Creating Expert Content, Without Being an Expert.
I often get told by people that they are not good at writing, they are not an expert, and they certainly cannot keep up with the competition in their given niche. I am here to tell you that you are completely wrong. In fact, I know you are more than capable of creating QUALITY and expert feeling content within absolutely ANY niche.
Well there is a proven methodology that I have been using for many years to research and construct quality content. Also, it is not just about "blind" writing, it is about educating yourself on a given topic and learning about a particular audience.
All Great Content, Starts With Research
If you think about it, all great authors are great researchers. Yes, they are intelligent at what they do, but that came with practice and experience. Many authors that write books about a particular topic are NOT subject matter experts though prior to writing the book. That is completely normal.
There was a very famous book called "Freakonomics", one of the most popular business books over the past 10 years. Basically what it did is an analysis on what appeared to be freak incidents, many respecting business, and determined why they were not "freak" after all. This information was established through researching every topic they discussed, everything from suicide bombers to whether or not you should buy life insurance.
Interesting and intriguing topics, but surely Steven Levitt (the author) wasn't an expert on suicide bombers or an expert on life insurance prior to writing the book. Instead, he researched these topics, understood them, and now he could certainly be deemed as an expert on many of them (and is getting significant speaking fees now as a result of this expertise).
Where to Find Your Research?
No different from writing an essay, you can create an article that is thorough, insightful, accurate and full of useful information within any niche, on any topics with a little research. It is HOW you do your research though that will determine your overall content efficiency and quality.
Over the years I have written content across a wide breadth of niches, many of which I had NO knowledge of before entering. I was able to become an authority and expert in simply by immersing myself in that particular niche, and constantly research every single quirk about that subject matter.
I don't have a finite number of resources I use in a niche as I am researching and in some niches I will deviate from conventional research strategies, to more "niche specific ones. There are however SIX clear and concise methods of research that I have leveraged over the years to significant speed up my skill/knowledge base from complete newbie, towards being consider an expert in that give niche.
- Google (or other search engines). You can learn a lot for a simple search in Google (or the search engine of your choice). Whether you are looking for information in your niche, products/services people are searching for, or looking to expand your knowledge on relevant topics to your niche, Google is an excellent resource. Don't forget that.
- Fellow Blogs/Authority Websites. What are others doing in your industry? What are they talking about? How are their websites organized, are they focusing on particular topics you aren't currently? How do they create their content and what are some of the most active content on their websites? These are all things that you can quickly come to learn through researching relevant websites in the industry.
- Magazines and Books. One of my favourite spots when I am doing research or looking to expand my business in any niche is the local book store. I tend to go to the larger box stores like Chapters/Indigo (here in Canada) as their book and magazine selections are the largest, but if you don't have a large bookstore close by you can certainly leverage online magazine websites like magazines.com to do your research. This is an excellent way to perform industry research, get ideas for hot products/services in your industry, and to see what is current.
You can also get all sorts of content ideas, ideas for captivating headlines, and see what sort of ads people are putting into magazines. Magazines really are a wealth of information. Additionally, books and novels in your niche are an excellent way to speed up your expertise. Often times people spend several years acquiring the knowledge about a topic that they are willing to part with in a book for less than $20 for a soft cover or even less for a digital version. To me, that is incredible. Shave years off your path to expertise by learning from the best in your particular space.
- Forums/Online Discussion Boards. What are people chatting about? What questions are they asking? What problems are they having? What solutions are being recommended to them? What are their main concerns and worries? What are trending topics in your niche?
The answers to all of these will surface relatively efficiently if you spend some of your time hanging out and reading within forums and online discussion boards relating to your niche. Some good ones are quora.com, reddit.com, and ehow.com, and answers.com.
- Keyword Tools (Jaaxy Research Platform). Right in front of you is one of the elite keyword research platforms of the industry. Keyword tools allow you spur all sorts of new ideas (sometimes too many ideas lol) with great efficiency. I recommend that you leverage the "Research" platform here at Wealthy Affiliate with regularity, as it is going to reveal all sorts of ideas related to your niche.
Start broad with your keyword research, then narrow things down and let yourself wander around your niche. There are no rules to keyword research, simply let your searches take you through your niche and start with broader concepts and dig your way down.
- Real Life Research. We are running an online business yes and you can keep all of your research techniques online, but I just wanted to mention that the offline world can be a powerful way to perform research and obtain all sorts of newfound expertise within your niche.
IF you are in a niche related to electronics, go to your local electronics store. Touch, feel, use the products/services. Find out more information from a sales associate. Join clubs or groups related to your particular space, there are likely things like Meetups in your niche. Talk to friends and family members about the niche, get their feedback, their problems, their interests, etc.
Consistent immersion and research is important, but just as important is that you record your research. Take notes and lots of them. Often times you will never have to go back to your notes, but the act of writing it down will lead to better knowledge absorption.
Letting Others Do the Dirty Work.
So what do I mean by this? Well, there are people that dedicate their lives to establishing expertise in a given niche. They spend years research, testing, analyzing and producing bleeding edge content on various verticals. These are the people that I seek out when looking to obtain newfound "expertise". If you can learn directly from an expert, you can assume newfound expertise.
Let's say I know nothing about real estate investing. However, there are several books at my local book store that are dedicated to this exact topic. In fact, there are several books outlining exactly how to invest in real estate and they are written by billion dollar real estate moguls. Trustworthy content right? Yes.
But also, right beside these books are going to be other real estate investment books that are written by authors that analyze the traits, behaviour and practices of these "experts". They provide expert information (and become the expert) by understanding what the experts do to achieve success.
What I Learned About a Strange Niche in 10 Minutes
OK, let's put these techniques to use in an industry I know nothing about, and will put together 10 minutes of research about a particular and very specific topic within that niche. The outcome should be expert content, but we will find out.
First, the niche. To prove the effectiveness of this, I have chosen something that is so distant from me and the knowledge that I currently have. I have chosen "bead jewelry making". Outside of seeing my 5 year old daughter make little bead bracelets for her friends at school, I have no real knowledge in this space. I certainly wouldn't be able to make you anything "pretty" or carry on a useful conversation about this topic...at this point anyways.
That's why I cam going to implement my top 6 research strategies to acquire some expertise. I will show you what I can do in 10 minutes and then you can probably grasp how much expertise I could obtain through the course of an entire year. I am confident I could be an expert content creator within a year, in any niche.
My Google Research.
I usually just head off to Google and let my mind wander and Googles' results dictate the direction of my research. I start very broad, and then narrow down my research, and I will start to navigate the results within Google as well to expand my knowledge and expertise.
My first search was "bead making". This instantly open my eyes to all sorts of ideas, types of bead making, and things people are looking for in the bead making space. You can see my results below.
Bead making is much larger than I thought, but I can quickly understand many of the various "sub niches" within this broader niche. I recorded these ideas down, and then I went on to do a little more research. The next broad search I did was on "bead jewelry".
I took this search and then narrowed it down to bead jewelry ideas. This is going to be a way in which I can get all sorts of information and likely some websites that have a wealth of knowledge I can leverage.
You can see my narrowed down search produced lots of shopping options and their corresponding brands in the industry. These could be some affiliate programs I could promote on my website, I know the likes of Etsy.com have excellent affiliate programs through Awin. I could even head off to Etsy to do some research on the "bead jewelry" that people are creating over there, and perhaps I could even reach out to some top sellers on their with queries I had about beading.
Within this search, there were many excellent resources that immediately came up.
Lots of different ideas here. I would then dedicate some time to going through these websites and gathering ideas and knowledge in respect to beaded jewelry.
This was only three searches in Google, but you can see how powerful a bit of research is.
My Authority Website Research.
There are many authority websites out there in any niche, all of which you can leverage. This is not necessarily your competition as there is room for 1,000's of successful bloggers in any niche, rather these are people within your niche that you can learn from and potentially down the road as you establish a brand, network with.
I did a search in google for "Beading Websites" and I got LOTS. In fact, one of the results was a list of the top 100 beading blogs in the industry.
This website was a wealth of information, I then started an article with a list of the "top authority" websites in the industry in SiteContent. Here is an example of a list of websites in the industry I have started in a just a few minutes of research.
As I find websites I like in the beading niche, I am going to start adding them to this article. These will serve as excellent resources for both keyword/opportunity research in my niche, but also will be a way for me to advance my subset of knowledge.
My Magazines and Books Research
For books, I used a quick search in Amazon to for beading books. I could have spent some more time looking for more specific types of beading books, but from my "beading book" search I got over 3,000 search results.
If this was my niche, I would likely go through and order a few of these top rated books, but I would try to choose ones that are not on the same topic. There are likely a bunch of free books that I would also seek out within the beading niche and since I am a subscriber to an "all you can read" book company called Scribd, I did a search there.
What I found blew me away. There were 108,761 results within their search on "beading", all of which are free to me as a monthly subscriber. I have enough beading content there for a lifetime.
My next task would be choosing some most interesting ones, and the highest rating ones and spending some time reading through these books and recording my findings/ideas.
My Forums/Online Discussion Boards Research
I typically head over to Answers.com and Quora.com to do some research on my niche. I tend to look for questions that people are asking and I look to find solutions. If you know lots of solutions to people's problems in your space, you can advance your expertise very efficiently.
I headed over to the following websites and spent a total of 3 minutes research. These are some "issues" and questions I found that people came up with.
- What is the best beading software out there? (Quora.com)
- What are the best beading stitches, and why? (Quora.com)
- Is tambour beading difficult to master? (Quora.com)
- What are the number of ways in which 10 beads can be arranged to form a necklace (Quora.com)
- How many beads are on a rosary? What does each one mean? (Quora.com)
- Can beading or beadwork be considered art? (Quora.com)
- When beading jewelry, how should I pick up the beads? (Quora.com)
- How do you do beaded-knitting? (Answers.com)
- How can you get free beads? (Answers.com)
- What are pi beads? (Answers.com)
- How do you attach a bead cap to a bead? (Answers.com)
- What beads does annabeth have? (Answers.com)
- What do you do with a million beads? (Answers.com)
These questions all have corresponding answers to them as well. These are keywords that you could target with content/articles that you create on your website, but visiting sites like this can give you a lot of education on your industry and perspective of opinion (as several people will likely have different solutions to the same problem).
My Jaaxy Research
It is very easy to come up with LOTS of keywords and relevant ideas in Jaaxy and I use two platforms in particular, Keyword Research and Alphabet Soup. These research platforms are going to be an incredible asset to your business.
There are many strategies that you can implement with Jaaxy, but if you look within the side menu (as a Premium member), you will have full access to the subset of Jaaxy keyword/niche research functions. Here is the menu and a few of them I recommend:
Make Jaaxy your friend, it is the one of the most powerful platforms in the world for research keywords and uncovering opportunities within your respective niche.
My Real Life Research
In 10 minutes, I am obviously not able to perform any real life research, but if this was my industry I would be dedicating time and energy to communicating with others, going to a local bead store or crafting store and getting as much information as I can.
I would also seek out fellow beaders and ask those that are beading regularly for insight into how they bead, what they like about it, what products/services they use, and what issue they have. I didn't have time to do this within my 10 minutes, but I did get a lot of other research and information in this short period of time.
Now it's your turn.
I have given you just a few of the potential research ideas and platforms you can use to advance your knowledge and work towards expertise in ANY industry. You are more than capable of accomplishing expertise at anything that you set your mind to, but it will take some dedication and immersion in your niche. It's fun though, and treat every day like a learning experience within your niche.
If you have any questions about authority or expertise within the online world and how to achieve it, please leave your comments/questions below and I will be happy to help you out.