This post is part of a series of posts on building blog credibility
Does the blogger actually know what they are talking about?
Some might argue that ‘expertise’ is a little close to ‘experience’ but I see it differently. As I wrote in the last post, I often write in the voice of a ‘fellow traveler’ sharing my experiences but another strategy for building credibility is to write in the voice of ‘the expert’.
I guess to use the analogy of traveling again the expert is the tour guide.
On my firs trip to Europe (mainly in Spain and Portugal but also through Morocco for a week) we had the most amazing guide for two weeks. The amount of knowledge that she had in her head about the countries that we were passing through was staggering. She could (and did) talk for hour after hour about some of the most interesting facts, stories, rumors and histories of places. She’d spent years studying the region and brought the trip alive in a way that fellow travelers could never have done alone.
When she spoke we listened because we knew she was about to tell us something that mattered.
A blogger who is not only experienced in their niche but who is able to speak about it with authority and expertise is another step closer to being seen as a credible blogger.
Take Home Advice – not every blogger can pull the ‘expert’ thing off and I wouldn’t recommend trying unless you do feel you have some mastery over a topic. As I wrote in the previous post, don’t try to pull the wool over your readers eyes if you don’t know something or you might just find yourself exposed as a fraud (and bloggers love to expose a fraud).
IF you have some expertise in an area to share by all means share it. Don’t be shy about it, tell your readers what you know.
Especially effective are posts that not only tell people what you know but also that tell them how to apply it. It’s all very well to be taught a theory but to be taught how to apply it to your life is something that people will value and respect you for.
Lastly – experience and expertise need not be mutually exclusive things. Our tour guide had actually lived for many years in the regions through which we travelled. She not only told us about the region’s history from what she’d studied but from time to time told us about her life there. This blend of real life experience and expertise was a wonderful thing to be exposed to.
Good advice, Darren.
It seems as if many bloggers will tell seemingly useful information, yet they wont reveal their experiences with it. This, to me, says that the blogger most likely read it somewhere and has not experienced it directly.
When I first started blogging in January I had a hard time telling the exact truth about my experiences. Instead of one year, I’d say two. Instead of 5, I’d say 10.
Like your Take Home Advice, I know now that it’s not always good to go for the “I’m the all out master” jugular. …Even in my niches that I have years of experience with, I try to keep away from I’m-the-shit talk.
The beauty about daily blog posts is that it quickly divides the people who know what they’re talking about from the people that don’t.
After reading four or five posts (actually often one will do), insightful readers can tell if the blogger knows what she is talking about. It doesn’t matter what you write in your bio. That can be faked but expertise? Difficult, especially over the long run.
And by expertise, I mean knowledge, not education. There are quite a few MBA’s blogging about topics they know nothing about despite having studied it in school for a decade (in business, at least, there is a big gap being theory and practice).