There are many benefits to being perceived as an expert: an increase in media exposure, an increase in referrals from other businesses, and a community that support your business. These are all great opportunities for you to market and promote your business.
The traditional path to achieving this can be long and arduous; with certificates, degrees and decades of experience. The good news is, there are alternative paths. Here are some ideas to help establish yourself as an expert in your field:
Becoming an Expert Offline
1. Stay current with what’s going on in your industry.
Every industry has at least one trade publication, so make sure you know what it is and subscribe. Take note of their themes and direction of thinking. When reading the content, don’t just take it at its word, look into the topic and form your own opinions. Then when someone asks about it, or you read a blog post about it, you can comment with your pre-formed ideas.
And don’t just focus on the publications purely for your industry. Look at other industries which may impact yours or whose technology you could adopt.
2. Monitor your competitor’s advertising.
It’s important to keep on top of your competition. The easiest way to do this is to monitor their advertising. This will give you an idea of what they’re talking about, what they’re selling and ultimately what they think is important to their clients. You can use this information in two ways: the first to assess your own product offering and see if it is competitive, and the second to form an opinion, should someone ask you about your competitors’ offering.
3. Offer your services to a local college.
Professors and tutors are always looking for external business people to speak to their students and share their insight and opinions. By offering your services to a local university, college, school or place of higher learning, you become a trusted resource to the students, who in turn tell their parents about the great business expert who visited their class.
4. Become a professional speaker.
Whether it’s a trade association, local club, Chamber of Commerce, Meet-up Group or tradeshow, offer your services to speak on a relevant subject at no charge. You could even target corporate businesses to let you speak after hours or during meetings, if your subject matter is relevant to them.
Becoming a speaker will not only provide an opportunity to appear in front of the right people, it will also help build your credibility as someone worth listening to.
5. Provide tips and links to the traditional press.
Build relationships with writers and editors of the local press. Give them tips of good businesses to look at and key trends to monitor. But make sure you don’t waste their time. Don’t inundate them with content that everyone already knows about. Keep it short and highlight why you think it would be a good article.
Becoming an Expert Online
1. Submit content to websites, blogs and publications.
Like Small Business BC’s own Write for Us program, many websites welcome content from external writers. By having another outlet publish your work, they’re advocating that you know what you’re talking about. This helps you gain credibility, as well as generat awareness about your business.
2. Create your own blog.
Create your own outlet to communicate your views and experiences. Blogs don’t have to be long. They can be short “have you seen this” or “this just happened to me” articles. They are purely your soap box to broadcast who and what you know and to offer insight into new trends and happenings in your industry.
By adding the blog to your existing website, you will: gain credibility from your existing clients and gain web traffic from posting regular new content, which could be potentially picked up by news sources.
3. Add video to your mix.
People find it easier to trust people they meet face-to-face. So why not make it happen sooner, and communicate your views and knowledge through video. They can quickly see how confident you are in your delivery and knowledge and see through your body language that you’re someone to be trusted.
4. Become socially savvy.
Become an active user of the social networks. Don’t have time to cover them all? Pick one and use it a lot. LinkedIn and Twitter are great for generating conversations about your opinions, or interesting information or articles you’ve read. Become the first to discuss something and you’ll become the leader in your field.
And don’t forget online forums. There are many people asking questions on forums every day. Become the expert who answers their questions. The more your name appears, the more awareness you’ll generate and the more Google will like your website.
Credentials are no longer just about letters after names and attending the right educational institute. Now you can build your credentials by becoming a recognized and published author, a lecturer at a college, and a renowned expert at tradeshows. By cementing your reputation as a trustworthy source you will ultimately generate more leads for your business and increase your revenue.