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:
- 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.
- 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
- 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!
- 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.
- 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 …