Guest post from Adrianos M. Facchetti
The thought of becoming an “expert” in 6 months may seem impossible to you. But I did it and I’m going to show you how.
But first let me share my story with you a bit because I think it’s instructive.
It all started in March of 2008.
I was struggling to make ends meet as a solo attorney and I was desperately trying to find a way to finally break through and make a better living. I did just about everything you can think of to generate income from typical networking to ‘harassing’ attorneys in the courthouse to rustle up some work.
I was at a really low point in my life. There is nothing like knowing that you have a lot to offer others and at the same time consistently finding it difficult to pay the bills.
But things began to change for me when I encountered two very important people. Notice I said “encountered,” because to this day I haven’t met either of these people in person: Carolyn Elefant and Grant Griffiths.
I read every post on Carolyn’s blog, Myshingle.com. I also read every post on Grant’s blog, Home Office Warrior. Their blogs inspired me to study everything I could about blogging. And boy did I study! It became an absolute obsession.
And then I made an important decision. I was going to start my own blog. But what would I write about?
I got hired to handle an Internet Defamation case.
That happened less than 2 years ago and now people call me from all over the United States seeking my advice on Internet Defamation. I don’t say this to brag. I say this to motivate you to find your own wonderful obsession and to share it with others.
Now I know some of you might be thinking, “I thought you would show us how to become an expert in 6 months. You’ve been doing this for 2 years!”
Let me be clear. I believe I became an “expert” on the subject in less than 6 months because I studied it like crazy and few people knew anything about it. However, I certainly became an expert within 6 months because Google said I was.
And one thing is for sure: You are what Google says you are.
So here are a handful of things you can do to achieve “expert” status.
1. Choose The Right Niche
Choosing the right topic to focus on is perhaps the most important step. After all, you don’t want to waste your time on a topic that no one cares about. Conversely, it’s unwise to choose a niche that is way too broad.
I chose Internet Defamation for a number of reasons:
- I noticed that almost no one was writing about it. And even the blogs that did discuss Internet Defamation only did so on occasion (it wasn’t the main focus of the blog).
- Internet Defamation seemed to be a common problem that had potential for growth. I saw that more and more businesses were going online (duh) and that more and more people were venting their frustrations about people/businesses online.
- I knew I could master the subject in a short period of time because it was new. The internet as we know it is only about 15 or 16 years old. It’s not as if I was aiming to learn everything about securities law or real property law (which has been developed over a much longer period of time). This made it easy for me to become an “expert” in the subject.
- I liked the subject. You don’t need to like something to master it, but it’s a lot more fun that way.
2. Study Very Hard
I became obsessed with learning everything I could about online defamation. I read everything I could about it. I literally spent between 3 and 8 hours per day learning about it. I wish I could tell you there was a magic pill that would speed up the process. There isn’t any. You need to put in the time.
Find everything you can about your niche and absorb it. Find anyone you can who knows more than you do about your niche and get to know them. Learn what they know.
3. Start A Blog
This is obvious so I won’t spend a lot of time on it. Starting a blog on California Defamation forced me to learn about the subject. This forced me to become an expert on the subject. You should start a blog too if you haven’t already.
4. Make The Right Friends
There is a right way and a wrong way to make friends online. The wrong way is to strategically court influential people who you believe will benefit you in some way. Don’t do that. People see through it right away and it’s a huge turn-off.
Here’s the right way to do it. Look for people who know more about you on your desired subject and begin reading their blog or newsletter, or perhaps start following them on Twitter.
You’ll notice that you inherently “like” some people more than others. Those are the people you should attempt to get to know a bit better because those are the types of people you’d probably want to befriend offline.
You should then attempt to contact some of these people. It is important that you do not have an agenda. They will know whether you do or not in a nanosecond. You must only attempt to contact them if you sincerely want to get to know them better.
The relationship must develop organically.
I suggest sending them a tweet letting them know how much you enjoyed one of their blog posts (only if this is sincere). The question I often ask myself is, “if I had nothing to gain from this, would I still do it?”
Another good idea is to offer to write a guest post. But make sure it is better than what you usually write on your own blog. If the guest post is well-received, you will gain the respect of the blogger.
The great thing about approaching internet relationships this way is that it will draw you to people who are knowledgeable, likable, and interesting. And if the feeling is mutual it will eventually lead to opportunities down the road.
I certainly made the right friends and they have helped me in so many ways. They’ve helped me with technical problems. They’ve helped me stay focused and inspired. They’ve given me marketing advice. They’ve invited me to speak at public events. They’ve given me a kick in the pants when I needed it. They’ve promoted my work. Why did they do all this?
Because that’s what friends do.
5. Develop The Right Strategy
I started blogging almost exactly a year ago to the day. I had no concept of a blogging strategy until one of my friends shared a simple yet powerful concept to me (you know who you are).
You may know this already but it really revolutionized how I approached blogging. My friend explained to me that my blog needed to become the “hub” of my marketing efforts and that my posts needed to be delivered to as many other pages on the internet as a series of “spokes.” This is the “hub and spoke” strategy.
This is how it works.
Let’s say I write a really great post and I want to make sure a lot of people read it. The first thing I would do is to upload it to as many websites as possible. So, I would upload the post to several bookmarking sites like social median and digg. Then I would upload it to JDSupra. Then I would tweet about it.
I also made sure that my blog posts updated automatically to my LinkedIN profile and to my Facebook profile via RSS feed.
My goal was to get my content in as many different places as I possibly could, which I did.
Use this strategy. It works.
I can’t promise you’ll become an expert in 6 months. However, the good news is that you can become an “expert” in less time than ever before due to the opportunities created by social media and the internet.
Go out there and make it happen!