How great would it be to be the go-to expert in your field? Admired, applauded and noted as the best of the best. The press calls you when they need a quote from an expert in your industry. You’re so good at what you do, when there is a search of keywords within your expertise, your name and your work are prominently displayed on Google, for all to see. The premiere position, leader and number one reference is YOU. Do you think there is value in being an expert? Absolutely! If time, patience and consistency are a part of your endgame, you will succeed at becoming an expert in your industry, profession or position.
There is huge value in becoming an expert. You will command attention, earn more money and win the admiration of those around you. Sounds like a pretty good gig. Here are 7 ways to propel yourself to expert status. I would encourage you to dig in quickly with a good mix of each area below. Start making your mark right now and watch how life will change for you in the upcoming months and years.
Pick a Lane
When I first started my speaking career, the best piece of advice I got from my speaking coach, Jane Atkinson was to pick a lane. In other words, pick a subject, a message, and a direction with pinpoint accuracy; be as specific as possible. In what subject or industry would you like to be an expert? Write it down, and again, be as specific as possible and be committed to it. If it does not excite you, drop it and move on to another area. If this is not an zone where you can see yourself spending a part of your career talking about, working in and being called upon to share your story, you are going to have an unhappy time building your business. However, this is not a life sentence, nor does this mean things can’t change. Things always evolve and change, but start with something you love, it will make becoming an expert so much more fulfilling.
Blog, Write and Publish
The rubber hits the road here, because you actually have to do something to become an expert. Start writing. If you don’t already have a website specific to your expertise, it’s time to take action. Wordpress is a solid platform that can host your blog. It only takes a few minutes to set up and once you do, it will be a great placeholder for your content. Wordpress is categorized as a content management system. You can do audio, video, social posting, traditional written word posting and more directly from your Wordpress site. In addition to posting on your own site, take advantage of social sites like LinkedIn’s posting platform, private website guest posting and reputation boosting opportunities like Huffington Post, Fortune, Inc., etc. Write everywhere and anywhere you can on your specific expertise. One additional idea that has worked very well for me -- Take time to write a short ebook, quote other industry experts, and share the ebook with their network as well. This little “trick” has added mileage to help me with SEO, getting noticed by other industry experts and building my network.
Network and Association
You are the sum of the people that you meet, the experiences in your life and the decisions you make. I truly feel like the people you associate with can make or break your reputation and will determine what type of person you become. When you associate with others reputable experts in your industry and you are consistent with your actions (in a positive way), you will develop a great reputation. The key word is consistency. You want to create a stellar reputation as someone that returns calls, responds to emails and messages, tells the truth and is consistently on time for meetings. You want to be approachable, willing to help and likable. Can you become an expert without being all of these things? Maybe. But you are generously shortening the curve when you are honest, trustworthy, dependable, reliable and grateful with others in your network. Sounds like a winning formula for success regardless of your expertise.
The key to being successful on social media is understanding engagement is your best tool. Building a Twitter following of tens of thousands of followers but failing to engage is like trying to start a fire with wet wood. Engage on social, communicate with your network and share their wins and victories as well. No matter the social channel you use, make sure that it is a channel likely to be used by others in your industry. If you want to be an expert in a highly visible, artistic industry like wedding planning, for example, if you are not taking advantage of social channels like Instagram or Pinterest, you are likely to be missing out. As the expert, wherever your market is, that’s where you need to be as well. Share your content, share other’s content and engage your network, one at a time, the old fashion way. It’s called social media for a reason, be social. Stop broadcasting your message, stop selling and provide valuable education and information, void of advertisements. Prove to your network why they should want to use you as the go to source for information.
Since 2014, I have hosted a podcast, The Nice Guys on Business Podcast. For nearly 300 episodes I have interview experts in dozens of fields ranging from advertising, politics, business, wellness and more. These experts have come on my podcast to share their message with my audience. The benefit of coming on my podcast is exposure to thousands of people outside their network. My benefit, I’ve shared with my audience hundreds of new perspectives on how to be successful in business. Win-win. Podcast hosts are looking for people to interview. Do a Google search of podcasts in your industry and reach out directly to the hosts of the show requesting an interview. If you don’t have time, hire a podcast placement company like Interview Valet or Interview Connections. Both are experts in the field of podcast guest placement.
Speak to Educate
Your message needs to be heard, in your voice. Share what you know with anyone and everyone willing to listen. In the beginning of my speaking career, I can recall several “speaking engagements” I was fortunate to get, where the audience consisted of a handful of people (or less). If you want to share your message and you want to become an expert, consider any speaking opportunity to practice, a great one. Very rarely would one start by speaking to a roomful of hundreds of people. If professional speaking (getting paid to speak within your expertise) is your goal, practice everywhere you can, no matter the audience size. Have a solid message, share valuable lessons with your audience and be relatable. This is not a time to sell, this is an opportunity to share your message.
Mentor to Give Back
Give back to the community that helps build you. Share your message, your insight and your valuable information with those following you. Look for those that are in need of help and provide assistance without any expectation of return. When you teach others on your way up, many will remember your kindness and generosity. Even when you don’t feel like you are an expert, there are others looking up to you because you are further along in your journey than they are. Help them along the way, assist then to get to where you are and they will share your lessons, victories, struggles and wins with others as well. You are educating the next tier of experts, which in turn, will help elevate you as well.
When you become an expert in your field life gets very exciting. Opportunities open to you that you have previously only dreamed of. Being an expert is a life changing position, one that you will be passionate about. Your experience will take you well beyond average, you will be highly skilled, focused and at the peak of your game. It all starts by taking simple action steps. Expert status is within reach, it’s up to you to take the first step. Make 2017 a great year, make it the year of the expert and up your value.