5 Post Types For When Writing Without Expertise

By Chris Garrett | Writing

Oct 05
writing tips

One of the questions I often get asked about my guest posting is how I write on subjects I know little about. The answer is not so astounding; if I really know nothing then I turn down the opportunity. It just takes far too much research to make such deals profitable for me.

Having said that some people are expert at the research part and like nothing more than the challenge to immerse in new topic and come away with a mastery.

What about the rest of us? Is it possible to blog on topics where you are not fully versed in it?

In most cases you at least need an interest in the subject. Blogging long term takes dogged day to day energy, starting out in a niche without even an ounce of passion is only going to make things harder.

So you have a passion but not the experience? That is perfectly fine. Blogger does not necessarily mean expert!

When I launched my photography blog I didn’t know much other than I loved taking photographs and knew one end of a camera from the other. The blog, writing about the topic and getting help and feedback from the community it generated, helped me learn.

There are five main tactics for blogging without expertise, here they are with descriptions of each:

  1. Diary of progress – A blog such as BloggingExperiment where the blogger notes down the whole experience and journey they are on can be an interesting read. One of my colleagues years ago did a round the world trip and blogged the whole thing and we all followed his journey as if we were on it with him. Done openly and honestly this route can work well.
  2. Research then summarize – The traditional route is to take the best resources from a niche and simplify it for a layman (starting with yourself!). This requires both good research skills and an ability to teach what you have learned. This is the approach I took with DSLRBlog but I made sure the readers were fully aware that is what I was doing, especially at the start. There were a few goofs but the audience corrected me and I edited the posts to reflect my mistakes. Some of the best moments were when other beginners learned more from comments correcting me than the initial post :)
  3. Interview experts, ask the audience – Your readers and peers can be a valuable source of information. For example I was talking to a blogger who writes about cigars. I know zero about the topic but because I know nothing I could interview him and produce tons of beginner level content because I know what I don’t know. Sometimes being an expert clouds you to what a beginner is experiencing, being a beginner can be an advantage!
  4. News digests and link posts – As you learn you will pick up resources, informative articles and valuable tips – all good fodder for other people in your exact position. A link blog is a valid type of blog and still popular in many niches. Just make sure you understand enough to know what you are linking to and what all the terminology means.
  5. Wing it – I would never advise anyone to outright lie but you can still wing it providing you always stay one step ahead of your target audience. This is a very shaky area but on the other hand many bloggers are doing exactly this every day.

The one issue above all that you need to remember is your audience will be very good at detecting a fraud. People who really know their topic and those who do not leak the fact between the lines.

What do you think of blogging as a non-expert? Please share your thoughts in the comments …

About the Author

A professional blogger and internet marketing consultant.

KC TAN October 5, 2007

I always Wiki for the subjects that I am not quite familiar followed by Google :)

Forum is also a good place to find out what other people would like to know regarding a topic.

Kevin October 5, 2007

I think it's possible to write a great post on a subject as a non expert however I believe that you need to tell readers that you are not an authority on the topic and that your article was based on the research you did for the post.

You might miss some things or miss important points that those with experience in the subject would not but at the very least you would generate some discussions.

Michael Martine October 5, 2007

If you go outside your area of expertise and make a mistake, be prepared to deal with it graciously. Thank the real experts publicly for setting you straight and correct your post. Everyone makes mistakes, but the difference is in how you deal with them. Not that I know anything about that, myself. :roll:

If you're doing a "diary of progress" type of blog, I would think it would be important to mention problems and failures so that people learn from them. I think it's true that we learn much more from failing than from succeeding. So, as Tom Peters says: fail faster. 😀

Chris Garrett October 5, 2007

Yeah guys, you have to be open about what you are doing. As well as it being the right thing to do anyway, it invites people to correct you in a friendly way so you and your audience learn. If you make out you are an expert then expect the heat to be turned up white hot :)

You are so right about people learning more from mistakes, especially educational when other peoples as you don't have the downsides 😉

A Blog about Nothing October 6, 2007

Online it's not hard to call yourself an expert about something. Even if you don't have a clue it's relatively easy to gain a few hours worth of knowledge and summarize it then post it. To truly become an expert at something takes years and years of study. Then beyond study it takes a great number of years of practical application in the real world.

Point being that we often equate some success with a level of expertise that's beyond what is deserved. As to if marketing your wares as an expert when you're not is "ok" that's an issue for your own heart to decide.

Mandy October 7, 2007

Thanks Chris,

You really have hit the nail on the head for me with this one, and I have learned something tonight!

I am in the process of starting a photography blog, I love photography and everything about it. But I am no expert and this has been holding me back, I didn't want to muck it up. This article has really helped me see that that doesn't matter, I like documenting my journey and I like being honest. I think this has shown me a way forward…

Thanks again

Israel October 12, 2007

i am taking the journey approach with my blog.

Beindyundig November 30, 2007

I is pleasantly amazed! Thank!!!
There was merrily!

Vidyut Kale July 17, 2008

I find that it helps if I am personal – sharing my own state of being, being transparent about my inexperience and sharing discoveries I find worthwhile works.

Also what works is my sharing of what I know in a way that makes it easy for the reader to adopt if they need that learning.

That said, being a new blogger is a very vulnerable kind of situation, where I want readers, but have to struggle finding them.

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