Reporter vs Expert – Why Most Bloggers Are Stuck Reporting

There are basically two types of bloggers in the world – reporters and experts – and some people perform both roles (usually the experts, it’s hard for reporters to become experts, but it’s easy for experts to report).

If you have ever taken an Internet marketing course or attended a seminar specifically for beginners, you have probably heard about the two different methodologies. Whenever the business model is based on content, and if you blog for money then the model is based on content, people are taught to either start as reporters, or if possible step up as experts.

I’ll be frank; you want to be the expert.

Reporters leverage the content of the experts and in most cases people start off as reporters because they haven’t established expertise. Experts enjoy the perks of preeminence, higher conversion rates because of perceived value, it’s easier to get publicity, people are more likely to seek you out rather than you having to seek others out, joint ventures come easier, etc… experts in most cases simply make more money and attract more attention.

Most Bloggers Are Reporters

The thing with expertise is that it requires something – experience. No person becomes an expert without doing things and learning. Bloggers usually start out without expertise and as a result begin their blogging journey by talking about everything going on in their niche (reporting) and by interviewing and talking about other experts (reporting again).

There’s nothing wrong with reporting of course and for many people it’s a necessity at first until you build up some expertise. Unfortunately the ratios are pretty skewed when it comes to reporters and experts – there are a lot more reporters than there are experts, hence reporters tend to struggle to gain attention and when they do, they often just enhance the reputation of the expert they are reporting on.

Don’t Replicate Your Teacher

If you have ever spent some time browsing products in the learn Internet marketing niche you will notice a pattern. Many people first study Internet marketing from a “guru” (for lack of a better term). The guru teaches how he or she is able to make money online, and very often the view that the student gleams is that in order to make money online you have to teach others how to make money online.

The end result of this process is a huge army of amateurs attempting to replicate what their teacher does in the same industry – the Internet marketing industry – not realizing that without expert status based on a proven record and all the perks that come with it, it’s next to impossible to succeed.

Even people, who enjoy marginal success, say for example growing an email list of 1,000 people, then go out and launch a product about how to grow an email list of 1,000 people. Now I have no problems with that, I think it’s fine to teach beginners and leverage whatever achievements you have, the problem is that people gravitate to the same niche – Internet marketing – and rarely have any key points of differentiation.

How many products out there do you know of that all claim to teach the same things – email marketing, SEO, pay per click, affiliate marketing, and all the sub-niches that fall under the category of Internet marketing. It’s a saturated market, yet when you see your teachers and other gurus making money teaching others how to make money (and let’s face it – making money as a subject is one of the most compelling) – your natural inclination is to follow in their footsteps.

If the key is to become an expert and you haven’t spent the last 5-10 years making money online, I suggest you look for another niche to establish expertise in.

Report on Your Process, Not Others

The secret to progress from reporter to expert is not to focus on other experts and instead report on your own journey. When you are learning how to do something and implementing things day by day, or studying other people’s work, you need to take your process and what you do as a result of what you learn, and use it as content for your blog.

It’s okay to talk about experts when you learn something from them, but always relate it to what you are doing. If you learn a technique from an expert it’s fine to state you learned it from them (and affiliate link to their product too!) but you should then take that technique, apply it to what you are doing and then report back YOUR results, not there’s. Frame things using your opinion – your stories – and don’t regurgitate what the expert said. The key is differentiation and personality, not replication.

Expertise comes from doing things most people don’t do and then talking about it. If you do this often enough you wake up one day as an expert, possibly without even realizing how it happened, simply because you were so good at reporting what you did.

You Are Already An Expert

Most people fail to become experts (or perceived as experts) because they don’t leverage what they already know. Every person who lives a life learns things as they go, takes action every day and knows something about something. The reason why they never become an expert is because they choose not to (which is fine for some, not everyone wants to be an expert), but if your goal is to blog your way to expertise and leave the world of reporting behind you have to start teaching and doing so by leveraging real experience.

Experience can come from what you do today and what you have done previously; you just need to take enough steps to demonstrate what you already know and what you are presently learning along your journey. I know so many people in my life, who are experts simply by virtue of the life they have lived, yet they are so insecure about what they know, they never commit their knowledge to words for fear of…well fear.

Blogs and the Web in general, are amazing resources when you leverage them as a communication tool to spread your expertise because of the sheer scope of people they can reach. If all you ever do is talk to people in person and share your experience using limited communication mediums, you haven’t much hope of becoming an expert. Take what you know and show other people through blogging, and you might be surprised how people change their perception of you in time.

Reporting Is A Stepping Stone

If your previous experience and expertise is from an area you want to leave behind or you are starting from “scratch”, then reporting is the path you must walk, at least for the short term.

Reporting is a lot of fun. Interviewing experts, talking about what other people are doing and just being part of a community is not a bad way to blog. In many cases people make a career of reporting (journalism is about just that), but if you truly want success and exponential results, at some point you will have to stand up and proclaim yourself as someone unusually good at something and then proceed to demonstrate it over and over again.

Have patience and focus on what you do to learn and then translate that experience into lessons for others, and remember, it’s okay to be a big fish in a small pond, that’s all most experts really are.

Find out more about the Blog Mastermind Program.

This article was guest blogged by Yaro Starak of Blog Mastermind, a mentoring program designed to teach bloggers how to earn a full time income blogging part time.


55 thoughts on “Reporter vs Expert – Why Most Bloggers Are Stuck Reporting”

  1. Spot on!

    Do not be a “me too” or “I agree” blogger. Many already do that and they are all lost in the world wide web.

    Have your own voice, do your own thing, write something unique, differentiate yourself from the rest of your competitors.

    Great article, much better than the “top 10” tips you had few days ago!

    Marko
    http://www.howtomakemyblog.com

    1. It’s true, and very difficult to be one of these types of bloggers that is a true expert and not an I agree kinda person

      I have a few niches on my blog that I seem to be the expert on, although I still include some “i agree” posts that give my own opinion on a topic

      1. A reporter blogger would start his transition to an expert blogger naturally, within a year, in case he’s actually doing something except posting to his blog.

        Cheers,
        Alex

        1. The key i would say is to do the same thing as the rest, but do it better, larger and with more passion and Voila……!!

    2. Agreed. Standing out from the rest gets you far.

  2. All I can say is wow…That is some very insightful information. Thanks.

  3. I think people respect a difference of opinion even if they don’t agree with it. The “I agree” bloggers tend to be boring by just agreeing with what has already been said.

    You can’t agree with EVERYTHING….voice it!!

    Another great guest post by Yaro!

  4. Mike B says:

    Great article! I did a similar post about this the other day. The only way to stand out amongst others on the web is by adding the personal touch to your content.

    1. It’s very true – too many people forget about what blogging is all about, and are simply in search of the all mighty dollar!! Gotta remember where your roots are at and never forget where you came from!!

    2. Well, a personal touch isn’t the only way!

  5. J.D. Meier says:

    It’s another great reminder to write what you know.

  6. There’s a lot of good points in this article, but people tend to judge too quickly as to whether or not you’re an expert in a given subject. Anything that looks like proof of knowledge can be made up or falsified, so really, at the end of the day you just have to do what makes you happy and go from there.

    Many of us have pieces of paper that state knowledge in the form of Master’s, Bachelor’s, industry certificates, various business statements, financial proof, etc., but from my experience none of that really means anything.

    Instead of even trying to convince anyone of your assumed status, just keep doing what you do best and know that you’re true to the one person that counts, yourself.

  7. Wow, I feel like this post is directed towards me. If you go to http://realtalkrobert.com you’ll see that I’m sort of a reporter guiding people along the way as I find new tactics and tips and such on the internet and I post my view of it. There’s another blog sort of like mine also called http://deanholland.com

  8. Barock says:

    it’s never though by me, unconscious i had been a reporter since a start blogging, this article had remind me. thanks for Yaro.

    http://mubarock.com

  9. Good article. I noticed Yaro has been doing some guest posts here lately. Maybe looking for more traffic? 🙂

  10. Mike says:

    Nice post. When I did the blog on the Beijing Olympics, I realized the general media in many ways is not too different from the blogsphere. Only one person, can break a story, but every other news organization will offer their own version of the same story.

    Bloggers have limited resources compared with professional writers, so sometimes they have no choice but to report on things already that have already been reported on. This is what creates the “blogosphere”. But obviously if you want to have a large following you need have your own voice.

    If people like what you say, they will be interested in what you write, even though it may have been widely covered.

  11. A truly inspirational post, I was on the edge of my seat the whole time!

  12. Hi John,

    I really like this post – it’s something I’ve been struggling with for a while as have friends that I know that have taken the leap into blogging.
    I am just getting my new site going & would like to share this post on my blog.
    I would like to reproduce it in full rather than just linking to it.

    How do I go about doing that?

    Thankyou

    Helena 🙂

    1. John Chow says:

      We do not allow the re-posting of our articles. You are free to link to it and take one or two paragraphs excerpts but do not repost the entire article.

  13. Melissa says:

    You’re so right Yaro. I’m so sick of seeing the same things on internet marketing. My blog is also in a very competitive market–REAL jobs you can do from home. However, I’ve already made money from home in a lot of the jobs I talk about so I bring my experience to my articles.

  14. H. says:

    That’s a great tip, and a very easy one to verify. If you go around the web, you’ll find tons and tons of duplicates of the same news all over the place, with various levels of reporting ability, from the simple spam-blog to the educated reporter adding his own touch and digging up some more to confirm or oppose to the original topic.

    But you see only a few real experts, coming up with content, ideas, and quality.

  15. Eric Hamm says:

    There’s no doubt that many bloggers try to replicate what their ‘teacher’ does and then preach it as their own. I always find it funny how most of those in question wouldn’t make any money if they couldn’t sell their idea of ‘how to make money’. It all seems pretty backward to me.

    The goal should be to be successful without the aid of your target audience. Be able to that you REALLY CAN make money with your ‘proven tactics’ and then people will see your genuine expertise and you WILL grow exponentially. Do this any other way and though some may ‘buy’ what your selling, most will not and you will just blend into the blogging scenery.

    Excellent topic! I love talking ‘blogging for money’ from a REAL perspective. I get sick of hype. Eric

  16. Seen as how I’m already in a category that isn’t Internet Marketing (Fitness), I guess I’m already a leg up on becoming an expert. Plus, I’ve sort of created my own niche with the whole animal / nature thing. Interesting perspective from Yaro, as always.

    – Dave

    1. I agree, it’s hard not to find something from someone as established as Yaro interesting.

  17. trida says:

    i must learn from you, its hard and take a lot of time to be like you, and experience is the most thing i want to get, cause im newbie blogger. but the important thing you must have a great idea to become professiona blogger

  18. Reyn Aria says:

    Excellent point. Just replicating other articles without adding more values are no different than spinning articles. Many people usually lazy to test new ideas because they think, “what’s the point of testing if those experts have already done that?” However, they are missing the important part by not ‘re-doing’ those technique. Experience is still the best teacher.

  19. Chad says:

    You hit it right on the dot john. Keep up the good work! Join pimpmyrelationship.net

    1. The post was written by Yaro….

  20. My website is showing day by day step by step on the tactic I use and my review on it. It’s then left to the reader to decide whether the tactic is good for his/her blog. I think that this method goes in the category of a reporter but has a slight leg up.

    http://realtalkrobert.com

  21. Good article, very informative 🙂

  22. It’s very true – too many people forget about what blogging is all about, and are simply in search of the all mighty dollar!!

  23. I agree about reporting your progress, I try to educated on topics I know while trying to integrate my own success as I grow/reach a goal. It seems to be working on the organic level which is building sustained growth/readership. Aiming for the $$ right away is going to screw up everything – its like aiming to play for the NHL without knowing how to skate or take a slapshot.

  24. Have patience and focus on what you do to learn and then translate that experience into lessons for others, and remember, it’s okay to be a big fish in a small pond, that’s all most experts really are. The essence of this entire post is in this last sentence.

    Good post.

  25. deejayefem says:

    this is the real story about blogging…thanks for sharing.

  26. SEO Tips says:

    Excellent article really had a strong relevant point which relates to myself and my blogging. I always try to include my own experiences in every article I write and sometimes my experiences are reasons why I shall write a certain article or series of articles. Having experience and writing about it not only makes you an expert of your field it automatically makes your content unique.

  27. Great advice Yaro, the definition between expert and reporters are as thin, experts can compelled it anything with intuition and lot’s of experience in their life observing and make things practical.great article

  28. Linda says:

    Yep, certainly makes sense.

  29. David Risley says:

    Yeah, I had a reader the other day ask me if he should just talk about making money online so as to get blog traffic. Easy conclusion to jump to. 🙂

    Great article, Yaro.

  30. shun2u says:

    Great article, indeed. Thanks for sharing. 😉

  31. joe gelb says:

    ha, thanks for making me feel bad lol! good points though. i deffinitely take this all to heart

  32. What if your just trying to make people laugh?

  33. Harry Tran says:

    Its nice to become an expert in something that we take pride in but having the will to admit sometimes you’re not there yet is a strength, as many people fail to see themselves as reporters but think they are experts from the get-go without establishing any credibility at all with their audience.

  34. I agree, some do just like to report and there is nothing wrong with that. Being a reporter can still be fulfilling and can take you far. If you choose to be an expert never think know it all for there is always more to learn then teach.

  35. Benjamin says:

    If you do choose to compete in the same topic or sub-topic or niche, it is critical to at the very least separate yourself from the competition with a competitive advantage. Otherwise, just as Yaro pointed out, you will be seen as an amateur following a guru. But if you can separate yourself enough from that guru and others, you may have a chance to gain some market share and build a profitable business.

    1. I agree you have to find your own place and voice. Plus we as readers like to get a different perspective.

  36. Robinoz says:

    I’m an expert in human resources and adult education, so I’ve chosen a blog about jobs and employment for my niche market.

    Occasionally I report because it’s a good way to get backlinks and SEO notice, but most of my posts are original. For example, in tomorrow’s post (Australian time) I ask when and if some firm will advertise for staff who are non-smokers.

    Smokers take more sick leave and waste production time smoking. I’m hoping to generate a bit of discussion about the pros and cons.

    Robinoz
    http://www.e1jobs-blog.com

  37. 100wordrants says:

    I consider myself as a knowledgeable person on an array of topics, but by no means am I an expert on anything really. That is why I decided to just have a blog in which I can talk about anything I want. I could talk about Obama one day and cereal the next. Finding a topic I was an expert in or would even classify myself as close to an expert was nearly impossible.

  38. I agree, especially about not replicating your teacher. Instead, add your own style and come up with something different and interesting. Thanks for sharing this, John.

  39. I definitely fall under reporter. I run an online mag & interview people.

  40. Dennis Quek says:

    I definitely agree with this article.

    I am both an expert and a reporter, and thats why i’ve spawn 5-6 sites, some from my own expertise, some from reporting style, and some are bought over domains.

    And sometimes being expert are by popularity… ppl rate you as one, you don’t have go deep. The world is just so amazing.

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