This is a guest post by Michael Martine. He is a blog consultant and WordPress theme designer and lives online at Better Blogging with Michael Martine.
If you want to be an expert in something, it takes dedication and a lot of work. If you want to be known as an expert in something, you also have to know how present yourself as one. Bloggers who are known experts write in way that enforces that image. There are 5 basic types of posts that experts write, and you can apply these to your own blogging.
Type 1: The Definition Post
The definition post is a long-standing method for presenting yourself as an expert. In this type of post, you define terms, a concept, a practice, often with examples and links. For example, if I were running a landscaping company and I had a blog, I could write a post that defines common landscaping approaches. If I was a search engine marketer, I could write a post defining some of the more esoteric search marketing terms. Sometimes these kinds of posts are almost like miniature glossaries. As such, they often get good search traffic and backlinks (links back to the post from other sites).
Here’s an example shamelessly pulled from my own blog. The post is called What is a blog? Yes, I have the gall to define what a blog is, even though it’s been done before by many others. This shows how well I understand blogs and blogging, and this helps to establish that I’m an expert. This is one of the most popular posts on my blog and gets great search traffic.
Type 2: The Resource Post
Experts have links to great resources that beginners don’t. One way an expert becomes viewed as even more of an expert is by sharing these resources with others and helping others become experts in their own right. The most powerful kind of this type of post is for resources created by the expert, rather than by someone else. For example, an expert home brewer who is also a bit of a geek (funny how those two things go together) might have created some home brewing software anyone can download or purchase. Here’s a great example of this kind of resource post from SEO Book.
The most common form of resource post contains one or more links to other online resources. The less well-known but powerful these resources are, the better for your reputation as an expert. You can also go for completeness: an exhaustive list of resources will attract visitors and links. For example, here’s Mashable’s 17 AdSense Plugins for WordPress.
Type 3: The Tutorial Post
Providing step-by-step instructions shows you are an authority on what you’re teaching. This is especially true if your tutorial covers something not many people know how to do. Small Potato, a WordPress theme designer wrote a post on how to do hover menus in WordPress themes. Not all tutorial posts have to be detailed step-by-step instructions. Often, you can provide more general instruction just as well, though this might depend on your audience.
There’s been a growing trend towards video tutorials. Compared to all the writing and screenshots needed for a written tutorial, a video tutorial can be a great teaching tool. Here’s a tutorial video on how to make sushi rice.
Type 4: The Story Post
Relating a story that showcases how you work and how people benefit from working with you is an important tool for experts. In You Get What You Pay For, Thomas of English Cut tells a story as a lesson that reinforces why bespoke tailoring costs more than ready-to-wear.
Type 5: The Opinion Post
Opinion posts are the kind of posts amateurs tend to write when they don’t have much knowledge or experience! But when an expert writes an opinion post, that opinion is based on knowledge and experience. An expert will refer to her knowledge and experience in her post as a way to give credit to her opinion. A great example of this type of post is at business guru Tom Peters‘ blog. Tom has an incredible wealth of experience helping business succeed and he uses that knowledge and experience to inform opinions on things that aren’t pure business, but which affect and are affected by business.
Write a new post in one (or all!) of the expert types and share the links to them via the comments. Be sure to tell us what type of expert post you chose.
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