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Blogging Strategy – Be a Maven

Paul Chaney has a good post on ‘Mavens’ – a term used in Malcolm Gladwell’s book – Get the Latest Price on the The Tipping Point (an absolute must read):

‘The Maven is a person who knows everything about something. Ask them a question about that topic and they’ll give you more information that you care to know. They are, according to Gladwell, information brokers who have the knowledge and social skills to start epidemics.’

Paul points out a few Maven bloggers and how being one (or becoming one) is a great blogging strategy and an excellent way to build blogging traffic. He’s spot on the money with this observation.

The great thing is that because blogging is so global you don’t necessarily have to be a maven of some mega popular topic in order to be successful. Recently I’ve had contact with a number of bloggers that have come to dominate (in a nice way) the tiny niches that they write in and in doing so have become quite prominent.

A number of them are readers of this blog so I thought it might be interesting to open up the comments in this post for people to talk about either:

1. Blogging Mavens that we know of (ie people who are becoming or who have become experts in a niche through their blogging on it)

2. The Niches that we are trying to become mavens in – tell us about your journey to become an expert in your field. How are you doing it, how’s it going, what has worked and what hasn’t? What have been the benefits of this approach? Don’t be shy or modest – feel free to just share it like it is….

About Darren Rowse

Darren Rowse is the founder and editor of ProBlogger Blog Tips and Digital Photography School. Learn more about him here and connect with him on Twitter, Facebook, Google+ and LinkedIn.

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Comments

  1. Kurt says:

    I’m taking the exact opposite approach in a new, unreleased blog project, deliberately picking a subject (sim racing) that I knew next to nothing about so that I could go through the learning process and document it thoroughly, hopefully to the benefit of other people looking to learn something.

    I think that would only work for some fields, though; people looking for specific answers might not find them, but they’ll get a ton of utility out of reading about someone else learning from scratch. Maybe I’m just learning to become a future maven?

  2. Cicely says:

    I’m doing something similar to Kurt…my new blog is a personal research project. I’ve got a second in the planning stages that will be both a research project and a completely new (to everyone, not just me) hobby.

    It’s too early to judge success, but it’s an enjoyable process.

  3. Kim says:

    I’ve had a wild ride with my blog/online zine about crochet. I had no goal to become an expert when I started out, but just by virtue of my presence online and the growing popularity of my site I’m now beginning to be approached by the press for quotes about crochet. Interestingly, I don’t think I’m viewed as a technical crochet expert, but rather as an expert on the state of the craft. I’m asked about why it’s popular, who’s doing it, why they’re doing it, where the craft is headed, etc.

    What works for me is being as friendly and helpful as possible. I answer whatever questions I can, and share tips, news, etc. And I also refer questions to other people, especially when questions deal with crochet techniques. In this way I also act as a Connector (how handy that The Tipping Point was sitting next to me), which is a role I generally don’t play and had never played before. The more people I know, the more it seems I’m approached for information.

    My tips: Be open with your knowledge but also own up to your own limitations. Of course, it never hurts to admit you don’t know an answer but would be happy to learn more about it…

  4. James says:

    An interesting side effect of being a Maven is that they love their topic, which makes it easier to generate material.

    The flip-side of this is that blogging about what you love can turn you into a Maven, too. Win-win.

  5. Eric says:

    I’m giving it a whirl in the topics of personal development, Intuition and Life Force Energy manipulation.

    For, 25+ years (since I was 10) I’ve studied everything I could find on the subject of spiritual growth and personal development (informally, no degrees or such things).

    In about 1996-98 or so I started incorporating Nature related exercises in awareness and animal tracking that I was learning at Wilderness Awareness School. Those really gave my intuition and other abilities a big boost.

    The Tracker School and Quantum-Touch, also added tremendously to my skills, contacts and background knowledge.

    Sometime in the last 2 or 3 years (post 2002) it all came together. I clearly saw, for myself, anyway, what the core states of mind/body/spirit were that make all those things like Manifesting, or Spiritual Healing, really work.

    I also have friends who’ve used this stuff, one in combat in Iraq (he’s home now teaching it in his school) and others in areas I’m not at liberty to talk about for a few more months. So, I know this is a topic that can be useful to my readers in a very real way.

    All in all, I’m learning a lot by making myself come up with 2-3 informative, new posts everyday.

    Trying to figure out what people want to read about has been a challenge. Taking some direct marketing copywriting courses have been helpful. Creating headlines and constructing copy that draws people all the way to the end helps. Not that I’m good at it. But I try.

    When I do figure out a topic that resonates, I try to weave the spiritual principles in with the topical subject. Sometimes it works. Sometimes it doesn’t.

    At some point I want this to become a viable business as well. So, some of what I’m learning will translate into creating products like courses delivered by ebook or cd/dvd. We’ll see how it goes.

    My subscriber list grows bit by bit and my readership does as well. Next, I want to find ways to inspire people to refer their friends. Cool, relevant, javascript apps, free intro courses…. I just put a post up about doing a remote viewing project to find Bin Laden. Who knows? Experiment, experiment.

    And, of course, I read problogger.net every day. (via RSS)

  6. My aplawrence.com site is often #1 or #2 in Google searches on certain subjects, and gets about a half million page views a month – not exactly a monster, but it’s more than a kitten, anyway.

    I built the site exactly the opposite of being an expert – I struggle to understand stuff, and I write up what I had trouble with in the hopes that other people might have the same confusions and problems.

  7. Thom Singer says:

    “The Business Development / Networking Blog” was created because I deeply believe that if people want to succeed in any career, they cannot do it alone. We all need other people, but all business is competitive these days….so knowing how to cultivate relationships is extremely important.

    I have worked in sales and marketing for a number of service oriented firms (including over three years in law firms), and I have seen that people do business with people they know and like. Price does not matter, neither does experience. If the client likes you best, you win.

    I speak on this subject, and have just written a book about it. I don’t know if I qualify as a maven….as I only have about 50 regular readers of my blog (but that number is slowly growing). But those who read it, and come back,….seem to like what I have to say.

    I am hoping that time will help me figure out how to get a larger audience for what I am writing.

  8. Athomemama says:

    I have several sites, but my favorite, my passion, is my gamingandtech.com site. While it doesn’t bring in the traffic that sleepyblogger.com or duzins.com does, and it isn’t as profitable with adsense as my balanceindiet.com, it is the one I stay up all night researching and writing. I may only write once or twice a day on the others, but I will usually put 10-12 small posts, daily, on gamingandtech.

    When I first started it, I was an internet lover and gaming lover, but not really an expert on either topic. Since I started the blog in May of this year, I have learned SO much and took my page to a 2 google ranking (which of course I lost when I took it off of blogger and began hosting it myself ) in well under 2 months.

  9. Lindsay says:

    While I have several blogs in different niches, the one that’s easiest for me to write on is my one on ergonomics and RSI; this is because I’ve personally had (and continue to have) trouble with repetitive stress injuries so that gives me an insight into the products on the market and the advice that is given. It’s an insight I’d rather not have since it’s affects me physically, but hey, if life gives you lemons and what not…

  10. Devin Reams says:

    …being a business student I’d like to establish myself as an expert ‘student’ or ‘peer’ by offering advice for many while still keeping up with the ‘real world’ with news and commentary. Perhaps when younger generations look to RSS for news/entertainment some value will be found in BusinessBits.

  11. Liz says:

    I am following the advice I read that was to find a niche that you could feel passionate about. I started a shopping blog focused on environmentally friendly products. Who knows if it will ever make any money…but I am learning like crazy…about RSS, SEO, Affiliate Marketing and also learning about the advantages of hemp, bamboo, and some amazing things made out of recycled materials. Environmentally friendly products and materials is an area I always wanted to know more about and I would like to choose to spend my money more consciously to maybe help the planet or at least not to hurt it. I’m a web developer in my day job so this has been a lot of fun so far.

  12. Fritz says:

    Is this what people in the SEO world call “niche marketing”?

  13. Since starting a blog on Windows Vista (windowsvistaweblog.com) I’ve become rather geeky over the topic. You know you’re a Maven when you’re swallowing technical white papers like they were chocolate icecream.

  14. Sonja says:

    hmm being a maven on books/finding books and/or Star Wars could be interesting..

    great post :)

  15. John says:

    A few weeks ago I started my blog. It has been a fantastic learning curve. I actually write about soccer goalkeeping and the science related to becoming a better goalkeeper. I am a qualified personal trainer, and have played competitively in Australia and Europe. I try to incorporate many of these experiences with scientific principles that will help any goalkeeper enhance their performance over time.

    I love writing. This helps alot too. While I have been getting about 100 page clicks per day, I feel it is an accomplishement in itself, becuase if you know something in a specific niche and can update it with compelling information daily then you can really succeed in helping your target market. Another good thing is that I am a tertiary qualified marketer, and the blogosphere itself and the dynamics of it, are absolutely fascinating. To be part of it’s growth and develop these essential skills, even if my site is not a huge success, can, and will help in other avenues in life.