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A Guide to Writing About Unfamiliar Topics

A Guide to Writing About Unfamiliar Topics

Contrary to what might appear to be the case, much of the content you read on the Internet isn’t written by experts. Some of it is, certainly, but the majority of content is written by a freelance writer in her pajamas.

This doesn’t mean freelance writers are experts on every subject (or always compose in their jammies). On the contrary, the odds are they know very little about whatever the topic is, but they know how to pull it off, which usually works just as well.

If you want to be a freelance writer or blogger, you’ll need to get used to writing on topics you know nothing about. For example, you might be assigned to write about cyber security breaches and how the NIST 800-30 handbook addresses that. If you’ve never been exposed to the subject of cyber security before, you’ve probably never even heard of NIST 800-30.

The good news is, that doesn’t really matter. You can still write about this subject, and most readers won’t have any idea that the first time you heard of NIST 800-30 was just a few hours before you posted your finished article.

If you want to pull it off, you only need the right tips to point you in the right direction.

Participate in Online Training

If you’re going to be writing on a certain topic on an ongoing basis, it might be a good idea to enroll in an online training course or two. For example, if you’re often writing about the tech industry, taking a crash course in IT soft skills might be just what you need.

What’s more, participating in such trainings could lead to official certification in the subject, which will give your articles more credibility when you can cite this in your bio.

Search Social Media

It might sound unlikely, but Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest, and other relevant social networks can be a wealth of knowledge for your background research. Facebook can be especially useful here.


The network has recently revamped its search feature to make it easier to find articles by topic. Underneath that article, Facebook search will also list a series of related articles you can use for your general research.

Follow Subject-Matter Experts

You might not be an expert, but you can learn from someone who is. There are blogs written by experts on pretty much every industry topic.

When you’re faced with a topic with which you’re completely unfamiliar, find some of these blogs and do some essential background research. As a general caution, makes sure you cross-reference the information you find. The people who write these blogs may be experts, but they also have opinions, and their opinions might occasionally stray from the facts.

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Understand The Concept of Reliable Research

There are far too many blog posts written on the basis of very little research and misguided facts. If you want your blog to have credibility, search for reliable resources. Below are a few methods to ensure the information you use is reliable.

Instead of reading a statistic on a website and accepting it as fact, seek out the original source of the study.

  • Use Factbrowser, a search engine that facilitates the searching of data points broken down by industry.
  • Rely on credible, well-known publishers, universities, and government webpages.
  • Reach out directly to credible sources for topics. For example, if you’re writing an article on a startup, reach out to the company directly for quotes and press materials.
  • Fact-check all statement of fact before plugging them into your post.

Reliability in your blog posts is vital if you intend to develop content that’s relevant, high quality, and search engine friendly.

Writing about subjects you know nothing about will be difficult at first, but don’t get discouraged. The more you do it, the more you’ll pick up little tips and tricks that make the process easier and swifter.

Fairly soon, you’ll be an expert on a variety of topics and will effectively use that information to write more high-quality blog posts.

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