How true is it that you need to be an expert before you can write a blog?
Most of the time when we talk about people starting a blog we discuss the topic of passion and making sure you can stick with it for the long haul. Knowledge of the topic is not always given much weight.
Controversially I hold the opinion that you do NOT need necessarily to be an expert in what you are writing about. Shock! Heresy!
Keep with me, I shall explain.
Freelance writers often do not come to a topic they are expected to write about fully equipped with all the knowledge required. This is why research was invented. So there is a precedent.
Yes, you will have a far easier time of it if you already know your topic inside out. My friend Yoav who I blog with on the Codswallop blog routinely writes linkbait that would take me ages to put together, such as this 70+ strong Excel tips and resource list. That’s because he is an Excel expert, and you would expect him to be as his most popular product is a PDF to Excel converter! I by contrast am not by any means an expert on Excel so I blog about everything but. Mostly my opinions on all things tech.
I find if you really love a topic then passion and knowledge are often found together. If you have ever spent time with an obsessive sports geek you will understand how even the most otherwise dimwitted individuals can store an encyclopedias worth of stats, facts and history.
If you only stick to what you have already have done, what you absolutely know, when will you ever do something new? You can break new ground and share the new experience just as well as you can share past experiences if you are flexible in the way you do it.
It’s no different in business. There were many times in my career that I had to present to clients ideas that I had less than 100% confidence would work. My first ever email campaign was for Coca-Cola. You can imagine how nervous I was. The client and the agency I worked for were both banking on me knowing how to pull it off. Where I couldn’t point to past successes I would tell them so, but back up the strategy I was recommending with well researched rationale. You don’t always have to have done something before in order to be a success, you just have to alter your approach and be honest about what you are doing.
If you are not an expert then you can still write about a subject. What matters is how you deliver the topic. Do you go in and try to fake it, or do you honestly represent the information based on your own research and experience? It’s the difference between authenticity and fraud.
When you can not refer to past experience you can say “I just discovered this” or “This is what I am trying right now”. There is still useful information for readers, you are simply not trying to imply any expert status.
One of my favorite blogs about blogging is The Blogging Experiment. Rather than say “this is how it is done” the blog is like a journal of trials and tribulations of building a blog. Ben writes honestly, with a warts and all attitude. He shares what works and what does not so you can follow his progress.
Perhaps this is a model you could follow?