Knowledge Is Power (But It’s Not Enough)

The popular idiom “knowledge is power” is most commonly attributed to Sir Francis Bacon, an English philosopher and author from the late 16th and early 17 century. He was a big proponent of the scientific method and is often viewed as the father of empiricism, the theory that knowledge comes only from sensory experience. Seeing is believing, so to speak.

What’s interesting is that the exact phrase “knowledge is power” doesn’t seem to appear in any of Bacon’s English or Latin writings, but he does use the Latin expression “ipsa scientia potestas est” in a 1597 work called Meditationes Sacrae. This loosely translates to “knowledge itself is power,” which we can safely assume means fundamentally the same thing. Some people argue that it should be translated as “knowledge is His power,” referring to the omnipotence of God, but I digress.

How does this relate to the world of professional blogging, affiliate marketing, and making money online? It has everything to do with it.

Knowledge Gets You Places

As with any other prospective career or professional exploit, Internet marketing relies heavily on what you know. You can’t really start blogging, at least not successfully, without having some idea of how ad networks operate or what are some of the basic best practices for search engine optimization.

You can’t really get started with affiliate marketing until you understand the difference between CPM and CPA. You should be reasonably well versed in the basic jargon and vocabulary of the industry, like click-thru rates and landing pages and conversion rates. Combining blogging with Internet marketing, you’ll give yourself a better shot at success if you have a good understand of social media and Google Analytics and email marketing too.

The more you know, the better off you’ll be.

In a private Facebook group I belong to, one of the members was confused by the seemingly random email she received. The person was asking to insert a link into one of her existing (old) blog posts and she couldn’t understand why. Another member explained that this was an SEO tactic (that is against Google’s terms and conditions) wherein the person was trying to get some “link juice” off her site.

Armed with this knowledge, she could then make a more educated decision about whether or not she wanted to proceed with the potential agreement. Without that information, she’d be taking a guess in the dark and the money on the table would sound much more appealing. Knowledge is power. And knowing what value you bring to the table can help you negotiate for more favorable terms.

But It’s Not Enough

As Tyrion Lannister so famously said on Game of Thrones, “I drink and I know things.”

What he didn’t tell you is that knowing things is not enough and it will never be enough if you want to be truly successful at what you do. Knowing everything there is to know about search engine optimization is certainly favorable under the right circumstances, but it doesn’t really mean anything if the content on your website is of poor quality and it’s not properly monetized.

There are many people out there who seem to know a lot about a lot of things, yet they don’t reach the same level of success as so many other people whose knowledge base could be considerably less impressive. Why? The thing we have to recognize is that there are so many other factors at play, some in your control and some not.

The old expression “it’s not what you know but who you know” really applies here. When you are lucky enough to forge the right connections with the right people, you can gain incredible in-roads and advantages that are not available to other people who are in similar positions as you are. You want to start a YouTube channel and you happen to know someone with a wealth of high-end video equipment who will gladly work with you on it? You’re in much better shape than someone who knows everything about YouTube, but has no access to any quality equipment or software.

There’s a reason why so many successful people online tend to congregate in the same few hubs, like New York City, San Francisco, Los Angeles and Seattle. Networking with the right people can take you places… and when you get to those places, your knowledge can still give you a leg up.

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