5 Ways to Become a Go-To Expert

Becoming a recognised expert takes time and effort but once established it becomes an asset that can be repeatedly monetised and built upon.

How to become a go-to expert

  1. Don’t dwell on the competition. It is highly unlikely that your competitors target the same market segment, sell exactly the same products and have the exact same knowledge and experience as you. Yes, some of them might be more experienced than you, but each market has several excellent professionals operating within it, and you need to accept that. Unhealthy expert envy can be very emotionally draining, and your emotional energy is much better used elsewhere – for example, product development or content creating.
  2. Be inspired by your fellow influencers, but stay unique. Admiring your competition, as well as your influencers, is fine, but they aren’t heroes. Don’t try to copy them word-for-word or adopt each and every one of their strategies. Instead, pay attention to their social media for inspiration and consider reaching out to them. Your unique approaches are the reasons your target market comes to you, not to them, so don’t discard that so readily.
  3. Make your content memorable and easy to understand. Content readers don’t love reading dry facts and boring flowcharts that ultimately don’t tell them much about how they specifically can be helped. Even if you’re the best expert on the subject, your readership will go down if your writing is not engaging and compelling. Fortunately, most dry facts can be told in a way that’s easy to comprehend. A proven way to impart knowledge and information is through the use of:
    Metaphors (comparing two things that are different but which may have common characteristics, e.g. “Pitching to investors is a game of judo”);
    Similes (another method of comparing two things. Similes come under the umbrella of metaphors, i.e. all similes are metaphors but not all metaphors are similes. If it has “like” or “as”, it’s a simile, e.g. “Launching a business is like planning an expedition”)
    Stories. Stories are now recognised as one of the best ways to communicate to your audience and potential customers.
         You may not know the most about a particular topic but if you are one of the best at teaching it, you’re ahead of the game. (Many experts are hopeless teachers). Focus on how to impart the maximum amount of useful, practical information – do that consistently and you won’t go far wrong.
  4. Teach the right audience. Essentially, you’re teaching your audience how to solve their problems with your product. Whether you’re offering programming language guides, or how-to videos on conducting depositions, you’re essentially seeing things from a teacher’s perspective that helps both your audience and you. The reason it is beneficial to you also is that by viewing your topic from a teacher’s perspective, you can discover things you would have been unable to otherwise and can, little by little, fill the gaps in what you’re offering and eventually expand your audience. In order to accomplish all that, however, you need to ensure that you’re targeting the right audience.
  5. Be committed to helping people. The reason you want to be an expert has little to do with bragging rights. You want to help those who consider you an expert – your readers and customers. In order to earn the title of the expert, you need to listen to your audience, and to interact with them. Social media, fortunately, makes this easy, and you can use various platforms to create your own network of customers. Establishing a sense of community can help you earn respect, authority and recognition much quicker than if you position yourself as “the smartest one”. For example, an expert who offers free content at the start because they genuinely want to help people is much more likely to build long-term relationships with their customers than an expert who thinks their content to be too good to be given away free of charge.

Takeaway points

  1. Don’t stress out about the competition – be inspired by them instead. Remember, there are lots of singers and lots of songs.
  2. Tell your readers a story instead of boring them with dry facts.
  3. Be a good listener and aspire to help people using your expertise.

Action steps

  1. Have you read the top 10 books in your field? Do you know the latest developments and trends? Make a point of doing so and sharing the findings with your audience in easy-to-digest pieces, e.g. cheat sheets, infographics, slide shows etc.
  2. Make an extensive list of questions your audience wants answers to. Create a series of short videos answering each question.
  3. Create an online course teaching your topic – or an aspect of it.

Photo credit: Andy Melton via Flickr.com / CC BY-SA 2.0

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