It sucks to be new doesn’t it?
You want to start building your business in a particular niche but you don’t have anything to back you up as an expert…
No years of experience to prove your worth…
No in-depth knowledge in that topic…at least not as yet…
You don’t have testimonials in the hundreds that you can pick from too.
Wouldn’t you be an imposter? A fraud? Why would people listen to you when you’re not an expert?
Should you even bother trying?
What we always hear as a solution….
Fake it till you make it…Or engage in tricks to make your audience believe that you are one.
Honestly, that’s the last thing you should be doing and you don’t have to.
The key thing is to position yourself as an expert in the minds of your audience.
For this to happen, you need to understand what goes into becoming an expert.
First thought that comes to your mind? Content – right? You’re not wrong to think that.
Sure, content is important. But amazing content on your site or via podcasts or your youtube channel will not save the day.
Beyond content you need authority and to be marketable as well. One of the mistakes people make as they set out to build an expert business is to think that knowledge and amazing content alone are enough.
In this post you’ll discover 15 simple but powerful ways to position yourself as an expert. These fall into 3 main pillars:
I’ll also point out common mistakes that most small business owners and solopreneurs make. Go ahead and skip ahead to what interests you the most by clicking on any of navigation links above. Then grab a free chapter of my upcoming Amazon book ‘But I’m not an expert!’ which helps you go from newbie to expert and radically skyrocket your influence.
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#1 Pick an expert niche
Can you be an expert in marketing or fitness or productivity?
Maybe. And that’s if you’ve been in the online business field for 10 years and have led several businesses. For most of us, this isn’t the reality.
So you need to drill into a specific expert niche if you want to attract an audience.
This is a three-fold decision that involves YOU, the marketplace, and your audience.
Your expert niche = A hungry market that is actively looking for help with solving a specific set of problems + your ability to deliver what they want.
But how do you define a hungry market?
Look out for money flows within the niche.
If you see that people are ‘paying’ to get rid of pain or to gain something, then there’s certainly potential in that niche.
This doesn’t have to be a course. It could be coaching, services, events or even physical products.
Heard of the saying money follows passion?
That’s not always true especially if there isn’t a large enough marketplace of paying clients or customers to sustain that passion.
Passion and interest are important. But if you can’t monetize, then it can never become a business and will remain as a hobby.
For instance, there is plenty of email marketing advice for B2B firms and huge companies but hardly any in-depth information tailored to personal brands and solopreneurs. That was an opportunity gap that I wanted to fill. [/wpc-yellowbox]
#2 Create content that positions you as an expert
What exactly is value?
Most people associate massive free guides, downloads, lengthy how-to content, and tutorials as value.
But value is more than that.
Value is changing perceptions and mindsets.
Value is being the person your audience turns to, to make sense of it all.
The person who shows them not just what they could do, but what they should do.
Is this more difficult than sending your audience a link to a post or email on “10 Must-Have Hacks to Do Something”?
You bet it is!
Valuable content also adds to the body of literature or content already present in this niche. So you don’t want to just create content, but valuable content.Value is changing perceptions and mindsets.Click To Tweet
#3 Don’t neglect middle of funnel content
The diagram below shows the various types of content that will attract your ideal reader or customer at different stages.
While every stage of the funnel is important, the middle is the one that’s most often neglected.
When you’re trying to position yourself as an expert, the content you create in the middle can add the most value.
When done well, the content here puts you ahead of the competition in the minds of your audience. You become the go-to person for everything related to the topic.
This is where your content can spur dialogue and conversation without being salesy. You get to earn the attention of people and position yourself as a solution to their problems without selling anything.
Most solopreneurs I work with tend to pay attention to bottom of funnel content, neglecting the middle. Or it only strikes them that they need to beef up the middle, four weeks before a massive launch.
#4 Ask an influencer for a quote
Before publishing a new piece of content, reach out to influencers in your industry.
Tell them the topic of your content and ask if they would be willing to provide a quote.
Your content automatically becomes more reputable because you’re associating yourself with an influencer in your industry.
And remember to ‘name drop’. Mention that you’ve already received the nod from another influencer or if you still have not…mention the names of influencers you are planning to get a quote from.
Here’s how Mary Fernandez from Persuasive blog does it with her article 13 Seasoned Entrepreneurs Give Their Best Beginner Advice. She managed to get 13 influencers and this includes names like Pat Flynn, Bryan Harris and Tara Gentile to give a quote on the topic. She also managed to get it published on the Huffington Post.
#5 Curate good content
You don’t stop at creating good content.
You curate good content too. What does this mean?
a. You share high quality content that’s not yours but that shares different perspecives and views on your own expert niche
b. You share high quality content of others in complementary topics.
By doing so, your audience comes to view you as a trusted and credible source.
They look to you as a conduit to seek other information. You also siphon off some of the street cred of the content that you share because your audience sees that you’re keeping up with what’s going
#6 Keep learning and abreast of happenings in your expert niche
As an expert, you don’t want to read the same content that your audience does.
Look at industry publications and blogs…expert books….podcasts in the same niche but for a different audience level…
Then take the content and tailor it to the level of your audience.
A common complaint: There’s no time!
Here’s a method that I use to read 1–2 nonfiction books a week.
You don’t have to read a book cover to cover to get the most out of it.
I highly recommend that you don’t. Most people who read several books a week or month employ variations of the method I use below:
- Read the synopsis or blurb of the book. Look at the back cover or the book description.
- Take a helicopter view by scanning the table of contents.
– Identify the chapters that appear most useful to you.
– What chapters or section headings seem interesting?
- Create an overview using a three-layer process.
– Write out the headings within the chapters.
– Then flesh out the headings with subheads.
– Go deeper by adding in phrases that are in bold, italics, or make reference to flowcharts or diagrams. These help you quickly grasp information.
I usually use a notebook and pen to make a mind map following the steps above, but you can also use free tools like MindMeister. Here’s a snapshot of what this method of reading and analyzing the book Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less by Greg McKeown would look like on a mind mapping tool.
Not everyone in online business has professional qualifications or degrees to showcase. Yet, unspoken rules exist behind who an expert is.
These experts are people who have authority.
What is authority?
Authority is the ability to get others to listen to you—to be able to impact opinions and purchasing decisions because you have trust and credibility.
But how do you build trust and credibility when you’re starting from scratch? Here’s how you go about doing it.
#7 Demonstrate that you can give transformations
a. Hold hot seat sessions
Are you a brand strategist? Show your audience live, the elements on their site that are not working for their brand. If you’re a coach, do a coaching session on camera with your audience.
b. Conduct challenges
While challenges do take time and effort to set up, they help you fast track your path to building authority because you’re helping participants achieve a specific desired outcome or helping them find answers to a problem in a short span of time. If you add a video component, either in the material you deliver daily or when you show up live in the pop-up Facebook group, you also help to amp up your KNOW-LIKE-TRUST factor.
c. Hold office hours
Let your readers know that you will be available to take questions.
Host a virtual office hours or twitter chat.
See how Marianne Manthey from Design Your Own Lovely Blog used to do it before.
#8 Answer questions on Quora
If you’re not familiar with Quora, it’s an online platform which allows you to answer questions in your niche.
Here are the steps you can take:
a. Create a free account
b. Craft a killer bio
c. Search for topics related to your niche like Parenting, Blogging, Self Improvement or Entrepreneurship based on key words.
You can choose to follow as many topics as you want.
e. Once you pick a question within a topic that interests you, find out if it’s worth your time.
Look beneath the question header on the number of followers a particular questions has. This question below on the topic of ‘Blogging’ has 221 followers.
But there are several questions in other topics with followers in the thousands.
This tells you the number of people who may get notifications once your answer goes live.
Click on the 3 dots and select ‘Answer Later’ in the drop down. This will be stored in your profile.
Post your answer after you craft it. They key is to craft a quality reply that gets people curious. Your answer may also get upvoted.
Related: See this article on Blogging Boost on How to Turn Quora into a Traffic-Driving Machine for Your Blog
#9 Guest post on Authority sites
Not as revolutionary as you were expecting right?
Guest posting can seem like a pretty duh concept. But it’s one that it important to establish your authority and position you as an expert.
Don’t get hung up over the big sites Entrepreneur.com, Business Insider, Forbes.
Several bloggers quit guest posting because they don’t get featured on big sites despite several attempts.
Look for other blogs with a smaller but sizable audience.
#10 Be the experiment
The great thing about being new, you can build authority.
If you’re advocating a particular method, tool or strategy, test drive it yourself and post up your results.
Even if it didn’t go as well as you planned, let your audience know, no matter how small.
They will appreciate your honesty.
And everyone appreciates a good experiment or challenge. That’s the reason why income reports are so interesting to read.
#11 Give your ideas away—for free
Ever read a list post and another point popped into your mind?
Have an awesome idea to market someone’s product or course?
See a sales page which could have used more details?
I’m sure you have have had at least one of these before.
But what did you do about it?
You let the idea or thought slip.
I’m guilty of this as well.
I’ve had several of these moments but did nothing because…
- It takes time to send someone an email
- I wondered if they’d think I was a pest or trying to be a know-it-all.
- I thought they probably didn’t consider the idea because they didn’t think it was any good.
But here’s the thing…
Once I started to do it…I realised that people genuinely didn’t think of that idea, point or perspective.
They were thankful and appreciative.
It also gives you an awesome opportunity to get on an influencer’s radar.
Here’s how you can do this:
Look at your favourite blogs and websites. Think of how you could help them in the following areas:
- How their website could be improved
- How their course could be improved
- Content ideas for future blog posts
- A perspective you could add
- Marketing ideas for their course
- How to repurpose a piece of blog post
Even if you just have feedback or a single idea, choose to let them know.
Package your thoughts and shoot them an email.
Here’s a message template you can use. Don’t forget to get to pique their interest with your subject headline.
Hi [Influencer’s first name], Hope things are going well. I’m <your name> from <your brand> Just wanted to let you know that I’ve enjoyed reading your blog and have learned a ton. I know you probably get a LOT of emails from people looking for your insight, so I’ll keep this really short. I was reading your blog post on <title and link>. It was an excellent article and i found a lot of actionable advice for my own business. I wanted to share another <point or perspective> that you may find interesting. <Elaborate on idea> I hope you found this useful. Let me know what you think or if I could be of help in any way.
Hi [Influencer’s first name],
Hope things are going well.
I’m <your name> from <your brand>
Just wanted to let you know that I’ve enjoyed reading your blog and have learned a ton.
I know you probably get a LOT of emails from people looking for your insight, so I’ll keep this really short.
I was reading your blog post on <title and link>. It was an excellent article and i found a lot of actionable advice for my own business. I wanted to share another <point or perspective> that you may find interesting.
<Elaborate on idea>
I hope you found this useful. Let me know what you think or if I could be of help in any way.
Related: See Erin Etchberry’s experience of sharing his ideas and the opportunities it opened up in his article – How I Landed 5 Dream Jobs In One Month By Giving Away My Best Ideas
Marketing doesn’t have to be about blowing your own trumpet.
There are several subtle ways that you can market yourself and build your credibility as an expert.
Because being seen as an expert is as much about your social proof and visibility as it is about the depth of knowledge you have.Being seen as an expert is as much about your social proof and visibility as it is about the depth of knowledge you haveClick To Tweet
#12 Tell Google how you want to be ‘seen’
How do you appear on Google Search? Is it immediately clear what you do and who you help serve? When you google your name, does your website appear at the top of Google’s search results?
Here are screenshots of two other entrepreneurs and how they appear on the Google Search feed. As you can see, it’s evident at a glance what type of business they have as well as who they help serve. If you have the Yoast plug-in, it’s really simple to “tell” Google how you want to appear on the search feed.
#13 Show that you’re relatable and likable
People do business or follow people whom they can relate to or like.
If you’re building an expert business, you want to place your picture front and center on the header of your website, on your side bar, as well as on your about page. This helps your audience connect with you and put a face to your brand.
So consider ditching the stock photo for a picture of your own.
#14 Leverage herd mentality or fear of missing out with social proof
If this many people have listened to this podcast, are in this Facebook group, have taken this course, or have downloaded this guide, it has to be good, right?
Something about the power of numbers stirs people to take action because they don’t want to be at the losing end.
See how Raelyn Tan does it on her site.
You don’t have to have a huge email list or follower numbers in the millions to use this method. A hack to get around this is to use the sum of all followers on all your social media channels and your email subscribers.
#15 Show authority markers or “as seen in” logos
Numbers, logos of places you’ve been featured on, testimonials…all of these are authority markers.
Having such markers on your site are simple but highly effective ways to boost your credibility. These position you as an expert and first time visitors to your site wil be able to quickly connect
Here’s what to do next
Building authority and positioning yourself as an expert takes time.
But with these 15 steps you’ll know how to do it in a targeted way.
Start by incorporating 1 or 2 items at a time into your process.
Start with the one that you find the easiest to implement. My new amazon book is all about building your online influence even if you’ve ever said the words ‘But I’m not an expert’. Grab a FREE Chapter of the book here!
Share your thoughts
In what ways have you positioned yourself as an expert. What’s your biggest struggle in the process? Tell me in the comments below.
Get a FREE Chapter of my Amazon book - 'But I'm not an expert!'