How to master your niche when you don’t know what your talking about
As a blogger I aim to reach the dizzying heights that some bloggers have achieved. Bloggers like Yaro Starok and Darren Rowse who make a comfortable living doing what they love and whose knowledge of all things blogging can never be questioned. But how is it possible for the average blogger to achieve success when they can’t honestly say they are the most knowledgeble person in thier niche. In fact there are probably hundreds of people who contain more knowledge in thier niche so why would anyone care about what they have to say? So it seems that the masses have no chance to become successful within thier niche unless they somehow aquire the knowledge of the “masters” of thier niche. Well there is another way to appeal to your readers without neccessarily teaching them all you have to know.
We should not forget blogs were originally web logs. An electronic diary documenting the journey of many important and un-important people alike. Whilst blogs have evolved to be online class rooms with teahcer (blogger) and student (reader) transferring knowledge does not mean that journeys are any less educational and in most circumstance more entertaining. Its been proven that most people learn far better from stories and anolgies as opposed to facts and figures. So how can you become a master of your niche without knowing anything? Document your Journey. I know I know it seems like straight forward advice but I come across very few truly journey blogs these days and its a niche within a niche that is largely untapped. So here are some tips to document your journey and access this untapped market:
Admit you dont know it all
The first thing to do is admit in your post/blog/about page that you don’t have all the answers. No-one does so this is a fairly easy step. But its important that your readers understand so that they can understand the context of your post. Of course its equally important to emphasis what the reader will benefit by reading your post as simply telling them there are gaps in your knowledge is not overly endearing and doesn’t exactly present the image you wish to portray. The added benefit of this type of admission is the fact that you are more closely related to your readers than many of these experts could possibly be because (whilst they won’t admit it), the experts cant possibly remember what its like starting out.
Experiments are killer titles
There are hundreds of post about properly naming your post. There is top 10 post, using numbers in titles, reverse psychology (i.e. don’t read this if…) and many more types of titles that can get your post or article some interest and ultimately more readers. But for me and many other web users the titles I find hardest to ignore is the experiment title. “My such and such experiment” creates such an unbelieveble urge within to find out how the experiment went and if the author was successful. You could also throw in “my experience” titles, and “what I have learnt from” titles as great bait for readers. The best part is that it requires no great knowledge to produce one of these posts.
Infomative post pose further questions
Recently I read one of Darren Rowse’s many great post How to pitch to bloggers – 21 tips. Suffice to place a link to the page on my blog their wasn’t really much I could add to the topic particularly since I have very little experience pitching and being pitched too. However I can take this infomation and provide it to my readers form another angle. You see such informative post just raise further question in the minds of most readers. How well does it work? Which tips are the most important? Will it work for the average person? Who will accept these pitches? If I want to know the answers its a fair bet that most of my readers do as well. By trying to answer these questions, you provide content to your readers that will help you become a master of your niche.
Newbies every day
Another thing to consider is that many of the experts of any niche have often become disconnected from the newbies. Its human nature to forgot your origins and your knowledgebase at the time when you first started. I remember how much trouble I had setting up a website with a host all those years ago when I first started and now take that knowldge for granted. So whilst I ramble on about creating popular blogs thier is a niche under me to explain to the newbies how to set up a website and host it which would probably be best coming from someone who has newly mastered the skill. If I try to write a post on it I could not remember the exact stumbling blocks I faced at the time and the infomation would not be well targetted. So it doesnt matter what niche you are writing for you can be assured there is plenty of other newbies looking for advice on some of the simpler tasks and it is an untapped market that should not be forgotten.
People need to connect
Being a successful blogger is all about connecting with your readers. I have mentioned Yaro and Darren a few times throughout this blog and I think of them as friends. This is despite the fact I have never met both of them and the only contact I have had is a few emails back and forth, commenting on thier blogs and thier about page. But if they recommend a product or service I generally pay attention, not because they know everything but because I feel like I can trust them. Now if you happen across a blog and its first post is a definitive guide to anything it can be difficult to connect. Who is this blogger telling you that they know everything when you don’t know them. Its like the strangers who walk up to you in the street and give you parenting advice. I don’t know you and as such I will politely ignore what you are saying. I would even go as far as saying that it could almost be detrimental to a new blog to be such an expert so early. How can a new reader validate your claims of infomation with nothing to compare it too. Don’t get me wrong these pillar post are critical to the success of many blogs but I feel early on you want to connect with your readers first before telling them whats right and wrong. A few humble post on mistakes you have made and lessons you have learned is a far more agreeable way to start a new relationship.
Enjoy the benefits
I have touched what you should do and a little bit about why you should do it. But there really is an endless number of benefits to this type of blog. The first and by far the most important for me is finding new content for my blog. Like everyone the amount of knowledge I actually have is very little. When you compare it to what I dont know then the amount of knowledge I contain is embarrisingly trivial. If you write about what you know and get about 1000 posts out of it, then the amount of post you can get out of what you don’t know is infinate. So even if you don’t take all the advice from this post at least consider writing about things you don’t know to get extra great content.
Having content is great but my favorite part of having this content that each time I write a post I learn something unique and valuable. If I wasn’t writing these experiments there are probably hundreds of things I would never try. If I buy something and test it out and it doesnt work I can justify the purchase as a learning experience and content for my blog. If you write long enough about things you have learned, experiments etc you become a master of your niche by default just becasue your knowledge base grows so much.
I mentoned that you need to connect to your readers. Well this writing style is far more intimate than the teacher/student relationship of most blogs. Generally you will get far higher comment counts, more questions from readers and your readers are more actively involved in your blog. So when it comes time to sell a product that has helped you immensily and possibly proven through previous post do you think the chances of your readers buying it are higher?
But the benefits don’t just stop with you. Your readers will also benefit immensily (which is the aim of the blog when you think about it). The content is written for them, from thier perspective and can often uncover alot of mistakes which they would of inadvertenly commited down the track as well. If you publish the mistakes you made with an experiment about gaining traffic, losing weight or training a dog the reader not only gets a list of what works but also what does not which can be equally beneficial.
So don’t be afraid to look as though you don’t have all the answers. Chances are that you don’t and you just look conceited and shallow if you try to appear otherwise. Incomporating mistakes you have made, lessons you have learned and experiments you have tried can provide more useful infomation to your readers than you think. More importantly this type of infomation is more endearing to a reader and is an excellent way to create strong and lasting relationships with your reader. Do it long enough and you will probably evolve into a blog which can provide expert advice simply from the amount of experiences you will have and you can become a master of your niche. .