Professional Blogger: You Don’t Have to Write What You Know

The Indiegogo campaign for Miranda’s new book has almost reached its goal, but the campaign is only on until Sept 15th. Go check out Confessions of a Professional Blogger and claim your perks!

Every writer out there, from novelists to professional bloggers has heard this old piece of advice: “Write what you know.”

But what if what you know isn’t what’s in demand?

When I first started writing online, I wanted to write high-minded pieces about politics, science, and religion. One of the first things I discovered at the time was that, while I landed a science-writing gig fairly early on, politics and religion didn’t pay well.

SConfessions of a Professional Bloggerince I didn’t have a big name, or big credentials, paid gigs about politics and religion were pretty well out of my league. Instead, I did a little research. What was in demand? I found that I could be paid for writing about window treatments on a catalog site, and about theme weddings for a lifestyle site. No one wanted to pay me for my analysis on politics (so much for the poli-sci minor), but they were ready to shell out for my thoughts on window treatments.

Later, I caught a break when someone asked me to write about finances. It was 2006, and my only regular gig was writing for a science web site; all my other income came from writing anything anyone would pay me for. When offered a regular staff writing gig for finances, I jumped at it — even though my entire knowledge of finances revolved around the fact that I had racked up too much debt in college.

That’s when I decided that writing what you know is great, but it won’t pay the bills if what you know isn’t in demand. So I learned to write to demand.

Become an Expert on Writing about an In-Demand Topic

My journalism training taught me that you don’t actually have to be an expert on something to write about it. Instead, you need to know how to write. Rather than worry about about knowing everything about a topic, learn a little bit about it (to start), and then write well.

I like to say that, by now, I’m an expert at writing about finances — even though I don’t have the “official” credentials of a financial professional. You, too, can learn to write on topics that others are willing to pay for, without being an expert. Here’s how:

  • Learn research skills: Efficiently research the topic in question. Develop basic research skills that can help you learn the fundamentals. Over time, as you write more on the subject, you can add commentary and your own philosophy.
  • Interview others: If you can’t write from a place of your own expertise, use the expertise of others. Develop interview skills and learn how to tell others’ stories in a way that is engaging. Interview experts to add depth and legitimacy to your writing.
  • Practice, practice, practice: The best way to improve your writing is to practice. The more you write, the better you’ll become. In the end, clients wants someone who writes well. If you can show that you write well, and know how to organize information and tell a good story, you’ll land gigs writing about what’s in demand, no matter your lack of expertise.

While I ended up mainly in a niche (finances), I can write about more than just money. Recently, I’ve written about baby-proofing homes, law, and technology. While financial topics are my main focus, there are a few non-money blogs that I write for.

You don’t need to limit yourself to a niche to make money as a professional blogger. There are thousands of blogs looking for good writers. Show that you are capable of providing well-researched and sourced content, and presenting it in an interesting way, and you’ll have plenty of work.

Don’t worry about writing what you know. Instead, focus on writing what you can learn.

Overcome Blogger’s Block With These 3 Free WordPress Plugins

Never Run out of Blog Post Ideas again

Bloggers Block ebook: 62 Blog Posts on How to Overcome Blogger’s Block

No matter how passionate or committed you are as a blogger, you will get stuck at some point. Either ideas will not come to you, your life will get super busy and your posting schedule will fall by the wayside, or you will just get burnt out.

Great news! You don’t have to completely give up when that happens.

Following are three free WordPress plugins that can help you overcome blogger’s block by keeping your content creation ideas flowing. [Read more...]

Why Your Content Strategy Should Be Blogging Around Buzzwords

Buzzwords

Engagement.

That’s the point of any piece of content you create, right? You want to publish something that will get comments, shares, and generally keep your audience engaged and coming back.

There are many ways to make sure your content is click-worthy, but in all my blogging experience I’ve found that one strategy towers above the rest. That strategy is about using buzzwords.

Buzzwords? You Mean Like Keywords?

No. Buzzwords and keywords are two completely separate things. They are in no way, shape, or form related (well, except that they’re both words).

If you’re reading this article, you’re likely already familiar with what keywords are and their importance in blogging. Having the right keywords can help your site rank and help draw external traffic to your blog, among other things. But buzzwords differ dramatically.

Think back to elementary school. Did you have a “word of the day” during your English lessons? Your teacher may have given you a word, and encouraged the class to use it throughout the day.

On that specific day, you and your classmates used the word a lot, but as time went on you used it less and less (but of course, you still used it on occasion). This is essentially a buzzword.

Go On…

Buzzwords are the word of the day for blogging. Except that buzzword might not last a whole day. It could last an hour. Or it could last three months. Hell, it could even last a year. The point being is that this buzzword will have a beginning and it will have an end.

The key to capitalizing on that buzzword is catching it somewhere in the middle.

As a buzzword buzzes more, it picks up steam. This could be because of a world event, a popular blog post, a new book that’s released, or something else. For whatever reason, this buzzword represents a larger idea that’s becoming more popular by the minute/hour/day/month.

So, How Do I Identify Them?

There is no proven formula to identify buzzwords. But there are strategies that you can use to help you find buzzwords or topics that are good to blog about, so your content is clicked by thousands across the glove.

The first would be to subscribe to industry blogs. Lots of them. Like, dozens. Hundreds even. Read them, too, and take note if you see any sorts of trends developing.

Over the past week, did you read four different blog posts about the importance of storytelling in marketing?

Check your Twitter feed. Are many of your colleagues tweeting about an upcoming convention in south-east Missouri? It’s worth investigating to see if that topic is generating a lot of buzz.

The key is to find relevant content that’s being shared and commented on.

Even if what you’re reading isn’t on a popular blog, if it’s got a fair number of shares and comments than chances are the post is popular because it’s about a relevant buzzword.

Lastly, What Will They Do For Me?

Buzzwords will ensure your content is clicked. Focusing your blogging strategy around buzzwords will result in more shares. It will mean more comments. All in all, it means more views, whether those views are for you or a client.

Writing about buzzwords will mean engagement.

If you land a guest post for the most popular blog in your industry, you can expect an exponential number of clicks if your post is about a relevant buzzword topic as opposed to some random topic.

Even if what you’re writing is great, it won’t get nearly as many clicks and shares as a decently written post about the topic of the hour /day /week /month.

So, What Now?

Figure out the buzzwords. Integrate them into your strategy. Write, write, edit, and write some more. Go forth, and blog about relevant buzzwords that your readers will love and share with the world!

_________________________________________________________

Author Bio

Ted Levin is a freelance writer and editor currently working with an SEO consultant. He enjoys writing about content marketing, social media, and brand strategy. Connect with Ted on Google+.

Is Impartiality in Media or Blogging Even Possible?

Don't Trust the Mainstream Media

Image Credit: Agent 3155: Mainstrea Media: Truth or Lies

Every time I read a post bemoaning the idea that copywriters and bloggers deserve to be compensated for their time because journalism should be impartial, I wonder whether people truly believe that the major media does not primarily benefit the wealthy who control it.

Back in the old days (say in the ’70s when I studied Journalism), a journalist was taught to only report the news and any opinion was to be found only on the editorial page.

The truth remains that those businesses that could afford to buy advertising influenced what got published. To deny that is naive.

What the audience of any publication really needs to know
will never appear
in the major magazines, newspapers or broadcasts
whenever that information would be contrary to the
interests of the advertisers supporting that media.

I’ll offer an example from an industry I know well. You are never going to read in The Blood-Horse or The Thoroughbred Times that the Thoroughbred Breeding Industry is about creating [Read more...]

Happy Birthday GrowMap 3 Years Old Today

Blog third birthday

Image Credit: Michael Trick’s Operations Research Blog

Each year on the anniversary of launching GrowMap, I do a review of the highlights of the previous year and compare it to the years before.

Today is the third birthday of this blog. The past year has been simply amazing.

Besides the usual stats I want to share some of the highlights.

I especially want to say a special thank you
to the many bloggers who have provided
the wind beneath our wings.

When we collaborate, the more each of us succeeds
The more ALL of us succeeds!

[Read more...]