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How to Become an Expert in Your Industry Niche

Becoming an expert is not easy but the rewards can more than make up for the hard work. Having expertise in a certain niche means you have the respect of your fellow professionals; industry recognition and increased credibility which can translate into greater business opportunities.

Are you lacking reach, an audience and/or recognition?

  1. You have the expertise but have not demonstrated this to others, e.g. you lack social proof; you have not built your brand; you are starting from scratch.
  2. You are not known in your industry, i.e. you need to be on the radar of influencers; you need to share your expertise with your target audience.
  3. You are lost in the the crowd of other experts and don’t have a way to stand out.

Hard work and interest in your niche will pay off

  1. Have the right mindset. You need to understand right away that you’re not going to become your industry’s “celebrity” expert overnight, but it’s possible. Many break into the circle on a daily basis. Hard work, consistent action and a passion for your chosen niche are the keys to the kingdom. Don’t be awestruck by those further down the road than you. (After all, you are much further along than others).

Never compare your beginning to someone else’s middle. ~ John Acuff

     In order to earn the respect of your target audience and peers as an expert, you first need to actually produce content worthy of notice. Create something or achieve a result that your target audience would be interested to replicate. Do that, and you’re on your way to industry acceptance.

  1. Don’t stop learning. True experts always have an apprentice attitude. The moment you think you know everything is when others overtake you. When you’ve “made it”, your job becomes one of keeping your finger on the pulse. Keep learning with the goal of sharing what you learn with your tribe. For example, if you’re an expert in event planning, you could set yourself a target of producing a monthly case-study of an event. You might talk about how you would plan the event; or the mistakes made and lessons that could be learned. Do you see how offering value like this can only strengthen your status as an expert?
  2. Produce content relevant to your niche. Creating relevant content is what gets you noticed and is an important stepping stone towards building up your authority as an expert. Many professional writers today start out as bloggers and get hired by large authority sites to write guest posts. This is just a single example, however – to give you one more, Skillcrush’s founder Adda Birnir spent years learning about technology and producing relevant content in the form of lessons. She went on to launch Skillcrush, a respected platform where people could purchase blueprints on how to become an expert in technology. Birnir got there through staying visible and constantly learning, and you can too.
  3. Demonstrate your expertise. Adda Birnir whom we mentioned earlier hosts webinars related to her company’s content every week or so and every day, Skillcrush gets more and more subscribers and their revenue figures grow because of that. There is nothing stopping you from demonstrating that you’re an expert too – either via interactive webinars or other kinds of video and audio content. Once people see you in action in addition to the written content that you produce, that’s where they really start seeing you as an expert. Not only demonstrating your expertise is what gets you noticed as an expert in your field, but it’s also a great sales tool.
  4. Value feedback but don’t let it discourage you. You have to understand that you aren’t the only expert in your field, no matter how good you are. There are other people who have been doing it well before you, and their advice can be invaluable to you. Don’t see them as competition – take their advice under consideration and apply it next time you produce content on your niche. Feedback is not meant to discourage you – you have to consider it a part of your learning process. And yes, you will encounter trolls and haters. The best strategy is to block, ignore and don’t engage.
  5. Enjoy the process. Passion is key – after all, becoming an expert can be a hard road. You might get frustrated at times; receive negative feedback and, inevitably, think about quitting. However, these roadblocks are learning opportunities, first and foremost, and you should treat them as such. You will have bad days and good days. Treat challenging times like the weather: there’s nothing to “fix” and it will pass. Finally, being passionate about your field is very important, and if you enjoy what you do, you will have an easier time becoming an expert.

Takeaway points

  1. Learning and practice are of utmost importance, and if you set yourself concrete, tangible goals, you will have an easier time achieving the level of expertise that you need.
  2. Stay visible through creating relevant content in order for people to see your expertise in action.
  3. Don’t be deterred by negativity and get into the right mindset from the beginning.

Action steps

  1. Make a plan of what you’re hoping to learn and accomplish within the next year or so.
  2. Start practicing presentation and public speaking skills so that when people see you on video, they are focused solely on the demonstration of your expertise.
  3. Decide on your signature product – the product that will get you on the radar of your target audience and industry influencers. The best product you can create (and the best way to propel your expert status) is to do or something remarkable and share how you did it with your audience.

 

Photo credit: Image Catalog via Flickr.com / CC0 1.0




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