Meet a Blogger Archetype: The Tremendously Talented Teacher

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As bloggers, we spray a lot of advice about “valuable content.” But what does valuable content really look like? Is there only one way to do it? Are we all climbing the same ladder, viciously clambering over each other? 

No, there isn’t. Too often, we bloggers get trapped in thinking that longer content = better content, that technical trivia = better content, or that Lotties/gifs/pins/infographics = better content.

It becomes a zero-sum game, a battle of strength of information. When someone else shows up with a knife, we bring a gun. (My 3,200 words crushes your 1,800 words.) And if someone else brings a gun, we come barreling in on a Panzer. (5,000 words, here we come!)

We limit ourselves as content creators if we only use word count and encyclopedic data as our metrics for good content. There are many ways to create best-in-class content (as I hit on in my riff on 10X content).

Today, I want to hit on one in particular: The Tremendously Talented Teacher. 

Meet Miss Excel!

Ever heard of Kat Norton? She’s the brains behind Miss Excel, a brand that sells online courses to learn Microsoft Excel and Google sheets, along with other Office software.

Guys, Excel ain’t exactly new. The fundamentals of the spreadsheet program haven’t changed in decades. Microsoft launched it in 1985, back when The Power of Love by Jennifer Rush was the top song in the country. Never heard of it? Exactly. 

But Norton figured out how to make Excel, traditionally the domain of the nerds, access to everyday people. She blitzed Instagram and Tiktok with funny, accessible Excel tips and tricks. And her personal brand blew up. Today, she makes more money than every single one of my ancestors, combined. 

Yes, Norton knows her stuff. But her knowledge isn’t exclusive. There are hundreds of $10 Excel courses online. There are tens of thousands of free YouTube videos. Microsoft literally publishes their own manual for free.

But Norton can get you and me to sign up for a $297 Excel course. That costs more than the software itself!

That’s because Norton is a Tremendously Talented Teacher. She has that X-Factor. She’s a little nerdy, attractive, intelligent, sassy, and articulate. She’s easy to like, and more importantly, she’s easy to trust. Humor is an incredibly powerful credibility statement.  

I’m not telling you to imitate Kat Norton. You can’t. I’m suggesting you learn from her. 

You don’t need to always be the smartest one in the room. But if you can make your content funnier, more accessible, or nerdier than the next guy, you can attract an underserved audience.

Meet Black Violin!

Let’s look at an example beyond the blogosphere.

Recently, I went to a concert. I don’t normally do concerts, because I already get to enjoy the smell of sweat at my local gym. But this was different. This was Black Violin, a high-energy hip hop musical group that featured two … classically trained violinists?

Yup. If you like Kendrick Lamar but wish it had more 18th-century Beethoven, you’ll love Black Violin. I sure did.

Guys, it was the only classical concert I’ve ever been to that featured a DJ table, strobe lights, and 800 middle-aged white people dancing attempting to raise the roof during the last song. 

Why was I willing to spend the money on a Black Violin concert? It was because it was .. different. It was challenging. It was a new spin on an old classic (no pun intended).

Can you do the same with your blog? Can you present something old in some way new? 

Of course you can. Let’s take the example of rock climbing, one of my personal interests.

  • I’ve watched break-testing videos of rocking climbing equipment shattering into dozens of pieces, like HowNot2.
  • I’ve watched rock climbing tutorial videos from world-renowned experts, like Neil Gresham. 
  • I’ve watched Redbull documentaries about high-adventure rock climbing remote regions of the world, like Baffin Island.
  • I’ve read product reviews at OutdoorGearLab of rock climbing equipment before I made a purchasing decision.

None of those publishers is anything like the others. But they all present the same topic from a different angle. There’s no single source that can answer all my questions or satiate all my curiosity.

I’m a sucker for a new perspective on a topic I care about. And so are the other 8 billion people in the world. The possibilities are endless!

Meet Malcolm Gladwell!

What do all the following books have in common?

  • The Bomber Mafia
  • Talking to Strangers
  • David and Goliath
  • What the Dog Saw
  • Outliers
  • Blink
  • The Tipping Point

They’re all written by Malcolm Gladwell! He’s a prolific author, thinker, and social analyzer. Five of his books were on the New York Times bestseller list, and he continues to write for The New Yorker.

Here’s what he says about his writing process: “I have two parallel things I’m interested in. One is, I’m interested in collecting interesting stories, and the other is I’m interested in collecting interesting research. What I’m looking for is cases where they overlap.”

You would be forgiven for assuming that Gladwell is a genius. And he is, of a type. But after getting his Bachelors in History, his were not high enough for graduate school, so he went into advertising – and was subsequently rejected by every advertising agency he applied to.

It’s important to realize that Tremendously Talented Teachers aren’t necessarily the smartest people in the room. They’re just amazing at transferring knowledge – and getting people excited about it!

His book Blink, for instance, is about how the adaptive unconscious influences spontaneous expert judgment. And phrased like that, you’d think it was an exceptionally boring textbook, something that only sociology and psychology students would be forced to read for extra credit. Only it wasn’t. It sold over 2 million copies. 

Can you find where two disparate ideas overlap? Can you tell human stories rather than just regurgitate 10-point listicles? 

Meet Hans Rosling!

In 2006, Hans Rosling gave a TED talk at the 2006 conference. The name of his presentation was “The Best Stats You’ve Ever Seen,” and he didn’t disappoint. Data about world population growth measured against extreme poverty and fertility rates came alive in his hands. His visual presentation made PowerPoint look like a 5-year-old’s scribbles. 

Unless you’re a super nerd, global fertility rates isn’t exactly a topic to keep you scrolling. But Hans Rosling’s TED talk has been viewed over 15 million times.

Rosling is a Tremendously Talented Teacher. He’s been compared to a sportscaster for data analysis, as if John Madden decided to take up global economics. He infuses excitement, pleasure, vivacity into numbers. The difference between Rosling and the typical economist is like the difference between an essenced La Croix sparkling water and downing a kegger: One packs a much bigger punch!

As bloggers, what can we learn from Hans Rosling? Two lessons, perhaps:

  • You can inject excitement into anything. If you bring genuine enthusiasm to your topic, your audience will follow.
  • Visuals matter. (I know, I know. FLUB has, like, two pictures right now. This blog post is just a wall of text. I admit my guilt!) And I’m not just talking about random stock photos. I’m talking … well, just go watch the speech, alright? 


Being a Tremendously Talented Teacher is only one way to make your blog stand out. But if you’ve got what it takes, it’s priceless.

Knowing how to reach your audience is algorithm-proof. You can’t “skyscraper” a good story. You can’t mimic someone else’s exact sense of humor or steal their worldview. 

But I think it’s worth remembering that people didn’t just stumble upon their talent. Miss Excel may have become an “overnight” success on social media, but her teaching skills were years in the making. Black Violin musicians practiced the violin every day, all day, through their entire childhoods. Malcolm Gladwell worked the newspaper beat for 16 years before he published his first book. So if you want to become a Tremendously Talented Teacher, start yesterday!

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