This can be one of the most challenging aspects of becoming a blogger, affiliate marketer, or whatever you want to call it: How can you give advice to someone about what's best, or how to do something right, when you're not 100% confident?
If you're just entering a niche that you think can be profitable, but you don't know much about it, it can be an especially daunting task to learn all there is to know in a short period of time. How can you possibly compete with some other websites and professionals who have been in the industry for many years?
Well, it's very is possible, and being a beginner can actually can be used to your advantage!
Here are some other strategies that I've used over the years to become an ‘expert' in a niche, even though I started out as a newbie.
1. Fake It ‘Til You Make It
This is a popular phrase used to describe the process where you simply pretend to be an expert long enough, that eventually your reputation precedes you and others then look at you as an expert. By giving off an image of expertise, you become an expert.
That's just part of the equation though.
By using this strategy, while ‘faking it', you should also be doing your due diligence, research, and making an attempt to be honest and helpful to answer any questions. It does not mean that you simply lie about stuff give people bad advice. It simply means that you do the best with the information you have at hand, and eventually you'll be able to repeat the information without thinking, then move on to developing your own ideas.
If someone asks you a question you don't know the answer to, do the research to find it. Though you had to look up the answer, you're the “expert” because you've now just helped someone on your website.
The downside to this however, is that you will often look back at previous posts, videos, or comments and see just how wrong you were! As a beginner, it's also hard to distinguish good advice from bad advice, so you may find that you repeated what someone else told you, only to find out that it wasn't the best route to go.
All you can do is to frequently refresh content on your site, and link outdated content to new, more helpful, and more correct stuff. It takes some time to do this, but over time all your old, crappy content will be caught up with newer, better stuff. You can always pay someone to updated it later after you are making money from your site.
2. Take A Position, But Admit There Are Conflicting Views
A bit past the pure-beginner stage, you'll probably start to feel more confidence, but still wonder if other people are ‘more right' than you are.
What many new bloggers and marketers don't realize is that there are many conflicting opinions in every industry. One industry leader swears by this, but another recommends that.
All you can do is to pick a side, and admit that there is in fact another side. This is a great stance to have because it gives people a definite recommendation from YOU (your brand), but let's them know that this is not guaranteed, and there are conflicting views out there. It's super annoying to read someone's blog that just sits on the fence and says, “I don't know, you choose”, but it's worse to give one-sided opinions as if they are the ONLY right answer.
If you find later that your opinion is wrong, great! Write an updated post, link the old post to the new one, and you've got fresh content for your blog, plus you've just earned the trust of your readers.
Don't be afraid to make your opinion heard. Most of what you read online is just a bunch of people shouting their opinions anyway, so join the crowd with confidence.
Just Be Honest About What You Do Or Don't Know
This is what I'm really trying to pull of with this blog. Your industry may be different, but in the blogosphere SEO world, everyone seems to be an expert, everyone seems to know how to be successful, and everyone wants to show you the way (to their free guide AKA path to their email list).
I am an expert to some degree, but I'm also a beginner in many other ways. There are things I know, things I don't know, and even things YOU can teach ME. I'm all ears, and I don't have to be the #1 boss even though it's my website!
By using this strategy of transparency, I hope to gain the trust of my readers, who can see me not just as some mythical blogging money-making guru, but as just some guy who you can learn something from and take home to your own business. I suggest this strategy for newbies writing product reviews too.
What's The Advantage?
As mentioned in the first paragraph, there is an advantage to admitting your faults. Your readers are very likely a ‘step down' on the ladder of expertise. You can still guide people with less skill than you, but learn from the people with more skill than you. Expert/Newbie is not black and white.
Know It All's Are Annoying
By being ‘real' and showing you're not a expert, you could be getting more readers, followers,, as friends or peers to confide in an learn together. Being social is key to getting exposure online. Instead of teaching people, you can learn with people, and grow your brand as part of a community.
What do you think? Are you a ‘fake it til you make it' type person, or can you admit it when you simply don't know the answer?
Is knowledge transparency a good thing, or can it damage your blogs authority and your online reputation?
Let me know in the comments below.
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