It’s funny how one word can evoke different such responses depending on the person. When you hear the word “expert”, what do you think of?
Maybe you’re someone who hears the term “expert” and thinks that the person must be knowledgeable and proficient at what they do. Or maybe you’re one of those people who hears someone dubbed as an “expert” and you automatically get a little eye-rolly and are skeptical of their credibility.
You’ve heard about the “expert” economy and you wonder how that works.
Do you go to expert school? Is there an expert certification?
(Yes, I’m kidding!)
Here’s the thing – as a small business boss, if you offer services, you’re probably well on your way to being an expert at whatever it is you do. And that’s a good thing!
Now it’s time to step up and act like it.
Here are three ways to seen as an expert in your industry:
#1. Pick a Focus
Nobody can be an expert on everything, so it’s important to be specific about where your skills and abilities lie. Talk about that one area of expertise ALL the time. Don’t start trying to be all things to all people.
The truth is most of us know a lot about a lot of things. But if you’re a know-it-all and talk about ALL the things, all the time, no one really knows what you do. And really, nobody likes a show-off. So while you may, in fact, have amazing talents, acting like an expert in 12 different areas may be a really big turnoff to potential clients.
Think of it like that old expression “Jack of all trades, master of none.”
This is why you need a focus. If you’re a graphic designer – what kind of design do you do? Who do you work with? What’s your specialty?
Getting clear on the fact that you’re a UX-focused designer that works with e-commerce micro businesses means you can own a couple of key topics that pertain to them like converting more sales.
#2. Position Yourself as an Authority
The best way to be seen as an expert is to position yourself as an authority on a topic. One of the easiest ways to do this is by using other people’s platforms.
You’re probably wondering what exactly those platforms would be. Our faves are being a guest on podcasts, guest blog posting, traditional media engagements, guest teaching and speaking gigs.
Think of it this way: You could start your own podcast and call yourself an expert, but who is going to be listening? What sort of proof do you have to show people you’re an authority?
By leveraging someone else’s platform, you have a built-in audience waiting for you. Being featured in some way by a third party is a vote of confidence in your authority. The person hosting you is showing their audience that you have valuable insights to share.
For example, I’ve personally invested a lot of time into being a guest on podcasts and writing for big name websites, and that has helped me be seen as an expert on specific topics, and then land clients as they know I know my stuff.
This third party credibility can go a long way to boosting your expert status and is a must if you really want to stand out. Anyone can start a blog, but not everyone can land an opportunity on someone else’s platform.
#3. Become a Content Creator
There’s nothing like publishing your own content to show off your expertise and knowledge. The great thing about content is that you have plenty of options to show off your creativity in a way that best supports your business.
Whether it’s video, blogging or podcasting, the medium you choose should be whatever you feel most comfortable with. Play to your strengths as content creation is time-consuming and you need to pick a place you can shine.
Ahem, I’m even doing this step right now! Talking to all of you through this blog, sharing my “expert” tips on how to be an expert. This post is a living example of how to execute on this suggestion.
Now, I want to remind you that you don’t need to do ALL of them. In fact, if you’re starting out with content creation, I suggest you try one thing at a time. The goal is to be doing something to help you build an audience over time.
And finally, one more expert tip: Don’t think that just because you publish a blog post, you’ll magically have a bunch of readers overnight. Building an audience takes lots of time, so prepare yourself for the long haul as a content creator.
Get Into Action
Being seen as an expert in your industry isn’t going to happen overnight, but the key is that you just start. Building a reputation takes time and effort, so this is one of those things you’ll need to work at consistently.
Pick one of the three suggestions above to focus on (I’m clearly a fan of #3!) and build out from there.