4 Ways to Grow Your Blog with the
Power of Experts

image of sprout in cement

Do you want to attract more readers?

Do you want to grab the attention of the big players in your industry and leverage their star power?

Silly questions, right?

In this article I’ll share how you can grow a loyal and sustained fan base by working with the top experts in your niche.

They’re out there, and it’s not nearly as hard as you think to get them on your team.

Why do I need an expert?

Everyone wants entertaining, useful content. That’s what content marketing is all about.

But they also want access to great people. When you present a new idea or a new voice to your audience, your blog becomes a valuable source people will want to visit again and again. Bringing in expert voices rounds out your site and adds dimension.

Getting outside experts involved also validates your own expertise. When you can attract the best, people will see you as an expert in your own right.

Finally, there’s an often-overlooked benefit of working with experts. If you work well together, some may turn out to be strategic partners who can take your business places you never dreamed.

Experts can include:

  • Authors, particularly those who have new books out
  • People who frequently speak on relevant topics
  • Bloggers who are creating exceptional content
  • Practitioners working inside companies

A quick example

When I started Social Media Examiner back in October of 2009, I knew next to nothing about social media.

But I knew that if I could attract social media experts and share their knowledge, I could quickly grow a large following.

We opened our virtual doors with live video broadcasts. I interviewed top social media experts including Mari Smith, Chris Garrett, Denise Wakeman, and Jason Falls.

Many of these experts tweeted their involvement to their followers. Within just a few weeks, Technorati ranked us as one of the top small-business blogs in the world.

I saw the value of outside experts as a great source of content. The experts saw the value of being involved with something exciting.

Want to know more about how to attract experts to your blog? Keep reading …

How experts can help you create valuable content

Here are four ways to work with experts for content:

1. The trade show interview

A great way to get content from experts is via an on-location interview. And there’s no better place than a trade show. You’ll find lots of experts around your particular topic, and they’re often in the right frame of mind for a quick interview.

In this video I’m interviewing Scott Monty of Ford Motor Company at a major trade show.

Click here to see how I supplemented the video with interesting text teasers from the interview to create a popular blog post.

Quick tip: Be sure to arrange the interview prior to the event so the expert is prepared.

2. The book interview

One of the best times to hit up experts is when they have a new book coming out.

The author is typically in promotional mode and seeking exposure for his or her book. And the book typically contains new ideas that your audience might be interested in.

When Seth Godin’s latest book was being published, I reached out to him and asked if there was any way I could help. I ended up interviewing him about Poke the Box and how he is transforming the book industry.

My audience found it fascinating, and Seth got what he wanted — to spread the word about the ideas in his book.

Quick tip: Record the interview and have it transcribed. This makes it easy to turn the interview into an article.

3. The guest post

If you have access to an audience that experts want to be in front of, consider inviting them to write a guest post for your blog.

We use lots of expert guest-written content on Social Media Examiner, and of course, so do many of your favorite blogs.

For example, here on Copyblogger, Brian Clark approached copywriter Roberta Rosenberg to write a series of landing page makeovers, which quickly became a valued resource on the site. While readers may not have known Roberta’s name before she wrote the series, her expert advice and guidance clearly shone through in the series.

Quick tip: Experts are busy, and writing a post (or a series of posts) is a big commitment. Be sure you can make a solid case why they should consider writing for your site. And if your audience is still small, “exposure” is not usually a solid case.

If you can’t make that case yet and your expert is a blogger, ask if you can write a guest post for their site. You’ll have to put some work in, but the benefits can be substantial.

4. The TV show

If you’ve got a charismatic expert who’s willing to enter a true partnership, consider inviting an expert to host an online TV show.

We asked Mari Smith (who happened to be local for us) to be the host of our Social Media Examiner TV series. She regularly provided hot tips on her area of expertise, Facebook marketing.

Here is an example of one of our episodes. As you can see, we combined Mari’s great stage presence with our own production values to create a high-quality viewing experience.

Quick tip: Again, this is a big commitment, so do everything you can to make the experience fun and easy for your expert. Come up with a regular show plan, and do as much of the legwork as possible.

Learn more about working with experts to grow your business

If this idea intrigues you, get a free sample chapter of my new book Launch: How to Quickly Propel Your Business Beyond the Competition. In the book I share how to find experts, how to develop relationships with them, and how to create content.

So, how about you? Have you worked with experts? Share your tips and experiences in the comments …

About the Author: Michael Stelzner is the author of the new book Launch and founder of Social Media Examiner.


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Comments

  1. This is some great advice! At the end of the day it’s about the cosign of other experts. Whether is be in the form of them working with you or verbally endorsing you. That type of cosign is the best kind of endorsement a new blogger could ask for. These are great ways to secure them.

    Thanks!

  2. There are some great tips Michael. Having videos on your blog just brings a more human and close connection with the writer. It’s a nice change from the sometimes strenuous read of a long article

    I like how Social Media Examiner does that.

  3. Great post, really!

    I just got some awesome ideas for my blog by reading your article! Thank you so much! I guess I never thought of it that way… Except guest post (me writing them, not the other way around), I wasn’t familiar with the other way to use experts!

  4. Plenty of experts are willing to talk/be interviewed because it also helps their brand! Your blog becomes a platform for them to promote themselves. It’s a win-win. They get the exposure and you get the great content.

  5. I had been wondering how to get others contribute valuable content to my blog. I love the idea of interviewing experts when they come out with a book. Great tips. I will bookmark and revisit this post. thank you.

  6. These are awesome ideas on how to quickly get expert authority to your site. I particularly like that you started with ideas on getting video interviews and other types of interviews rather than simply having the expert do a blog post. I think that kind of media is compelling and you make a great point of saving the expert time and effort by going to them instead of making them come to you.

  7. These are sure good ways to grow ones blog. Thanks Michael!

  8. This article does a good job showing how to get an authority to appear on your site and an equally good job showing how to promote that. Getting them is just the first half of the battle.

  9. I think this is a terrific and timely article considering the number of conventions that take place over the summer. However, be careful because there are a lot of ‘gurus’ out there that are little more than folks who have the cliff notes version of whatever they profess to be ‘experts’ in.

    Some in the podcasting circle dub these as Social Media …well You don’t really want to know the rest. suffice it to say, it is becoming a real serious issue for the smaller conventions. So buyer beware and all that.

    Allison Duncan
    The Nerd Connection

  10. In your opinion, what are some things to avoid when trying to reach out to an “expert?” I’ve seen a lot of interesting ways to go about it, but is there anything you’ve seen in your experience that made you want to avoid all contact with the person or blog in question?

  11. As always, great ideas Mike. Thanks for sharing.

  12. Hey. Loved this article. I’ve seen quite a few blogs that were pretty obviously thrown together by someone who didn’t know what they were talking about, and it’s painful to read. Almost equally as bad is a blogger who lacks personality – it’s called “SOCIAL” media for a reason, right? Anyway, thanks for the great posts. Keep it up!!

  13. Great post, Mike! I’ve interviewed a ton of writers, agents and producers for my writing site over the years, but hadn’t thought of taking advantage of trade shows for this. Excellent idea! One that I’ll definitely explore.

    Jennifer

  14. This is Great information. I have been recently re-evaluating my processes and seeing what changes I can make to gain more attention, offer better service, and be among the gallery of successful infopreneurs. I downloaded your free chapter and it is full of valuable nuggets. “If your marketing strategy centers on helping people with their smaller problems, many will seek your help to solve their bigger issues.” If the nature of your work is helping others, then this marketing strategy should seem like – no work at all… Great advice Michael!

  15. Hi Michael, this is some valuable tips! How do you convince an expert to contribute content to a blog when your blog is brand new or it doesn’t have much traffic or authority? Thanks for the advice!

  16. Hi Michael. I had a big time expert on today for a live webinar, and it sold out within hours.

    I had to schedule a 2nd session for later this afternoon which my expert graciously agreed to do.

    All of my other webinars have not had nearly the attendance as today. No question that a big name will draw in the attendees.

    The feedback has already been really good. It was fun and I felt as if I was bringing something to my subscribers that they certainly couldn’t do on their own.

    I wish I’d read this fantastic article BEFORE my webinars today.

    Thanks for all of the great tips and ideas.

    Brent

  17. Nice post Michael – what leverage did you use to get guest experts on board when you first started in ’09?

  18. Great post, Michael!

    It seems that the effect of using experts also varies somewhat based on your blog’s voice. For instance, if you are framing your blog as a learning blog (“I am learning X and I’m blogging my learning experience”), you can approach them as a student. If you are presenting yourself as an expert, you can approach them as peers. Either way is beneficial, and provides a great insight and learning experience for your audience.

    Thanks for the ideas!

  19. Thanks for the great tips. I’m in the beginning blogger stage and have found your site (and the podcasts) very helpful. I’m far away from the possibility of trade shows at the moment. But which ones would you say are the can’t miss trade shows?

    Thanks for the info.

  20. Great post. You indirectly busted the myth that we need to be an expert before starting a blog on that topic.

    Appreciate your honesty. But I think if you had made it socialmediaexpert instead of socialmediaexaminer, you wouldn’t have gained the credibility.

    It’s great for inviting experts on your blog. but now-a-days the experts wouldn’t want to be featured on a small blog. So we must build an audience worthy of the interviewers time first before we can expect them to accept our request

    • Adarsh – Your theory sounds plausible but it’s not. We had big experts immediately and we are only about 19 months old. You need to figure out what the experts want first.

      • 19 months is a really long time.

        Anyway, do you think that you’d give an interview or spend time with a blogger who has just around 5 subscribers and less than 10 visits a day?

        NO!!!

        The point is, your blog must have some authority. Even if you figure out what the experts want, are they going to listen to someone who cant really being them any benefits?

  21. Since I always do as I’m told ===

    I’ll be interviewing Mike over at the ParmFarm in the next few weeks — and it’s an interview that is also a fundraiser for Mike’s non-profit of choice — Opportunity International. All you need to do is ‘Give-a-Listen’!

    So — keep an eye out! I expect Mike will be the fabulous teacher he always is and you just never know what tidbits he’ll share!!

    The ParmFarm loves SocialMediaExaminer!!

    Amy Parmenter
    The ParmFarm

  22. Hi Michael,

    I’m certainly a big fan of yours, and this post pretty much explains why.

    The “expert” issue is a tricky one. On the one hand, having that extra oomph can be extremely useful, as you point out. However, if your business is a bit niche, or if you have a precision targeted business objective, building traffic through exposure via an expert won’t do much for you. Rather than be discouraged, people just need to understand that an expert may have a lot of great people in his or her community, but it just might not be YOUR people.

    However, if you are aiming to create a blog community *as* your business, this blog post is, pardon the pun, right on the money.

  23. Completely agree. I’ve interviewed Chris Brogan, Michael, Hyatt, Seth Godin, and Steven Pressfield on my blog, and because of their expertise, it’s set me apart as an “expert.”

    This is easier than it sounds, but a lot of people don’t do this. My #1 secret to connecting with experts is this: I ask them. I was surprised by how many people said “yes.”

  24. Michael, great post.

    I think a lot of people forget that for any blog to stand even the remotest chance of being a hit, you have to create some hype and bring together people within your industry/niche that are going to classify you as an influential source of news, opinion, content, whatever it is you’re setting out to achieve via your blog.

    Too many people think that mediocre content or filler is going to gain them influence among their peers. Outreach is really one of the best ways to gain interest from your peers and in the early days you have to be prepared to do all of this completely free.

    Trade shows are great because of course you have a huge gathering of your peers in which to build content from. If video coverage is not an option, take a recorder and do a five minute interview with photos to boot. You can publish it later.

  25. I love the idea of the trade show interview! I go to a lot of them and meet some great vendors. I learn so much from conversation with them. Imagine whipping out a video camera on them!

  26. Speaking of experts – thanks for letting me interview you as an expert on my blog Mike! Meet Mike Stelzner – http://kellyschuknecht.com/2011/06/06/interview-with-social-media-marketing-expert-michael-stelzner-of-social-media-examiner/

  27. Archan Mehta :

    Michael,

    Thank You.

    I like the fact that you contributed a guest post here. I enjoyed reading it too.

    I have been a fan of your blog for the longest time. It is one of the best ones around–topical and timely, always.

    I have not started a blog yet, but I look forward to guest posting on the blogs owned by the experts, that is, if they are willing to have me on board. Only time will tell as I try to pitch my story ideas.

    However, I have read guest posts from quite a number of people on this blog and other blogs. I have seldom been disappointed. People who write guest posts, in my experience, usually do a great job.

    Guest posts can enhance your visibility and you also gain credibility. Ditto for the blog owner. And readers and subscribers also stand to benefit from expert knowledge and skills. It is a win win situation for one and all, Cheers.

  28. Thanks for some good ideas. I especially like the idea (based on Jeff Goins comment above) of interviewing subject matter experts. I think this is a powerful idea, particular in technology centric, B2B industries where there are independent, compelling, subject matter experts.

  29. OK. Makes sense. But if you’re a beginner and have no real readers for your blog, how do you convince the experts to do guest posts or to allow you to interview them?

  30. Okay, so it sounds like if I’m a new blogger, my time is better spend growing my audience organically and starting to make connections. Some of these connections may include writing for the experts. Then eventually, as my audience grows, I can go out and ask the experts to write for my blog.

    Although getting commentary at trade shows and book signings may even work if I’m not yet an expert. Right?

  31. This is an excellent article, thank you for writing it!

    I definitely knew about guest posting and author interviews, but I had never really thought of #1 and #4.

    Building a successful blog takes time, a lot of great content and good SEO. If you can get a couple of experts on board, success is yours!