Being an expert in your field is great but being an expert whose expertise is visible to many is what brings elite professional benefits. For starters, the media will seek you to serve on discussion panels or for comments on matters pertaining to your field. Organizations will seek you out to serve on their boards or to speak at conferences. The visibility generated from these activities will give you credibility drawing many prospective clients to you; allowing you the freedom to charge higher fees – and thus, earn more money. In all, you will be in a very strong position to build a very successful brand.
However, achieving ‘expert visibility’ does not happen on the whim. There is a definite process to be followed and I have covered the first part of the process here to help you gain insight that you can leverage to start on your path to making your expertise visible so that you will enjoy extra-ordinary professional benefits. The process involves the following steps:
1. Make a Commitment – Achieving any major goal or objective requires that you make a decision and a commitment to achieving the goal in the first place. A decision to commit yourself to your cause is what will fuel your efforts and drive you to wake up every day and engage in the activities that will get you to your desired end point. Making your expertise visible is no different. Achieving this objective would require you to make a commitment to engage in certain activities on a consistent basis for you to see the result that you desire. Without the commitment to ‘stick with it’, you are likely to get distracted along the way by the demands of other endeavours that will equally require your time and involvement.
2. Decide on a Niche Area to Focus on – It is possible that you are good at more than one thing but at the start of your quest to achieve ‘expert visibility’, attempting to project expertise in more than one area will more likely dilute your reputation than enhance it. So you have to figure out quickly which area of expertise you want to project. Whatever you choose, make sure it is something that you are good at and that reflects your strength. Projecting one clear and definite area of expertise makes you stand out from the crowd. Moreover, it makes it easier for people to find you when they are looking for someone in the field. Once people find you and you start working with them, they will get to discover the other things you are good at and can help them with. For now, stick with just one key expertise.
3. Have Your Own Platform – A Website/Blog – If you really want to take this ‘visible expert’ business seriously then having your own platform is non-negotiable. Fortunately, it is pretty easy right now to own a website or a blog where you can constantly publish content and project your insight and ideas. Having a professionally designed website or blog increases your credibility and makes it easier for people to see you as a figure they can trust as a reliable source of information on your topic. To ensure that your website or blog bears a professional look and feel, see that it is not only fully optimized but that it also has a professional colour theme, logo and an easy-to-remember brand name. If you can design a solid website by yourself, by all means do. If you cannot, then hire a good website designer and work with him to create something that adequately fit your objective.
4. Build a Robust Presence on Social Media – In the digital era, not having a robust presence on social media – particularly on LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook and Instagram – is already a big minus from your image as an up-to-date professional. Having a robust social media presence, with your profiles fully filled out allows people to find you and affords you the opportunity to present your credentials and give people a way to contact you, if they want to. LinkedIn particularly, presents you with a platform to put on display your skills, accomplishments and experience – more like your resume – so that anyone who wants to get an idea of your professional experience and competence can do so by simply viewing your LinkedIn page. However, I have found that there are quite a few people with rather scanty profiles on LinkedIn which is a reality that do a lot of harm to their reputation. Because when someone who wants to know more about you get to your LinkedIn page and do not find useful or detailed information about you, most times, they write you off because they conclude that if you can’t be bothered to fill out your LinkedIn profile then how can they trust your competence and reliability?
5. Create Content Regularly and Share it Widely – This is the one thing that critical in making your expertise shine through. Consistently creating useful and highly informative content and sharing it widely will convey to your audience that you have an in-depth knowledge of the subject and you are the right source of information on your topic. The content you create could take the form of articles, blogposts, videos, podcasts, ebooks or whatever forms that would be best accessed by your audience.
Once you have created the content, you should look to share it as widely as you can, targeting specifically, the platforms where your audience congregate. And mind you, you don’t always have to create new content for each platform. You can always repurpose content that you have already created and used on one platform for use on another platform. For instance, you can repurpose an article into a tutorial video. A collection of articles could easily become an ebook while excerpts from an ebook you have written could become a series of blog posts on your social media pages. Ways of sharing your content include:
Posting on Your Blog/Website – As I said earlier, if you can, get a website or a blog developed for you so that you will have a platform where you can freely post your content all the time. If the website or blog is properly developed, you should be able to upload any form of content on it, whether it is an article, a video or an ebook
Posting on Social Media: – According to Jeff Bullas, 72 percent of all Internet users are active on social media. It’s very probable that this 72% include a chunk of your target audience. If we have this number of people on social media, it will be gross negligence on your part to not post your content on social media after investing time and energy to create it. Set up pages on LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, YouTube and Google+ and look to always share your content on these platforms.
Guest-Posting on Other Blogs – This is about finding popular and high-traffic websites or blogs that cater to your niche or target audience and trying to get your content published on them as frequently as possible. The fact that a popular and high-traffic website publish your article will significantly add to your credibility. Moreover, you can always leverage the opportunity to include in your guest post one or two links to articles you have already published on your own website/blog so that readers can follow the links back to your blog.