Expertise is not something new to most of us. In fact, we have heard our whole lives about “experts” in this and that and in Law and Order episodes (don’t act like you never watched it, I see you.) And I myself have written about it here on the blog. But really, what most people don’t seem to know about expertise or most experts is that it does not require a certain level of formal education, there is not expert picking committee, and above all else that there is no magic moment. Really, all it takes to be an expert in your field (or any field for that matter) is an authoritative knowledge in a field.
This can mean that you have read 1,000 books on botany and have been scouring the world for plants for fun and be an expert. This can mean that you built a blog that pays your bills or at least your student loans while having a full time job and be an expert.
All in all, if you have knowledge that someone else doesn’t have, then you can be an expert; Which also means that if you have a brand, you can sell your expertise. In fact, your brand is possibly your biggest tool to sell your expertise aside from what's rattling around that brain of yours.
Your Brand As A Tool
As I said, your brand is probably your most valuable tool in not just selling your expertise, but proving it, which makes it the most valuable employee your company has, next to you. And as I’m always up on my soapbox shouting about, your brand works for you on a two pronged front.
First, visuals act as the attractor. Human people (especially in today’s world) are very, very visual beings. And with our attention spans getting shorter, it’s getting harder to just attract people without the right kind of allure. Your images can be of pretty much anything that is on brand for you (I use fake plants, office supplies, and my cat because I love those things) and make sure that no matter what the content is, the feel is the same.
Second, your branding work. Your tone, your voice, your overall feel in your brand. These are the things that get people to stay. People that don’t stay don’t have the chance to get to know what an expert you are. Part of using your brand to establish expertise is earning the trust of the people that are visiting your content. This is the part of the brand that people will tend to call your “vibe.”
How And Why This Works
You look legit. In a world full of internet scams, cold phone calls from robots, and having your credit card info stolen by someone walking by, people are (or should be) more skeptical than ever of yet another online business. Essentially, your customers have expectations of how you should present yourself. Example, if you don’t show up when they Google you, problem. If your website looks like it Marty McFly-ed it’s way out of 2002, problem. If you aren’t using a photo of yourself, just a logo, problem. Legitimate brands are respected and trusted. Respected and trusted brands not only get established as experts but convert.
You can put your best foot forward. Total transparency right now. I am writing this after hopping out of the shower at 6:05 am in my bathrobe. Now would I go post a photo of this on Instagram? No, for a couple different reasons. First, it’s nobody’s business. Second, it doesn’t leave a great impression for people who are just finding out I exist in the world. Third, it’s not on brand for me. Those three reasons are good enough for me to say that a photo of that doesn’t belong on the internet. I’ve heard people say that by picking and choosing what goes on the web is misrepresentation. I disagree. Picking and choosing has a word and it’s called curating. Curation of content to 1) fit your brand, 2) protect your privacy, and 3) serve your ideal client is just good business. Now that doesn’t always look like marble backed flat lays (I heard the eye roll from here)
Cohesion leads to identifiable leads to memorable. Not so fun fact. The average person has to be exposed to something seven times before it sticks in their brain. Ever wonder why they sometimes play the same car commercial four times in one half hour sitcom? This is why. Leverage your brand to be the tool it is and get to memorable, which starts gaining trust, which leads to expertise. Holy moly, brought it back around.
How To Leverage Your Brand To Build Expertise
In a single phrase? Content marketing. Hands down. Number one way to establish yourself as an expert is to create content and give it all away.
“Give it all away! How will I make money?” By doing the things that you’re giving away, silly.
See this is how this typically works. People want to be educated. So they Google something, find you on Instagram, run across you in a Facebook group, etc. And they start digging into your content. Sometimes by just reading it all. Sometimes by honing in on what they really want from you and searching for the content they want. Either way, they find it. You have given all of your knowledge away. You’ve created a step by step guide for goodness’ sake!
But the thing is, we are all human. You know that feeling that you get when you look at a recipe or a DIY pallet project or pretty much anything that makes you go, “Yeah… nevermind.” Well how likely would you be to order that same dish when you're out to eat? Or would you buy that coffee table if you didn’t have to build it? I’ll bet you would. See where this is going?
Just because you gave it all away to someone doesn’t mean that they have the skills, complete knowledge, or even the desire to actually do it. Period.
This also creates another layer of trust. See the way sales works is that if you try to go the full monty right off the bat, you’re not going to have as much success as you would if you created micro transactions throughout your content and experience. Here’s what I mean. If I ask you to sign up for my email list and you say yes, that is a micro transaction. Even better, if I offer you a free workbook for your email, that is a micro transaction. The big takeaway here is that all of those little transactions are opportunities to not just get a “yes” from someone, but to build trust and establish expertise.
If you take nothing else away from this post, please, please take this. There is no magic moment. There is no Grand Poobah somewhere making the call. Establishing yourself as an expert takes work, commitment, positioning, and possibly above all else, a consistent effort.
That’s it. No magic involved. Just good old fashioned strategy and work.