I am a fake.
When I started my fashion blog, the only thing I knew about fashion was how to put together an outfit that didn't get tomatoes thrown at it. When I started IFB, I had only been blogging for six months, and knew very little. When I started Eat, Sleep, Denim all I knew about denim was that jeans were comfortable. Over the years, it became evident that I had learned quite a bit from blogging, and was no longer a dedicated amateur, but indeed an “expert.”
The truth is that many blogs are not started by “experts.” Unless the expert is somehow out of work, or is starting a new venture, for the most part bloggers are dedicated amateurs who just love a topic, and start a blog about it. While some traditional-media-ists proclaim the demise of western civilization due to non-expertise, and they're partially right, the truth is everyone, even the experts started knowing nothing.
Perhaps the easiest and best way to become an expert, is to act as if you are an expert.
This post does not advocate ignorance or lying. This post will tell you how you can become an expert in your niche. This post will tell you that you don't have to be an expert to start your blog. Perhaps the easiest and best way to become an expert, is to act as if you are an expert. Not by going around saying, “I am an expert.” but by doing the things experts do. Pretty soon, you're not faking it… you're the real thing.
So let's get to it!
Research Your Topic
Just because you started knowing nothing, doesn't mean you can remain a know-nothing if you want to have any kind of credibility. Read, read, read, absorb everything you can get your hands on. When you write a post, don't just spew out what you think, read the reviews, read the Wikipedia pages, check out books from the library. Dig up articles, magazines, newspapers, other blogs, really… anything you can get your hands on. Read it, and put your own spin on it for the post.
There is nothing that will help you become an expert faster than getting to know other experts, and picking their brains. Of course for your blog, it's a great opportunity to get content, so don't just ask the boring, “what is your inspiration” questions, get deep, get the questions you want to know the answers to.
Document Your Journey to Expertise
I did this with most all of my blogs. Sharing the knowledge I picked up along the way provided for some compelling content. Your readers are there to learn new things, and what better way to please then than to share what cool things you just learned?
Focus on Story Telling
What you lack in knowledge, make up for in story telling. There is always something say to make something interesting. You know Stephen Hawking? He is an expert yes, but more importantly he's an expert who can tell a story. What good is knowing something if you can't make it interesting? While you're building up your knowledge, focus on the story that makes it interesting. Your practice will always come in handy, especially as your expertise becomes more robust.
Harness Your Enthusiasm
You know what's awesome about not knowing anything? Everything is new and exciting. You're not jaded by the same-old-same-old. You're looking at a new topic with fresh eyes, bringing your own unique experience to it. It's exciting! Harness that excitement and share it with your readers.
The biggest reason why experts hit a plateau on their quest for knowledge is because they think they know it all. Avoid this at all costs. There is nothing, I repeat, nothing that you can possibly know all there is to know about. There is always something new, something changing and your job as an expert is to stay on top of that.
You may not know much now, you may not be good at what you're doing, and there is only one way to fix that. Practice. Practice researching, practice writing, taking photos, practice your social media networking. Practice, whatever it is that helps you communicate your expertise. And soon enough, you don't have to fake being an expert anymore!
[Image credit: Shutterstock.com]