You don’t have to be an expert to write a good book or produce an interesting audio CD. Lots of content is produced by people who find experts with specialized knowledge about a subject. Within the magic business there are several companies that produce teaching videos. What the producers do is bring in recognized magicians to a studio and have them give a lecture to an audience. They record the lecture and produce a video based on it. The lecturer is either paid a flat fee and given a number of videos to sell, or they get a cut of the total sales. What I like about that model is that it can be applied to lots of other niches. I’ve seen entire adult education courses that were basically filmed lectures of college professors. Whenever you see people market packaged workshops or seminars they’re often recordings of presentations given to live audiences.

Producers of niche exercise videos frequently work this way. They’ll bring in a top fitness instructor and record their work out with attractive models. The producers of these videos are in a great position because they know their audience will want to buy whatever fad video comes out next. They can also cross-market them with diet and nutrition products.

Who to look for

Look for people that are already communicating information about your niche. They could be anywhere from college classrooms to casino tables. Many of these experts may not have recognized the fact that they have content that can be used in this way. Sometimes it takes a little work to get to work right in a different medium, but if the information is there, it’s well worth it.

If you’re going for video or audio, ideally you want someone who is capable of presenting their information in that medium. There are some fascinating people who just don’t work well in a recorded format.

Your expert may not be somebody who professionally presents their information. They might be a professional engaged in your niche who just knows a whole lot about it. In that case, you’ll need to help them structure their presentation. The easiest way to do that is to give them a series of questions that outline what you want to communicate.

Cooking shows are famous for making eccentric people stars. There’s a reason for this; without them the shows would be very boring. Watching someone pour a bunch of ingredients into a pan is not the most exciting way to spend your time. Watching and listening to an interesting person makes it entertaining.

Just as important as someone’s knowledge is their passion. I know some really brilliant people are very boring to listen to. Some of them can’t understand why their less-informed peers get on television while they don’t. You want to make sure your expert looks like they enjoy what they’re doing.

An expert isn’t necessarily someone that teaches something. They can be a person with an interesting story that relates to your niche. Some people are just natural storytellers. If you can find one that knows a lot about your subject, you can shape their stories into something that works for your purposes.

When the movie O Brother, Where Art Thou? came out it made blue grass and “mountain music” popular. Besides the obvious interest it brought to recordings of this style of music, it also brought attention to the personalities involved with it. Documentaries on blue grass music suddenly became popular.

In the late 1980’s and 90’s skate videos became very popular. These videos featured professional skaters showing off in various places. Shooting a skater video was a pretty straightforward affair; get a bunch of show-off pro skate boarders and a nimble cameraman. There wasn’t much structure to them. There didn’t need to be. Director Spike Jonze got his start by shooting skater videos. The MTV show Jackass was a collaboration of Jonze and other people involved in producing skate videos. In retrospect, Jackass was a natural evolution. The best parts of skater videos were the stupid stunts and spills the protagonists would pull.

Fans love behind the scenes content. Skater videos were their most interesting when they showed what the stars did when they goofed around. Many bands have found that selling “concert films” can be very lucrative. It’s another example of getting people to pay for the same content again. Besides concert films, some bands have released videos containing their music videos and behind the scenes footage of them on the road, recording studio or between shows. This is a clever way to sell the band’s music along with their personalities. Die-hard fans appreciate the chance to learn more about the people behind the music.

Where to look for experts

If you have a specific niche in mind, you might already have an idea where to find your experts. If not, here are some ideas on where to find potential experts:

Authors

Often authors give talks on their books for different groups. An author on an interesting niche subject might be willing to let you turn one of those talks into a CD or video for a percentage of the profits. For them it’s another way to make money off a topic they know a lot about. A great place to find authors is to look and see who is going to be making a presentation at nearby bookstores and campuses.

College campuses

Colleges are filled with experts who give presentations on a regular basis. Very often they have highly specialized information that has value beyond the classroom. A history professor might have interesting information on 18th century pastries. An anthropology professor might be able to give an insightful presentation on the eating habits of indigenous cultures. A business teacher might be able to give some useful advice for people within your niche. You can pick any topic and there’s probably an interesting and useful perspective that can be found somewhere at a university.

Magazines

If you’re in a niche that has its own magazines, take a look at who is doing a lot of the talking. There are lots of ways you could collaborate with one of them to create content. For example, if you’re into scuba diving and you like the articles a specific author writes on reef fish, she might be able to give a great talk about all of the fish that appear in your diving video. These people are generally very open to working on projects like yours.

Clubs

How many different special interest clubs are there in your town? Probably many more than you may realize. Many clubs bring in speakers who work a circuit. Often you’ll find experts within a club. The more active you are with a club, the more aware you’ll be of who is in the know.

At their desk

Sometimes finding an expert is as simple as looking for someone who is professionally engaged in that activity. Your expert on specialty drinks might be mixing them behind a bar. Your expert on home repair might be in the middle of restoring some old house. If you’re looking to create content based upon a niche where professionals are involved, look to them for possible content.

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