By Miranda Marquit
Pretty much every aspiring writer has heard this advice: ÂWrite what you know.Â
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 donÂt need to write what you know in order to build a successful blogging business.
ItÂs 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 werenÂt in high demand. In order to land more clients, I began writing about things I didnÂt 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 arenÂt the result of chasing after what the writer Âknows.Â My journalism background provided me with tools I could apply to blogging, but you donÂt need formal training to develop the following skills:
- Research: ItÂs possible to find information about almost any topic, thanks to the Internet. If you want to learn to write about something you donÂt know, start with a little research. Just make sure that you understand how to separate the wheat from the chaff.
- Identify reputable sources for your information. When I first started writing about finances, I knew nothing about money management — beyond the fact that I had more debt than I was comfortable with. Research into the world of finances has not only allowed me to write about money, but it has increased my own financial savvy. Now finances fall into the category of Âwhat I knowÂ and I even have my own ideas about money management.
- Interviews: So, you arenÂt an expert on a subject that youÂre writing about. Find someone who is! Find an expert to interview, and write a blog post based around his or her viewpoint. One of the easiest ways to find knowledgeable experts is to turn to Help a Reporter Out (HARO). You can offer a query, and youÂll likely get plenty of eligible responses.
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, donÂt limit yourself to those topics. Take the time on occasion to write about something you donÂt know. ItÂs a good challenge that will force you to improve your writing skills. Plus, youÂll learn something new, and maybe interview someone interesting that you wouldnÂt normally have met.
Too often, we think we canÂt do something because itÂs different from what weÂre used to. Forcing myself to become knowledgeable about a topic I didnÂt 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 itÂs been fun, too.