Whenever you provide material for inbound marketing, it is an attempt to establish yourself as an expert. Your content provides an expert level voice to the readers of your blog. This voice includes the “I can help you” attitude, the “I have been there and done that” sage, and the “You are not alone on the journey” coach.
I have had several people, myself included, wonder how to start content marketing if you are not an expert in anything or in your chosen business. When I started writing, I had a few years of struggle at a small non-profit, experience delivering pizzas, building houses, and giving maternity shots to cows under my belt (no joke).
After three years on Blogmutt, I have published over 600 blogs, written for execs at HP and Hubspot, and developed a research and writing niche where I am, indeed, an expert.
For myself and for others who want to start a writing business or an inbound campaign for their current business, here are the questions I ask:
How Do You Know You Are Not An Expert?
While some coaches love to say that everyone is an expert in something (a nice truism), the fact of the matter is you may not be an expert in what you want to do. How do you know if you are an expert?
I had a business owner ask me this who has produced a SaaS (Software as a Service) product for churches that has had customers for over 13 years. He told me that he has not worked with worship teams, which his software served, so how can he present himself as an expert to potential customers? My response was: you have 13 years success in implementing this product for your customers. That makes you an expert.
If you have customers, if you have sales, if you have dollars coming into a business, that means something. If you have customers, sales, and dollars for longer than a decade, you have enough experience in customer service to provide information to the majority of your leads since the average job is something like 5 years.
Another aspect that might make you an expert is a life-changing story that you had to live through, like overcoming depression and dealing with Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) or some similar topic. Keep in mind, that if you are going to blog about dealing with depression, you better have a product that caters to your story. For example, if three years ago I had decided to start marketing Melaleuca products because their multivitamins freed me from ten years of a cyclical depression, I would have been able to speak with an expert’s voice, even though I had not customers or sales, because my story is that I was freed from depression through their nutritional products.
But, I didn’t want to build that business. I wanted to build a business helping businesses and local communities, something that I was obviously not an expert in. This leads to the next question
What Can You Do Now To Begin Establishing Yourself As An Expert?
If you are not an expert (have no story in your niche and no customer track-record), you need to find a first step to begin establishing yourself as an expert. For a writer, this means that you will need to find the easier-to-access freelance sites (like Blogmutt.com, Freelancer.com, or a local newspaper) and write for them for far less than you want to eventually make.
My first blogs paid me between $2 and $4 an hour. Ouch. I was the person to whom 3rd world content marketing mills outsourced their writing. That was difficult, but it led to great inspiration for my Blogmutt posting, which led to private clients, which lead to coaching and this blog. When you are establishing yourself as an expert for writing, the most important issues are: am I learning to deal with customers, and am I getting my name out there.
Establish your voice as an expert through your own story or your customer service experience, and then write on it.