6 Ways to Become a Go-To Expert in Your Industry
The importance of being seen as an expert in your industry cannot be overstated. Once you're known as the go-to source, you'll collect more highly qualified inbound leads (people seeking you out!) and you'll be able to charge more for your services. You will also find that, as your reputation grows, interesting opportunities come your way at a rapid pace.
The good news is that it's never too late to build a reputation as an expert! The internet is the great equalizer, and just because you didn't start two or five or ten years ago doesn't mean you can't build credibility right now.
Here are six steps to help you quickly gain a reputation as a go-to expert:
1. Figure out exactly what you want to be known for
The more narrow the area of expertise you choose to focus on, the easier it will be to build credibility, and the more value you'll be able to provide to others interested in that area.
I've worked in the entertainment industry for more than 15 years and there a dozen areas that I'm qualified to speak with authority on. But I'm passionate and knowledgeable about the phenomenon of fandom, so I focus on writing, speaking, and studying that particular subset. Positioning myself a "superfan expert" is much more powerful than broadly being a "music marketing expert."
Figure out what you're great at — and what your customers care about —and you'll quickly own the topic. Plus, it's much easier to appear at the top of organic search listings for a couple of terms rather than 20.
2. Start blogging on your website
One of the fastest ways to build credibility as an expert is by adding a blog to your site. Post regularly and include a mix of video and written content.
Don't know what to write about? Make a list of 20 questions your customer have or could ask about your chosen area of expertise. Turn each question into a video or post of about 300-500 words. Just like that, you've got your first 20 content ideas!
3. Share your blogs on social accounts
When you post a new blog post, share it with your network. In addition to a mix of LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram posts pointing back to your blog, try to establish a regular (at least monthly!) email newsletter to send to your current and prospective customers showcasing your expertise and insights.
4. Share the wealth
Once you've established yourself as a regular blogger, reach out to non-competitor sites about doing guest posts. Concentrate on creating content that provides value to that blog's readers while also remaining squarely in your area of expertise.
Aim for at least 20 blog posts of your own before you start offering guest content. That way, when traffic comes to your own blog, readers will have plenty of posts to check out.
You can also begin to group your blog posts into longer content pieces, like e-books. Offer them on your blog in exchange for email addresses to help build your potential customer database.
5. Offer your services as an expert
After going beyond the 20 post mark and publishing new content regularly, you've built enough credibility to start reaching out beyond blogs. Contact local reporters, podcasters, radio hosts, and other media with an established audience, and offer to serve as an expert source for a story or show if they ever need you. Frame it as an offer to help them — not as a plug for yourself.
For example, if you're a heating and air conditioning entrepreneur, you may offer yourself up as a source on stories about staying safe in the summer heat. If you own a restaurant, you may volunteer to share five-minute lunch ideas around back-to- school time. Focus on adding value and producers will be eager to find room for you in their schedules.
6. Register a dedicated domain
When you become known as an expert, people will seek you out personally and a dedicated website with its own domain name can be helpful for directing inquiries. In addition to links back to your business, you can host your blog on this site, and provide information on how media can reach you when they need an expert source.
Consider a .pro domain name to convey the message you're a pro in your area of expertise.
Lay the groundwork
While you are working on defining your area of expertise and building a library of expert content, make a list of the media your customers and potential customers consume regularly. What podcasts do they listen to? What sites do they read? This will not only give you a great idea of how to structure your own content, it will also serve as a great list of channels to reach out to when you arrive at the final step.
With a little hard work, you'll be well on your way to seeing the amazing ROI that a solid reputation can deliver.