10 ways to position yourself as an expert

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Lots of people claim to be experts. In a crowded marketplace they point to the letters after their names, the places they have worked, or their education. But most of us looking for experts want demonstrated credibility (at least I do). How do you create that?

First of all, BE the expert.

Do a great job and get references and referrals. There are no shortcuts or ways around this one. It is the first and most necessary thing to succeeding in business, especially a professional service. How you deliver is part of what you deliver.

If you stumble or fall on your face, you have an opportunity to get closer to your client if you own your mistake(s) and work hard to fix them. When you do that, you show your integrity. If you get defensive and don’t solve the problem, you burn bridges with your client and risk their grumbling about it to others. That kind of word of mouth is difficult to contain and reverse.

Be professional. Stay up to date with your discipline, technical developments, legislation, or whatever is relevant to your profession. Be conversant in the trends and issues going on within your industry and your niche in particular.

Second, the BIG idea: create content and share it. This gives others something to pass along to other people who may be looking for your kind of expertise.

Here are 10 ways you can do that:

Write a blog related to your specialty. Industry trends, changing technology or regulations, or something you want to explore and write about (the movie Julie & Julia is a great example.) To succeed, a blog requires consistency—though it doesn’t have to be daily—so it had better be something you care about enough to put the time in and stick with it.

Give a talk about a topic you can explain well to others. Make it interesting and relevant to your audience. Avoid jargon like the plague!

Post a short video about your subject. It can be really short, like 2 minutes. Be interesting, be clear, be yourself.

Give a seminar, workshop, webinar, or teleseminar if your topic lends itself to learning or professional development.

Moderate a panel of other experts. Being in the company of other experts, asking informed questions, responding, and facilitating will send the message that you too are an expert.

Publish an article or white paper about an area of interest. Explore professional journals, industry publications, or special interest websites where your clients will see it.

Network with like-minded people. Colleagues can be a great source of referral and industry information.

Host an open house or an event to show your support for a topic or cause related to your area of expertise. Gathering with others for a relevant event positions you as knowledgeable which is well on the road to expert.

Share what you know on Facebook, Twitter, or LinkedIn. Don’t be afraid to promote others posts, articles, presentations, and awards. Sharing their success encourages them to share yours when it’s your turn. Sharing relevant content from other experts demonstrates your expertise because you knew what was relevant.

Be active in professional organizations. Being known by your colleagues gives you visibility within your professional community.

Your content, or subject matter, can be very short or very large. Think 140 characters on Twitter, or a 200-page book. Often a single idea can be adapted to create different types of content. For example, a presentation becomes a video and a blog post which eventually becomes an article or a chapter in a book.

Wondering how to develop your content? Try this:

Brainstorm topics for an article. (If you get stuck, ask a trusted friend or colleague to brainstorm with you.)

Review editorial calendars of publications who publish on your topic.

Outline the article you wish to write.

Contact the editor to pitch your story.

Revise your outline or approach as needed to suit your desired publication.

Draft, edit, and submit the article for publication.

Repeat as needed until you are published.

When you’re published, send a copy or a link to your clients and colleagues, post it on your website.

Look for other ways to use this topic to position yourself as an expert: create a presentation, make a video, or . . .

What convinces you that you’ve found an expert? What is the best way you’ve found to establish or promote your own expertise?

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