of them. Your blog becomes a live learning process, which makes for interesting content, because you’re going to test lots of methods and products and share your hands-on experience. As you become a true expert, you will already have a loyal following of readers who have grown just as you have.
1.Decide what your goal is. Let’s stick to the example of a world-renowned photographer.
2.Choose a fitting slogan and header to go along with your image as an expert-in-the-making. Jo’s journey to become a world-renowned photographer could do the trick.
3.Tailor your About page as well as your bio on social media sites to your image. You could title your bio: Jo Smith, a world-renowned photographer in-the-making. In your About page, present your blog as a learning experience you share with your readers.
4.Your blog content could include reports of your success in your area (for example, showcasing your photo experiments), interviews with experts, income and traffic reports, links to other useful blogs and resources and a lot more. You can encourage your readers to ask questions and give suggestions, thus taking an active part in the learning process and growing with you.