So you’ve been reading up on Performancing and other places and want to get blogging on something you have a passion about but don’t consider yourself an expert on. “Write what you know,” you’ve heard. So what do you do? Well, while I have my passions, I’m a generalist and a freelancer. Here’s how I start blogging in a niche that’s new to me, and build up my knowlege.
- Scope out the niche. Suss out some good blogs in your desired niche and add them to your feed reader. If there’s a lot of hybrid blogs – in terms of topics – build a custom Yahoo Pipe to aggregate and filter multiple feeds, then add the result to your feed reader.
- Set up my own blog. WordPress is my platform of choice (even though Performancing is a Drupal blog, in case you are wondering.) The number of free themes and plugins far outranks any other choice, afaik. If you want to, you can tweak free themes and plugins – or ask a friend. If you want to use WordPress as more of a CMS (Content Management System) to build a generalized site (with or without a blog), you can do that with relative ease later.
- Start small. Start by writing and posting 5-10 short (20-50 word) summaries per day around current topics, using a techmeme-type of site, or a popurls-type – if available. The summaries link to authority blogs. I include a bit of personal commentary, to develop my voice in the niche. You don’t always know what you feel about something until you write it down.
- Build your site’s authority. In newer posts, deep-link back to at least two relevant archived posts. This is critical to start as early as possible, and forces you to be creative. Don’t just use the name of your archived article’s title in the hyperlink’s anchor text; use keywords, get creative. (See anything here at Perf written by Ryan, Ahmed, myself and many others and scan for deep links and take note of what text is used.)
- Start to focus. Slowly expand your commentary and conclusions – thnks to more confidence from doing more research. The average per-post word count increases. Gradually over time, you can start writing “authority” posts, asyou learn more about the niche.
I’ve used this approach for a number of niches and found that, eventually, I get to a point where I know enough about a topic that I can hire myself out or do guest blogging. But of course, this applies if you are simply building your own blog(s).
The key thing to remember is that if you wait until you’re already expert on something before you blog, you’ve lost a lot of authority building time. This is a relatively safe way to build your knowledge, without pretending to be an expert. Yet you also slowly build your authority via your blog/ website. It works for me.
What do you when you want to blog in a niche you are not an expert on?