“I don’t know what to make a website about. I’m not an expert in anything.”
“How can I tell people about something when I don’t even know anything about it?”
When you start working on an idea for a passive niche website, it’s almost guaranteed that you’re going to have one of these thoughts go through your head. It’s natural. When you’re writing content for everyone to see, you’re putting yourself out there. You don’t want to be putting out bad information.
For lots of people, this issue stops them before they even get started. It absolutely shouldn’t.
Here’s the key about expertise. You’ve likely been fooled into thinking experts are infallible. They know everything about a topic. That’s not true. Being an “expert” simply means you know more about a topic than your audience.
Think of a high-school algebra teacher. Does an algebra teacher know the ins and outs of differential equations or calculus? Absolutely not. But a teacher knows more about one particular topic than their audience.
When you think of it this way, the worry about not knowing all the detail of a niche topic seems silly.
But what if you don’t know the first thing about a topic? That’s actually an advantage.
Being new to a topic gives you a fresh perspective. You approach a topic as your readers would. After all, if they knew everything about your niche, they’d have no reason visit your site.
Approaching your topic from the view of a novice gives you a better sense of what’s important to people new to the subject. You will also do a better job of not talking over your readers’ heads. The jargon associated with a topic won’t be part of your vocabulary yet.
Of course, we aren’t saying you can half-ass it to being an expert. That’s going to show in your content. But being a novice shouldn’t be a reason to stop you from pursuing a niche.
The Quickest Way to Becoming an Expert in a Niche
Becoming an expert doesn’t have to take years. Tim Ferriss, in The 4-Hour Workweek has a plan to become an expert in four weeks. We don’t put a timeline on it because there’s no definition of expert. Whether you’ve studied a topic for a month or a decade you can be an expert — other people simply have to view you as one.
So how do you get others to view you as an expert? Here are several ways to quickly build your expertise in the eyes of others.
Join trade organizations
Nearly every topic you can think of has a trade organization for it. Joining these groups is a great way to gain credibility and also connect with others in the field. They can usually be joined for a small fee. Here’s a list to help you get started.
Use HARO to get press mentions
HARO is short of Help A Reporter Out. This free service connect people publishing content with reporters seeking sources. Sign up and you’ll receive three emails a day with reporters looking for experts in a field to quote in their articles. It’s also a great way to get backlinks to your site.
Write articles for other websites
Websites (including this one) are always looking for content. Often they will allow guest contributors. Take advantage to get in front of an audience and get your name/site out there. To get started, do a Google search for your topic plus the word “blog.” This will bring up a list of sites to contact. The cool thing is that there are blogs for any topic, and they all represent an opportunity to get in front of a highly targeted audience.
Set Google alerts and follow up
Google alerts are a must. I have them set for all sorts of keywords relating to my niche. When you set one up (just Google the term for instructions), you’ll receive an email with any new mention of that keyword from news sources on the internet. Whenever you receive an alert, take note of the reporter on the story. Email them (they almost always have their contact information in the article) and let them know if they ever need a quote that you’re available.