November 28, 2013

Do You Really Have to Write What You Know?

published this at 7:52 am

By Miranda Marquit

Pretty much every aspiring writer has heard this advice: “Write what you know.”

The logic behind this approach makes sense. A certain expertise and confidence accompanies knowledge, and the words come easier when you write on a familiar topic. But you don’t need to write what you know in order to build a successful blogging business.

It’s especially important to learn how to learn about various topics if you plan to provide content to other blogs. Today, I provide content to dozens of blogs and web sites each month. When I began as a freelance writer and professional blogger, I found that the topics I knew about weren’t in high demand. In order to land more clients, I began writing about things I didn’t know. That flexibility is one of the reasons I have so many clients today.

Approach Blogging Like Journalism

While many journalists eventually settle into specific beats, the reality is that many of those beats aren’t the result of chasing after what the writer “knows.” My journalism background provided me with tools I could apply to blogging, but you don’t need formal training to develop the following skills:

With the ability to research, experts to interview, and a willingness to learn, there is no reason to limit yourself, as a writer and a blogger, to what you know. In fact, getting outside your writing box is probably good for you (and your writing business) in the long run.

Expand Your Horizons

Even if you decide to focus mainly on writing what you already know, don’t limit yourself to those topics. Take the time on occasion to write about something you don’t know. It’s a good challenge that will force you to improve your writing skills. Plus, you’ll learn something new, and maybe interview someone interesting that you wouldn’t normally have met.

Too often, we think we can’t do something because it’s different from what we’re used to. Forcing myself to become knowledgeable about a topic I didn’t know turned me into a better writer, a more successful person, and helped me build a successful blogging business. Plus, I like learning new things, so it’s been fun, too.

Author’s Bio: Miranda Marquit is a freelance journalist and professional blogger. She writes about freelancing at and money at She is also the author of Confessions of a Professional Blogger: How I Make Money as an Online Writer. Follow Miranda on Twitter: @MMarquit.

Filed under Outside the Box, Successful Blog, Writing | 3 Comments »

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3 Comments to “Do You Really Have to Write What You Know?”

  1. November 28th, 2013 at 4:20 pm
    Chikira Bennett said

    I’ve just began blogging and I’ve been asked to write about a number of topics that I would not necessarily even consider looking into. This is really relevant to my current work and brings a good perspective and good advice into approaching my work.

  2. June 5th, 2014 at 7:04 am
    Five Tips to Better Market Yourself as a Freelance Writer said

    […] I occasionally write about other topics, my main niche — my specialty — is finance. You don’t even have to know a lot about a niche in order to write about it. While it can help to know about your niche before you write about it, the reality is that it […]

  3. October 21st, 2014 at 4:24 am
    The Blurring Line Between Journalism and Content Marketing said

    […] for others; I am the expert in some cases. I’m on both sides of the equation. I’ve learned to become an expert on writing about money, and I interview money experts all the time. But I’m also regularly interviewed as an expert […]

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