There are basically two types of bloggers in the world – reporters and experts – and some people perform both roles (usually the experts, it’s hard for reporters to become experts, but it’s easy for experts to report).
If you have ever taken an Internet marketing course or attended a seminar specifically for beginners, you have probably heard about the two different methodologies. Whenever the business model is based on content, and if you blog for money then the model is based on content, people are taught to either start as reporters, or if possible step up as experts.
I’ll be frank; you want to be the expert.
Reporters leverage the content of the experts and in most cases people start off as reporters because they haven’t established expertise. Experts enjoy the perks of preeminence, higher conversion rates because of perceived value, it’s easier to get publicity, people are more likely to seek you out rather than you having to seek others out, joint ventures come easier, etc… experts in most cases simply make more money and attract more attention.
Most Bloggers Are Reporters
The thing with expertise is that it requires something – experience. No person becomes an expert without doing things and learning. Bloggers usually start out without expertise and as a result begin their blogging journey by talking about everything going on in their niche (reporting) and by interviewing and talking about other experts (reporting again).
There’s nothing wrong with reporting of course and for many people it’s a necessity at first until you build up some expertise. Unfortunately the ratios are pretty skewed when it comes to reporters and experts – there are a lot more reporters than there are experts, hence reporters tend to struggle to gain attention and when they do, they often just enhance the reputation of the expert they are reporting on.
Don’t Replicate Your Teacher
If you have ever spent some time browsing products in the learn Internet marketing niche you will notice a pattern. Many people first study Internet marketing from a “guru” (for lack of a better term). The guru teaches how he or she is able to make money online, and very often the view that the student gleams is that in order to make money online you have to teach others how to make money online.
The end result of this process is a huge army of amateurs attempting to replicate what their teacher does in the same industry – the Internet marketing industry – not realizing that without expert status based on a proven record and all the perks that come with it, it’s next to impossible to succeed.
Even people, who enjoy marginal success, say for example growing an email list of 1,000 people, then go out and launch a product about how to grow an email list of 1,000 people. Now I have no problems with that, I think it’s fine to teach beginners and leverage whatever achievements you have, the problem is that people gravitate to the same niche – Internet marketing – and rarely have any key points of differentiation.
How many products out there do you know of that all claim to teach the same things – email marketing, SEO, pay per click, affiliate marketing, and all the sub-niches that fall under the category of Internet marketing. It’s a saturated market, yet when you see your teachers and other gurus making money teaching others how to make money (and let’s face it – making money as a subject is one of the most compelling) – your natural inclination is to follow in their footsteps.
If the key is to become an expert and you haven’t spent the last 5-10 years making money online, I suggest you look for another niche to establish expertise in.
Report on Your Process, Not Others
The secret to progress from reporter to expert is not to focus on other experts and instead report on your own journey. When you are learning how to do something and implementing things day by day, or studying other people’s work, you need to take your process and what you do as a result of what you learn, and use it as content for your blog.
It’s okay to talk about experts when you learn something from them, but always relate it to what you are doing. If you learn a technique from an expert it’s fine to state you learned it from them (and affiliate link to their product too!) but you should then take that technique, apply it to what you are doing and then report back YOUR results, not there’s. Frame things using your opinion – your stories – and don’t regurgitate what the expert said. The key is differentiation and personality, not replication.
Expertise comes from doing things most people don’t do and then talking about it. If you do this often enough you wake up one day as an expert, possibly without even realizing how it happened, simply because you were so good at reporting what you did.
You Are Already An Expert
Most people fail to become experts (or perceived as experts) because they don’t leverage what they already know. Every person who lives a life learns things as they go, takes action every day and knows something about something. The reason why they never become an expert is because they choose not to (which is fine for some, not everyone wants to be an expert), but if your goal is to blog your way to expertise and leave the world of reporting behind you have to start teaching and doing so by leveraging real experience.
Experience can come from what you do today and what you have done previously; you just need to take enough steps to demonstrate what you already know and what you are presently learning along your journey. I know so many people in my life, who are experts simply by virtue of the life they have lived, yet they are so insecure about what they know, they never commit their knowledge to words for fear of…well fear.
Blogs and the Web in general, are amazing resources when you leverage them as a communication tool to spread your expertise because of the sheer scope of people they can reach. If all you ever do is talk to people in person and share your experience using limited communication mediums, you haven’t much hope of becoming an expert. Take what you know and show other people through blogging, and you might be surprised how people change their perception of you in time.
Reporting Is A Stepping Stone
If your previous experience and expertise is from an area you want to leave behind or you are starting from “scratch”, then reporting is the path you must walk, at least for the short term.
Reporting is a lot of fun. Interviewing experts, talking about what other people are doing and just being part of a community is not a bad way to blog. In many cases people make a career of reporting (journalism is about just that), but if you truly want success and exponential results, at some point you will have to stand up and proclaim yourself as someone unusually good at something and then proceed to demonstrate it over and over again.
Have patience and focus on what you do to learn and then translate that experience into lessons for others, and remember, it’s okay to be a big fish in a small pond, that’s all most experts really are.
This article was by Yaro Starak, a professional blogger and my blog mentor. He is the leader of the Blog Mastermind mentoring program designed to teach bloggers how to earn a full time income blogging part time.