How to Establish Yourself as an Expert to Grow Your Network and Client Base
Everyone is an expert in something, whether it’s basket weaving, social media marketing, or book editing. Consider this: being known as an expert in your field or area of interest affords you (and your business) all kinds of good stuff: credibility, a wider network, new clients or readers, and chance to cut through the noise. For all types of authors, an expert status can lend itself to getting the word out about a book and grabbing the attention of new readers. Here are three easy steps to get you started:
1. Figure out what you know.
In which fields do you have credentials, a strong knowledge base, or passion? What do people ask you about? What do you just love doing? Answer this question and—voilà—you have your specialty. Next: specify, specify, specify. Don’t be just a branding expert; be an expert on personal branding for LinkedIn. A health guru could work toward becoming a clean-eating coach, and a leadership consultant could specialize in educational or nonprofit leadership. By narrowing your area of focus, you stand out among your competitors and peers and attract the attention of the right people.
2. Do your homework and build your message.
Once you’ve identified your area of expertise, it’s time to do some research. Figure out what leaders in your field are saying about the topic at hand. To continue one of the examples above, how do other experts approach the topic of clean eating? Scour books, industry journals, and the Internet to see what’s already been said so you can position yourself in a unique way. Your message is your value proposition, and it should continue the conversation in your voice, with several clear points. For the health guru, that could look something like this:
“Providing busy families with a clean-eating plan that sticks” or
“Teaching parents how to eliminate processed foods from the kitchen.”
3. Deliver your message.
So now that you know what you’re talking about and have surveyed the landscape, how do you get the message across to your people? There are several ways:
- Write helpful articles and post them to article aggregators and industry publications, or start a blog or newsletter and post your content there. You can also check out other blogs or websites in your field to see if you can write guest posts for them.
- Look for local groups, organizations, conferences, and seminars where you might be able to teach or speak. You could host your own seminars, webinars, or Internet radio shows to educate people on your topic of expertise.
- We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again—write a book! When you hand someone your book, or they see it on bookstore shelves, it’s instant credibility for you. Just make sure you do your research before you get started, as we’ve discussed many times. The book industry can be tricky, especially for newcomers.
These tips are meant to point you in the right direction, but becoming an expert is not something that happens overnight. It take quite a bit of time and hard work to amass the content you need to disseminate your message, so taking it slow and moving one step at a time is key. For more resources, check out Dan Schawbel’s Personal Branding Blog or one of these titles: Trust Agents by Chris Brogan, Good in a Room by Stephanie Palmer, or The Brand You 50 by Tom Peters.