blogging expert infographic

Blogging Experts: Are You One?

blogging expert infographicBlogging is big. As I have been exploring blogging demographics, particularly the influx of the silver surfers into the blogosphere and social networks I viewed the infographic (click the image to enlarge) with great interest.  What surprised me most was that 54% of bloggers surveyed describe themselves as an “expert”.  What do we make of this?

Defining a blogging expert

Blogging Style: Confessional, Snarky, Journalistic, Expert, Humorous, or  Sincere?

An expert is a person with special knowledge or ability who performs skillfully.

An expert is someone widely recognized as a reliable source of or skill whose faculty for judging or deciding rightly, justly, or wisely is accorded authority and status by their peers or the public in a specific well-distinguished domain. … en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Expert

Who are blogging experts and which blogs are the top blogs?

The Technorati Top 100 as ranked by Technorati Authority is updated once per day and can be viewed here.

Become a blogging expert

One of the best ways to build a home-based enterprise is to become an expert in your field. The word “expert” is a keyword for branding and optimization purposes. Bloggers are advised to  focus on building a brand by establishing themselves as experts with authority in the niche they are entering.

Seth Godin is the author of books that have been bestsellers around the world. The title of one of his  free ebooks is called Everyone is an expert (about something) and in it he introduces readers to the creation of a Squidoo Lens.

Tim Ferris in his book Four Hour Workweek says you only need to know more than the average population on a topic to become an expert. His methods of gaining expert attention include:

  1. Joining 2 or 3 related trade organization;
  2. Reading 3 top selling books on your topic;
  3. Presenting 1 free one-to-three-hour seminar at the closest well-known university & using posters to advertise;
  4. ( Optional)  Offering to write one or two articles for trade magazines related to your topics, citing what you have accomplished in steps 1 and 3 for credibility.

In my earlier post is a video of Tim Ferris’s  speech from WordCamp San Francisco 2009 titled: How to Build a High-Traffic Blog Without Killing Yourself.

There are probably as many ways to becoming one as there are experts out there. Some of these ways keep being mentioned and to me they are the top three. The three activities you have to be doing to become an expert are: listening, communicating and creating. — Personal Branding: How to Be the Expert in Your Field

Further reading:

How do you describe your blogging style?

38 thoughts on “Blogging Experts: Are You One?

  1. Hi TT! Another insightful blog from you! Thank you for writing about this very “intriguing” topic. I have the highest regards for people who have already done a lot for others and, yet, remain grounded. Those are the people that I can truly regard as “experts.” Like you! You have been sharing a lot about writing and blogging and that makes you truly special – an expert from both the heart and mind.

    As for all of us – let us also not forget that we should also be careful about easily judging/castigating other writers /bloggers who might have said something similar to what we already wrote or said – for all we know, our ideas are not too original anymore or have also been thought about or written by others already. Simply put, there are experiences and thoughts which are really universal, and therefore, we cannot always be sure that what we are saying/writing is entirely ours or original, right? It is easier to judge and harder to make amends.

    As writers/bloggers, we have to respect others work (e.g., give credits where credit is due) but let us also not become too obsessed that our ideas/writings are being ‘stolen’ or plagiarized. After all, we are just the media/instruments of the more Supreme Being above who gifted us with the talent of writing or communicating well. I remember a colleague’s words to me when I told her that I have adopted some of her words but that I was not allowed by the client to give the credits to her (as the credits should already go to the name of the client/institution). She said something like this, “It’s ok, the credits go to someone up there anyway.” And that, to me, is a very beautiful reminder. Again and again, I remind myself that I am nothing. I am just a media, an instrument.

    So if someone copies/plagiarizes my words/works, so be it. At the end of the day, he is just answerable to himself and to the Greatest Author, right? :)

    Thanks again for this very insightful post. I look forward to hearing more from you!!!

    All the best!

    Mei

  2. Hi timethief,

    It was great to find your blog in the network. We are starting a blog on coaching and we feel like stone-age people fallen in the XXI Century.

    What I need is an expert in Blogging who can help us developing our business through the internet.

    One of our main aims is to become experts in coaching here in Spain, also using the blog as a powerful tool.

    But when I go to some available expert (read web page makers) it costs a lot and I am not sure they are not selling me at high price what in the network is already available for free. The issue is that there are so many things to know about blogs that I really don’t know where to start from.

    Since I am participating to some blogs, I had the idea to make available on my blog also the comments made in LinkedIn, Facebook, etc. But than I read that if I duplicate information it makes my blog “worse” at the google eyes.

    Now I got the idea that I need to deepen my knowledge on blogs, but it seems to be another MBA or degree studies.

    Thus, what to do?

    Thank you in advance for your help.

    Marco

    1. @Marco
      I’m so sorry but I have no experts I can refer you too. I learned everything I know from the ground up and I don’t know of any shortcuts that can be employed other than hiring someone knowledgeable to do the work for you. You will be able to locate web designers, web developers and SEO experts in Spain by searching online and by asking others at linkedin who they recommend. With regard to duplicate content and Google, please see here > http://www.google.com/support/webmasters/bin/answer.py?hl=en&answer=66359
      Best wishes to you.

  3. Thanks timethief ( unique nick you got there :) ). I was referring to a general attitude and not particularly one person .

    Can any one tell me what are the following? and how one can get these ?

    “backlinks” ” PageRank”

    I am asking loads of things since am a largely blank about blogging , so pls dont mind.

  4. Hi

    Expert or no expert why are people so secretive about teaching new comers a thing or 2 about blogging?
    I have noticed the a general attitude is not to let anyone know how to improve on blogging as if it will cause a loss in their share of any gain that could be derived from blogging?

    I could be wrong, but that’s my experience and experience is what makes you an expert. Can anyone of be any help here? and what is a blogging style anyway and why does it matter?

    1. Expert or no expert why are people so secretive about teaching new comers a thing or 2 about blogging?

      1. I’m most certainly not secretive. This blog contains what I have learned as a blogger  I pass that knowledge on free of charge.

      I could be wrong, but that’s my experience and experience is what makes you an expert.

      2. I have never claimed to be an expert. I do believe that those who have achieved authority in their niche which is indicated by the number of backlinks their posts receive, the number of comments and the resulting PageRank their blog achieves are acknowledged as having expertise or “authority” within their niche.
      3. Blogging is competitive and as a reader recently said: “You are only as good as your last post.”

  5. Thought provoking and useful as always, thank you Timethief. So many good comments too, you do draw a great audience, it’s a big part of why I keep coming back. Couldn’t agree more with awindram about the utter lack of sentence structure killing all pretensions to expertise. One person/site offering essential! expert! success-guaranteed! tips to bloggers even wrote a phonetically-spelled word with the parenthetic comment “can’t be bothered to use a dictionary.” Oh well… points for candour I suppose. Also liked Dave Bonta’s comments and quote. But what I really want to know – in Raincoaster’s fabulous first comment – what qualified it for the spam box? The reference to Perez Hilton? Still giggling madly over that one… her comment reminded me of a singularly useless but highly paid and high ranking person at a bank for which I used to work, who was described to me as “having made a career of managing his career.” My own blog style is journalistic, humorous and sincere, I hope. Only on behalf of the commercial (port wine) blog for which I write would I claim expertise – and not for myself, but for the firm and my content sources, because I am acting as amanuensis and journalist for true experts in their field of wine making.

    1. Hi Cynthia,
      I hope you have been keeping well. I too appreciate the comments I receive. My readers are THE BEST. I don’t know why rain’s comment ened up in Akismet’s belly but I braved the depths, drug it out and approved it. :)

  6. My style? I don’t have a style! :)
    When I started two years ago I blogged about my expat life in Egypt.
    In July I moved from Blogger to self-hosted WP.
    And now I don’t know where I am or which way to go on.

    I’ve learned a lot but I could never ever say that I’m any kind of expert. I just love too many things in this life – one of my problems – it’s difficult when you can’t classify yourself.

    In Blogger blogging life was fun and easy. But it wasn’t enough for me. I wanted to learn more, get better platform – I love WP! :)
    I’ve noticed that many Blogger bloggers are not ready to change.
    I asked people to change their comment settings to Name/URL option (the link is correct straight away).
    I’ve asked people to change to Disqus for better interaction etc.
    Now I’ve given up.
    If people are not willing to come out of their boxes, don’t miss my comments, interaction is not important etc. I can’t change them.
    Now I try to find my voice again and new audience.

    I’ve been trying to find my place but it’s not easy just because I’m not a leader and don’t want just to follow and support gurus because it’s a ‘must’. I support others when there’s a reason.

    About copy-paste dilemma. One of my pictures was misused by a pro online news company. After several blog posts and emails they apologized and removed it.

    My blogging style…inelegant, free, lost, curious…. :)

    My first but not last visit here… :)

    1. Welcome aboard and I do hope you will return. Thanks so much for sharing your experience with the transition from Blogger to WordPress. There is a learning curve incolved but as you have discovered the software is so much more flexible and provides far more opportunities to customize it to suit.

      I do follow leading bloggers in my blogging niches. I respect them for sharing their knowledge and their experience. What I object to is newbies who suddenly claim to be experts when only days before they were posting to support forums and I was providing answers to their questions. I’m sorry to say it but there are frauds out there so before you register to take any program from any self-dubbed expert be sure to check them and their history online out very carefully.

      Best wishes with your blogging. :)

    1. @Jean
      Your comments always have substance. They are thoughtful and often provative so they make me think. As for the spelling eroors and typos … MEH … don’t sweat the small stuff. ;)

    2. @Jean
      Your comments always have substance. They are proactive so they make me think. As for the spelling errors and typos … MEH … don’t sweat the small stuff. ;)

  7. This is an interesting topic! I find it quite over the top the way everyone has suddenly become a blogging and social media expert. I’ve found a few people who are knowledgeable about blogging and follow them and don’t waste my time following every link about blogging.

    I like the way you describe yourself as “experienced.” My style is a mix of sincere, journalistic, and experienced!

    1. @Sandra Lee
      Aha! so you have also noticed the abundance of blogging and social media experts popping up overnight like mushrooms forming fairy circles on lawns.

      I found raincoaster’s comment to be an interesting one. She does know whereof she speaks and without doubt she can teach. But since when did attending one 4 hour long instructional session lead to anyone other than an arrogant student hanging out a shingle as an expert?

      raincoaster said:

      I mean, my god, these people ARE experts at one thing: convincing people they know what they’re doing.”

      I agree with her 100%. It seems two things are motivating these selfannoited and self-appointed experts. The first is using expert as a keyword for SEO and branding puposes. The second is money ie. sign up for my course. Buyers beware!

      P.S. RATS! I now want to claim the 3 you claimed as my style, but my understanding was those who were surveyed could only choose one. ;)

  8. Interesting post, but I’m still fascinated by the question of why so many people would describe themselves as experts. I am quite annoyed by the cult of the expert, and think we need far fewer experts and far more amateurs — interpreting “amateur” etymologically, as someone who loves what she does. I’m also reminded of Shunryu Suzuki’s great saying: “In the beginner’s mind there are many possibilities; in the expert’s mind there are few.” I aspire in my blogging and in my writing to be that kind of beginner. Every morning it’s as if I’m starting again from scratch. You’re only as good as next post.

    1. Hi Dave,
      Thanks for commenting. I’m also fascinated by the answer to the same question. I think it may be just a case of “follow the leader” and use “expert” as a keyword for branding purposes. Thanks so much for sharing that Shunryu Suzuki quote.
      Happy blogging! :)

  9. It’s important that timethief, for you to raise this topic just to get bloggers to think over time occasionally what we are doing. Thank you.

    I don’t think I will ever on my resume or in conversation, claim to be expert blogger.

    What I do consider for myself is the blog technology is merely a technology tool for content creation and simple (I stress simple) content management because I have developed content repositories using far more complex and powerful software tools for several hundred people internally as client base, for several employers. Entreprise-wide electronic document management systems makes blog technology and even SQL databases, look simple. It is not surprising at this stage of software development, WordPress cannot offer robust collaborative content management features and versioning. Perhaps later.

    I see my blogging style for the articles that I write for several blogs, hopefully in a semi-formal tone with an effort to inform and interest readers. This is why I have no interest in using frequent use of idiomatic or colloquial language and use of profanity. This is why the photographs are selected carefully to be relevant and respectful of the subject matter or whomever is photographed.

    As for the subject matter: in the area of cycling infrastructure planning, many people know more. I tend to comment as a user of facilities and services, as an observer and participant of cycling culture and as a practitioner of cycling often and weaving into my lifestyle for past many years.

    What I have not really revealed much in my expertise is my paid career work experience and formal education as a librarian, library manager and document/records manager which folks in my profession, it is genuinely and most certainly about managing information in an expert, customer-oriented manner.

    Good blogging is a blend of excellent writing, marketing (of one’s knowledge/opinion or of an organization) and simple information management.

    The only clue of my work background, might occasional questions I ask of WordPress support /forums on certain features which might reflect a certain expectation on my part because of what I worked with in other information management products and content products in the past. (Yes, I still want more advanced search options with a big/bloated blog. Google commands are too long-winded to be practical for any searcher.)

    But my blogs are pretty simple because the audience is broad, literacy levels are varied and their time is short.

    Expert blogging also requires a genuine interest in user behaviour/searching in your own blogs and how you can help readers find certain things or provide more information based on a trend of search queries. The user experience and responding to readers is important for future content development, blog design and timely response to readers.

    1. @Jean
      Thanks so much for yet another outstanding comment. I want to take the time to thank you also for your patience and your continuation of support for this blog throughout the summer months. During that timeframe I was overburderned with work and with company and unable to reply to every comment I approved. I truly appreciate each and every contribution you have made to this blog.

  10. I’d describe my blog as humorous, but occasionally guilty of navel-gazing. On the whole, I think I’ve managed to develop and maintain a consistent brand equity for it.

    As for a lot of the self-appointed expert bloggers I come across, I often find their writing skills to be execrable. I don’t see how I can learn anything from their “expertise” if they can’t master basic sentence structure.

    1. I don’t see how I can learn anything from their “expertise” if they can’t master basic sentence structure.

      That’s an excellent point. I’m so glad you made it. Thanks for commenting.

  11. TiTi

    How do I describe my blogging style? I think it’s much too early in my blogging to say I even have a style. I think I relate it to being a musician. When you’re starting out, or just coming up you tend to watch a lot of other musicians to see what they’re doing. You take a little from each of their styles and incorporate it in developing your own style. We used to say imitation is the highest form of flattery at least among musicians. I try to read other bloggers and look for something that is consistent in and pervades their blogging and incorporate it in my own. Experts? I think once someone labels themselves an expert it may put a ceiling on their drive, or desire to reach for more knowledge and improve themselves.

    Like rain mentioned about the woman who took her course then advertised teaching a blogging for business course. How could she even be qualified to ever teach such a course! Maybe she thought she gained some expertise in a four hour workshop. Why that’s ‘mission impossible’ seems to me. I think the real experts would never promote themselves as such. I think most bloggers of authority also learn some sense of humility along their way to expertise.

    I’ll never be an expert. Will I get better at blogging over the course of several years? I have hopes in that direction, but expertise? I don’t think so. Blogging is so new to me there’s so much to learn. Thanks for this article and the great links. Wishing you continued success in blogging and all of your endeavors.

    1. Hi Jaco,
      It’s good to hear from you and I thank you for your comment.

      If you had been a participant in the survey referred to in this post the blogging style choices you could have made were limited to: Confessional, Snarky, Journalistic, Expert, Humorous, or Sincere.

      Given those choices, I would peg both your style and mine as “Journalistic” as it’s the best fit in that grouping.

      I agree that those who actually know what they are doing are not inclined to drape themselves in “expert” labels. As I mention above “expert” is a keyword used for branding purposes. Here I will add and some using folks using “expert” in their branding are frauds so buyers beware.

  12. Perez Hilton is the most popular blogger in the world, and would you call him an expert? He wouldn’t even call himself a blogging expert.

    There are SO many self-appointed “Social Media Gurus” in this world whose only qualification is egotism and a Twitter account. Seriously, I had a woman in my Blogging for Beginners class once and six weeks later I saw her ad: she was now teaching blogging for business. Yeah, I’m a pretty good teacher, but I can’t turn someone into an expert in one four hour class.

    It’s sad. Civilians have no real way of knowing who’s good and who’s not. I recently got an invitation to some guru’s presentation, at $40 a ticket, and the invitation was in seven different fonts including (yes) Comic Sans, the HTML was broken, “Check Out My Website” went to her Twitter profile, which was linked to her personal Facebook profile.

    I mean, my god, these people ARE experts at one thing: convincing people they know what they’re doing. But I don’t know if it’s better or worse if they actually KNOW they don’t know anything. Is self-aware conupmanship better than unintentional?

    1. @raincoaster

      There are SO many self-appointed “Social Media Gurus” in this world whose only qualification is egotism and a Twitter account.

      Like you I have been noticing the so-called blogging and social networking experts popping up here, there and everywhere. Worse still I have been discovering those who don’t know how to use wordpress software having the audacity to get help from us on the support forum, and then use our answers in posts they create in a manner that implies they knew what the hell they were doing in the first place, when they didn’t.

      I am sick and tired of having newbies suck me dry and then publish posts that imply they have extensive knowledge and include my words in them as if they were their own.  Some have actually “borrowed from” (copyright violation) and/or plagiarized my blog posts (copyright violation) when publishing for their groupies (paying clients and students – poor sots) thinking I wouldn’t go after them for doing so – HA! Think again.

      Like you I have nothing but scorn for the newly arrived blogging and social networking frauds, who are operating under this “expert” label and sucking newbies into paying for their so-called expertise and services, and profiting from it.

      Am I angry? You freaking bet I am.

      1. Wow. Some people do have a lot of gall, don’t they? I post on WordPress- or CSS-related subjects only rarely and with the greatest trepidation, after making sure that no one else has already said what I want to say somewhere else — and then make it clear I’m not an expert, and would appreciate feedback in the comments. Last time I did this (in a post on formatting poetry) it worked really well, and I think I learned almost as much from the comments as readers new to the subject learned from my post. And the post should have enough Google juice to come in at or near the top of appropriate searches until such time as another blogger writes something better, at which point I hope it will be displaced.

    1. Hi Lisa,
      I like that description. It’s right on and it’s so good to hear from you. Thankfully the summer is over and company gone. It’s time to shift into fall blogging, whatever that may be. In my case it means trying to catch up on commenting.

  13. My blogging style? I’d like to think that after 3+ years and 500+ posts I have become a trusted advisor about books to my handful of followers. (I very intentionally NEVER use the word expert to describe myself, nor in promoting my sites; I doubt that I am the only one suspects that 99% of those self-described experts you’ve mentioned are full of spit and talking through their hats.) I think that I have gained some real credibility through my participation in #socialmedia sites and gained some audience that is broader than those who read my blog regularly. But I am quite certain that I will continue to avoid the word “expert” like the plague, although I poke fun at “copy/paste Experts” whose modus blogviendi is precisely as I describe.

    1. I’ve never presented myself as an expert. I simply state the truth. I’m an experienced user of wordpress software. I blog about becoming a better blogger, building a better blog, and effective blog promotion.

      I did find value in the articles though. I found some useful information when it came to branding, listening to reader feedback, communicating and creating a better blog.

      I’m always looking for way to enhance the value of the content in my blog and that includes being privileged to receive and publish posts by guest authors. This blog has had guest authors who have added quality content to it.

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