Riding the Line Between Online Expert and Esoteric Elitist



People visit car review sites, because they might be interested in purchasing a new vehicle and they seek the expert opinion of automotive journalists to help guide their decision. People read investment blogs, because they might want to learn how they can better get their money to work for them in hopes of earning better returns on their investments. This all only makes sense.

And indeed, people come around to the blogs of Internet marketers like John Chow, Neil Patel and Zac Johnson, because they want to learn how they too can get rich and live the dot com lifestyle by making money online. If any of these sites — related to automotive, investment, or Internet marketing, among a near infinite number of other subject areas — were run by amateurs and novices who don’t really know anything about the respective industries, they would be far less likely to get any level of meaningful traffic.



Readers are in search of the guidance, advice and insight that experienced experts can provide. They want to learn from individuals who know more than they do, just as they would were they to pursue a more traditional education through some sort of school or training program.

But herein lies a very important distinction between the online world of advice and information-seeking and the offline world of the traditional classroom. While complex terminology and jargon quickly become the norm when you’re going to college or university, they can be incredibly off-putting to the first-time reader of an “expert” blog.

It’s not that industry and niche-specific language should be avoided altogether. It’s that expert bloggers need to be cognizant of the divide between their level of knowledge and the level of the knowledge of their target audience. Using language and lingo that is obscure and known only to the few can have the exact opposite effect that you desire.

You want to be viewed as the trusted and knowledgeable expert. If you use too much jargon and lingo, you could end up sounding like an unapproachable and inhuman elitist who feels he is “better” than his audience. Even if you actually think that you are superior in one way or another — the fact of the matter is that you are “better” if you want to be perceived as an “expert” — you should avoid having a public persona of being too much of an elitist.






This all boils down to one very simple but often overlooked fact: people don’t want to feel dumb. They might be seeking your advice, insight and guidance, but they don’t want to feel like you’re looking down on them. They also don’t want to encounter a blog post where they’re forced to Google the definition of every third word. That’s a frustrating and infuriating experience and it’s one that they’ll ultimately avoid.

Use more accessible, everyday language wherever possible if you want to invite the largest and most mainstream audience possible. Of course, if the subject matter of your blog is incredibly niche and esoteric to begin with, maybe it’s not so bad to use the most accurate terminology possible. Otherwise, you might appear as too much of a layperson.

By Michael Kwan

http://www.johnchow.com/riding-the-line-between-online-expert-and-esoteric-elitist/ 

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