Beginner writers have 2 choices: 1. Curate other experts 2. Say something ultra-specific Why only 2? Credibility. If you’ve never published anything, readers are not going to trust you giving “general advice.” So here’s what to do instead 🧵
By curating other experts, you aren’t claiming to be “credible” at all. You’re borrowing credibility (and that’s exactly what you should do). And by saying something ultra-specific, you’re escaping competition such that you’re the *only* credible source. Here’s an example:
Let’s say you want to talk about productivity advice. Most beginner writers would start with a series of blog posts about common, general productivity tips: • The Pomodoro Technique • How To Time Block Effectively • The Eisenhower Matrix But this is commodity advice.
To give “commodity advice” you need to be an ultra-credible and trusted source. The first thing a reader is going to do when they come across your page: “Why should I trust or care what this person has to say?” And in the beginning, they have *zero* reason to trust you.
So here’s what to do instead. First, curate the productivity routines and frameworks of the world’s most productive people. Look at the subtle difference in these two posts: “How To Use The Eisenhower Matrix.” “How These 10 Billionaires Use The Eisenhower Matrix.”
If you have zero followers and this was your only post, no one would read the first one. But a lot of people would read the second one. And if you do a good job with the curation, you build a few credibility points for distilling something better than anyone else.
That’s how to build credibility through curation – now let’s look at building credibility through specificity. Here are another two posts: “How To Use The Eisenhower Matrix.” “How Middle-Market SaaS Product Managers Can Use The Eisenhower Matrix To Streamline Their Day.”
See how specific that second headline is? Every person *on earth* can read it and know whether that article is for them or not. And that’s the point – you want to be so specific that the reader can make a clear choice. Here’s why:
With the first headline, you’re trying to write for everybody. And writing for everybody = writing for nobody. But with the second headline, you’re writing to one *specific* person (middle-market Saas PMs) to unlock a *specific* benefit (streamlining their day).
*Hint – you *are* a middle-market SaaS PM that has used the Eisenhower Matrix to streamline your day – that’s why you’re credible* And so for the 0.1% of people out there that are just like you, this will resonate heavily with them. And boom – now you’re building credibility.
With these two techniques, you’re building a barbell of credibility. You’re attracting: • A general audience of people interested in productivity advice (who go to you as a trusted curation source) • A niche audience of SaaS PMs (who trust you because you’re just like them)
Now over time, you can start to branch out from here. Since you’re curating other experts, you’re learning quickly. So you can remix their frameworks to Name and Claim some of your own. And with your niche audience, you can branch out into other topics they are interested in.
And just to drive this point home – this is the *exact* path I have taken over the last ~15 months. I knew nothing about writing, copywriting, storytelling – any of it when I started. So what did I do? I followed this exact playbook.
I curated all of the best writing advice – books, podcasts, famous authors, all of it. And I distilled what I was learning through a hyperspecific lens – people who wanted to start writing but didn’t know where to start (i.e. people who were *just like me*)
And now, I’ve built an audience who sees me as a somewhat-credible source. This means I can branch out, start to explore creating my own frameworks, all of that fun stuff. And you’ll see me start to execute this next part of the playbook over the coming months.
And if this thread resonated with you and you want more frameworks like this: follow me → @dickiebush I’m writing threads and Atomic Essays 4x per week throughout the rest of 2021. Turn on notifications so you don’t miss them!
How To Build Credibility (As a Beginner Writer): • Curate other experts • Say something ultra-specific With the first method, you’re borrowing credibility. With the second method, you’re escaping competition entirely (so you’re the only possible credible source).