“Can I start an authority blog in a new niche when I’m not an expert myself?”
That’s one of the most common questions newbies ask when they’re starting a new blog.
Before you go on to read the full post, here’s the short answer – Yes! You can start an authority site even if you’re a nobody.
That’s what I’ll explain in this article.
What Is A Niche Expert?
In the real world, an expert is someone who has complete command over a topic, has the relevant academic qualification, and plenty of practical experience support it (at our HARO link building agency, we hire niche experts to answer HARO queries to ensure high quality of our pitches)
But this concept does NOT apply to online marketing.
Why? First, have a look at the image below.
According to the report Digital In 2020, global internet penetration stands at just under 60%. This means that more than 40% of the world’s population does not even have basic internet access.
But every day millions of new people around the world are getting internet access for the first time.
For them, even basic information like using an internet browser or creating a Facebook account is valuable knowledge.
From their perspective, anyone who can help them get started is an expert.
This is how an online expert is drastically different from a real-world expert.
You do NOT need to know everything about a niche to be an expert.
You do NOT need any academic degrees to certifications to cover a topic
You do NOT need practical experience to write about it.
The ONLY thing you need to be an online niche expert is to know more than your target audience. That’s it!
And that much information can be gathered through simple research using Google Search and other online sources.
This is how 99% of online experts work (even the ones you follow and consider as an authority in their niches)
They don’t know everything about their niche.
But they come up with the right content ideas using keyword research and competitor analysis.
And when it’s time to write on a particular topic, they simply research it on the internet, find the latest facts & figures, case studies, examples, tips & tricks, etc. and use it to create a new high quality and unique piece of content that brings them traffic and helps them make money.
That’s all you have to do.
Why Care About Being An Expert In The First Place?
Why not just publish thin, keyword-rich content and monetize your site via Google Adsense or affiliate products?
You could’ve done that a decade ago but not in 2020.
To make money with blogging, you have to come across as an expert even if you’re not one.
Why? Because today’s consumers only buy from people they trust.
According to a study, expert bloggers and influencers now generate several times more sales for brands than paid advertising.
To build that trust, you have to create high authority content that demonstrates your knowledge on a topic and shows that you’re an expert who knows what he’s talking about
Once people start perceiving you as an authority, selling something to them becomes much easier.
How I Built An Authority Blog In A New Niche
It’s because of the content that was on the site.
The reason people were engaged with my site, and the reason people linked to my site and shared my content wasn’t because they knew me professionally.
It wasn’t because they saw Chris Lee as an experienced professional in their niche and instantly gave me credibility.
It wasn’t because they knew “WHO” created the site.
It was because of “WHAT” was on the site.
It was high-quality, accurate content that was better than anything out there at the time.
It was helpful, well put together, and backed up with a lot of research.
The only thing you need to become a niche authority is well-researched and high-quality content.
If you can consistently produce such content, people will consider you an expert even if you don’t know anything about the niche.
But how do create great content when you’re not familiar with a niche?
Let me share a few tips in the next section
7 Tips For Creating High-Authority Content When You’re Not An Expert
Here’s how you can create great content in any niche without being an expert.
1. Learn From Your Competitors
Why reinvent the wheel when you can learn from the content your competitors are publishing? Identify the top 10-20 blogs and influences in your target niche and analyze their content.
How do find your competitors?
Search for “Best [enter niche] blogs]” in Google search and you’ll get dozens of posts with lists of the top sites in your niche.
Here’s what I found when I search for “best parenting blogs”
The other method is to enter your topic in Google Search or a tool like SEMRush to see which blogs rank at the top.
Here’s what you should do with these sites
- Sign Up for their email list so that you stay updated with the topics they cover
- Analyze their best performing content. Some sites have a “Popular Posts” section in the sidebar which lists their best posts. If you can’t find it, enter the blog’s URL in SEMRush or Ubersuggest and they’ll give you the list of their best-performing articles.
- Analyze the topics, the structure, the voice, and the overall writing style of the best performing content.
This simple exercise will tell you a lot about your target niche and help you create great content.
2. Research High-Traffic Keywords And Topics
You can’t dominate a niche without keyword research.
Start with Google Search once again. Just enter your main topic keyword but don’t press enter and look at the search suggestions it shows.
For example, here are the suggested keywords for “parenting tips”
These are the most common topics people in your target niche are searching for.
Now search for a keyword and go to the “People also ask” section is SERPs
These are the most common questions people are searching for in your target niche.
If you’re planning to enter the parenting niche, the above screenshot has a wealth of information and insights for you.
But let’s not stop here.
Go to Ahrefs and search for any of your top competitors to get a huge list of keywords they’re ranking for in search results.
These are highly relevant keywords that your top competitors are ranking for. You can see their search volume, keyword difficulty, traffic, and other relevant details.
Dive deep into your competitor’s keywords to identify the topics you should write about.
3. Quote Industry Experts In Your Content
Once you get to the content creation stage, you’ll need to publish article with reliable and credible information so that people trust you as an expert.
An easy way to do that is by borrowing credibility from the top authors, experts, and well-known figures in your niche.
Use quotes from their blogs, interviews, articles, books, podcasts, or any other source frequently in your content.
When you associate yourself with the most well-known names in a niche, people take your content much more seriously.
4. Use Data, Numbers, And Case Studies
One of the easiest ways to make your content more share-worthy and stand out from your competitors is by frequently using numbers and research findings to back your advice.
Don’t make baseless claims.
Instead, put weight behind your arguments by sharing examples, case studies, research findings, and raw data.
Statista, Pew Research, Nielsen, etc. are great places to find data and numbers about any topic.
But if you can’t find it there, just search “[your niche] stats” on Google to get tons of posts with relevant statistics.
5. Write In A Conversational And Authoritative Tone
Remember, you’re not an expert but you need to sound like one. This is why you must write in a conversational but authoritative tone that exudes confidence.
Use a direct tone by using words like I, You, Me, Us frequently. Don’t write as if you’re talking toa crowd. Make it a one on one conversation.
Give instructions, share advice, and quote examples in a confident manner so that your readers know they’re learning from an expert.
6. Read The 3 Best Selling Books In Your Niche
Doing this will take time, but if you can read 3 of the top books in your niche, you’ll become more knowledgable about your topic than most of your target audience.
And that’s what our objective is, right?
But if you can’t find the time to do it, there’s another way.
According to researcher, Josh Kaufman, it takes 10,000 hours of learning something to truly master it.
But it takes only 20 hours of focused learning to become better than 85% of people in anything
If you can spend 20 hours learning about your niche, you’ll have enough knowledge and insights to create better content than most sites.
7. Hire Experienced Writers In Your Niche
If you can’t do any of the things I’ve suggested and instead want to invest money in content creation then simply hire writers who are experienced in your target niche.
You can find them through job boards like Problogger and Upwork or you can handpick them from your competing blogs.
Are You Ready To Start An Authority Site Without Being An Expert?
No one’s stopping you really.
You just have to take action on the advice I’ve shared in this article.
I’ve personally done it a number of times and still earn a handsome amount of money every month from sites in niches that I knew nothing about.
Don’t let this fear of not being an expert stop you from making money online.
With a little effort, you can easily outrank and outperform other sites in most niches.
19 thoughts on “How To Start A Successful Blog When You’re Not A Niche Expert”
Couldn’t have agreed more Chris,
You’ve just said it all. You know, I was thinking of starting a site in the health niche some time ago but what stopped me was the fact that I no nothing about the area I wanted to focus on.
Even now, I still thinks about it. You mentioned that you have an interest on the education niche but knows nothing about it, what of when you’re neither interested in it nor knows anything about it?
I was reading one book yesterday and it said that if you knows nothing about any niche and want to pursue it, that you should pick up the top 3 best seller books on that niche and study it well that way, you’ll become familiar with it.
But apart from that, how else do you carry out your own research on a niche u don’t know?
Sorry for my long comment and thanks for sharing.
Great question and comments, Theo.
I remember hearing that 3 book rule. It’s a good idea, but I forgot who said it.
If you don’t know anything about your niche, and don’t even have an interest… the way to do your research is by working on the site.
One article at a time… As you write your articles, you’re researching the topic, looking up sources, etc.
As you do research on industry trends, what’s popular in your niche, what’s working for your competitor sites, you will slowly develop a strong knowledge of the topic.
It’s not all at once. You don’t read 3 book and create an authority site based on what you learned from the books. You learn as you go.
Hope that helps.
I think it was Tim Ferris that mentioned the 3 books stuff in his book “the 4 Hour Work Week”.
Yea, I do agree with you about researching and finding what’s working for other sites on the niche. I’ve been to open one of the sites you commended for carrying out research “similarweb.com” but it seems its down.
Have you tried using Long Tail Pro for KW research?
Still trying to pick up a niche/keyword to build a site on after going through the short report I got from you when I subscribed to your list.
Will reach out to you if I have any question(s) 🙂
Oh, thanks for the reference. Similar web should be up now, it’s working for me. Sounds good, best of luck!
I’m sorry to border you again :). Just want to ask you a little question:
I’m new with Google KW Planner, have been a fan of Long Tail pro but want to get familiar with KW Planner.
My question: When performing KW research with it.
1. Do you use the “Search for new keyword and ad group ideas” or any of the other choices below it?
2. After generating the keywords, do you focus on the “Ad group Ideas” or “Keyword Ideas” tab?
3. Is there any additional filter(s) you usually apply?
4. Don’t know if you have any good resource on how to use KW planner or maybe that should be your next post :).
Thanks for your time.
Hey Theo, no worries. I don’t use Long Tail Pro.
Hey, I’m thinking about starting a site optimized for advertising revenue like yours.
What approach would you personally take:
1. Particular topic (but broad), for example: soccer
2. Site covering various interesting topics (but targetting the same audience,) for example: science, new technologies & facts about world and environment etc
Which one would be better to monetize with AdSense and advertising in general? One particular market vs broader approach? Thanks in advance.
Hey Rob, for me I would go with #1 and choose one particular market. #2 is way too broad to pursue, especially if you’re a one-man team.
Been reading about how to build nIche sites since 2013. This article really explained the “not an expert” but still you can start building niches.ü thanks man
Cool, thanks for reading.
This is what I am doing in my main niche site, it is related to my kind of work though I am not an expert with it. Don’t even have the required certificate for it,. But as I go with writing articles for my site, I am learning new things or how to do the things I am currently doing better. At the same time, share it to the people who are also in my field. and base on their responses, I think they are liking it
That’s awesome! Thanks for sharing, Bhuboy 🙂
Thanks for this Chris,
I’m setting out to build an authority site. However, there’s already a site that pretty much covers the whole domain comprehensively. But it’s very old – dated in design and usability.
I’m pretty sure the content is extremely well optimized since I know of the guy and apparently SEO is his primary skill.
Any tips on how to surpass an existing authority? Improving on his content is going to be quite an undertaking, and I would like to employ as many best practices as possible to make the venture worth it.
Hey Rob, there are a lot of factors than just that he has good content and covers the niche extensively. If it’s the only competitor worth noting in your niche, then I think that’s a great sign in itself.
Just finish read up to this post. Thank you for a really good post. Just want to say that I agree with your philosophy on “It wasn’t because they knew “WHO” created the site. It was because of “WHAT” was on the site”.
Yes! Glad it helped Imer!
Hi Chris, great post! I am starting out a new niche site at this point and I am not an authority yet. How, then, would be a better way to introduce ourselves (in the “About” Page) to the people who will be reading our posts/articles? Thanks!
You don’t even need an about page yet. In cases like this, forget using your BIO to show your authority and instead publish great content and turn your site into a helpful resource.
This is a good one. Actually, I have a site that I am working on, but there is no progress until now. Appreciate if you can give me the advice or any comment to improve it.
On the other hand, you really inspired me to continue on a new niche site that I am planning to build, even though I have limited knowledge of the topic.
Another challenge is the keyword strategy for each article I need to produce. I would appreciate if you can give me advice about keyword search and please recommend the best but cheapest keyword search tools?