Can you honestly say that you’re considered an expert in your field? If not, you might want to consider becoming one. It’s easier than you might think. It’s about building knowledge and establishing credibility. If you’re running a business, being seen as an expert will earn you the trust of your audience.
You can be that expert that others look to – a thought leader. If you learn about what you enjoy, it’s that much easier to find a success-oriented work-life balance. But it’s a very realistic outcome if you follow some of these ideas.
1: Gather Knowledge
What is it about your product, industry, or service that you find the most fascinating? Is it the technology, logistics, or leadership? Take the time to learn more, even it’s just a small amount of time. But do it regularly. Learn the facts and history behind your chief interests.
Getting information is easier than ever. Subscribe to some online news feeds. Take an online college course. Enlist in a mentorship program to learn directly from the current experts. Watch all the relevant videos and webinars you can. Just make sure you take notes and think about how it all can connect to your particular business and brand. Finding areas of special focus can help you to optimize your time and efforts.
Don’t bother simply rehashing what you’ve learned. Think about packaging it to reflect your own character and an original point of view. Being an expert with fresh ideas makes you someone others will follow.
2. Establish a Position
Hopefully, in a matter of weeks or months, maybe even days, you’ve absorbed a lot of information and come up with some concrete ideas on where you can make a difference. Write down some core concepts and explore them to develop your own perspectives and insights. Then, evaluate them to see how you can apply a blend of accurate, current information and your own personal experiences into an expert insight.
You need to develop this into a public argument for your favored media, or several of them, such as social media posts, blogs, and videos. Remember that you want innovation and uniqueness in order to provide value. There are likely to be hundreds, if not thousands, of websites in the same basic vertical as you. Look at some of the major sites related to your chosen subject and ask yourself: What are they missing?
Everything you’ve learned serves only to provide context that will define and support your position. Even if you’re building on someone else’s theories or inventions, the conclusions and solutions that come to form your take on the issue should be your own.
3. Build a Network of Followers
Now that you’ve tackled a subject and formulated your own unique position, it’s time to get it out to the public and get yourself some attention. There are a number of existing channels to do this:
* Blogs: It’s cheap and easy to create your own blog, whether as a section on your existing company website or an independent site. Write up your expert knowledge, or hire someone to do it, as text posts. Add any infographics, diagrams, videos, illustrations, and so forth that will back up your opinions.
* Social media: Start posting your ideas to invite open dialogues with your audience. Just remember that dialogue is a two-way street. You might even learn something new.
* Answer sites: LinkedIn and Yahoo!Answers are just two sites where members of the community can post questions and get answers. Find questions relevant to your area of expertise and use them as an opportunity to promote your position.
4. Demonstrate Your Expertise
When you’ve built a following, you can start demonstrating your expertise to your audience in more meaningful ways:
* Webinars: These are basically online seminars that you can promote, and interested parties will login to see and hear the information you’re providing. They’re easy to set up, and a great way to face-time your expertise with your following. Of course, the success of your webinar depends on the quality of your presentation.
* eBooks: You can use a free eBook tool or a common PDF format to create your eBook for distribution to your audience. It’s cheap, effective, and allows you to include links to your other sites or authoritative resources to back your opinions. But as with webinars, be certain the quality of the content contributes to your reputation.
* Industry publications: This could be print magazines, e-zines, or leading blogs. If you can post your ideas to media where other industry experts are sure to read them, it can help you to connect with these influencers and create the impression that you’re one of them.
5: Show Qualifications
Having great ideas and expressing them well is important, but it always helps to have third-party sources that can back you up. In your digital material, include any educational credentials you have. Industry certifications, awards, professional organizations you belong to, and testimonials from past clients or industry peers help to build credibility. You might also want to include links to favorable reviews or your professional postings. Just don’t make it feel like a resume.
The best way to reduce any negative feedback is by reinforcing the positive feedback. Try entering some keywords related to yourself and your company into Google and other search engines. In your own content, use only keywords that point to the positive results. If you can’t have negative feedback removed, the best way to make it disappear is to drive it further down in the search results by driving up the good feedback.
Once you’ve gotten the methods down and your reputation established, it’s much easier to sustain your place as an expert. Dive back into what you’ve learned and come up with another great idea. The more you learn, the more ideas you’ll find. Publish them in the same way and public perception of your expertise will continue to grow.