To add to your attractability, you need to position yourself as an authority in your field. And the best way to do that is by becoming a recognized expert, which you can do through, among others, vertical specialization.
But once you do, the next step is to communicate and amplify your authority. It makes no sense to become a recognized expert when no one recognizes you — or better said, when no one knows you or knows enough about you.
So here it is.
Before I dive in, I know you may be doing some of these already. But, and forgive me for sounding a bit Coveyvian, if you do them without doing the first things first, many of your efforts may be in vain or with less ampleur.
So here are some of the most common authority-based activities you can do to help market yourself and become a recognized authority in your field.
By far, this is the most important step to follow.
Branding, particularly personal branding, is not for the sake of getting your ego in the spotlight. In fact, your unique expertise is attached to you, what you do, what you offer, and how you do it. So your unique expertise is your brand.
But creating an identifiable and distinct brand around your expertise adds value because it generates top-of-mind awareness, communicates inherent competitive advantages, and above all, feeds your SEO machine.
People who get to know you and hear about you will feel an affinity with who you are and what you stand for. So they will remember you, look you up when they need you, or tell others about you openly. And often.
But you don’t do it by yelling “I’m an expert!” You do it through implication, and remember that implication is more powerful than specification. You do it by labeling yourself in a way where your expertise is implied.
You do it through your branding, tagline, position statement, and names on your business, products/services, and processes (including your work processes as well as your thought processes, such as your intellectual property).
For example, if people don’t know you or they only know your credentials, then saying you’re “an authority on hair transplants” is nothing remarkable, and may even seem suspect and self-serving.
But if you said you’re the creator of the Microfollicular Redistribution™ process, then you are an authority because you appear as an industry pioneer.
You’re instantly claiming your expertise without having to flaunt it. And instead of going up against other surgeons in an already highly competitive and overly saturated hair transplant category, you are creating your own category, and becoming the leader in it because no one else is competing with you.
Nevertheless, once you claimed your expertise, don’t forget to promote your brand in everything you do, say, and write. That includes your style, your logo, your tagline, your color scheme, your voice, and all those things that add attractability to your expertise.
Use it in all your collateral materials, in your content, and with your people. For example, each time Seth Godin ends a book or presentation, he signs off with “go make a ruckus.” That’s his thing. His signature. His purple cow.
Content marketing is by far the best and most productive way to communicate and amplify your expertise. While the first one above was “claim your expertise,” I could have called this one “share your expertise.”
The goal is create content assets that you can leverage and disseminate. There are many types. You can write or create:
- Print books
- Blog posts
- White papers
- Kindle books
- Case studies
- Quickstart guides
- Slide decks
- Social media posts
- Video recordings
- Audio recordings
- Web apps
- Phone apps
- Guest posts
This is a partial list. But of all these, writing your book is definitely a priority as it is one of the most effective tools for establishing yourself as an authority.
Authors are instantly perceived as experts on their subject matter. But your book also creates a domino effect and helps other areas (including those I will cover in this article), such as building a following, attracting media attention, creating speaking opportunities, and of course, selling yourself to ideal clients.
An expert doesn’t have to speak publicly to prove their expertise. Their written, audio, and video content should communicate that. However, proving their authority can often be better communicated in a live, public setting.
There are many reasons for this.
I understand this is not for everyone. But public speaking, though it’s a fear for many, is an incredibly powerful tool to communicate your authority.
It’s about having the courage to speak your truth and the ability to speak on your feet. Because that is what communicates authority: your ability to speak authoritatively, which can be hard to appreciate in a written format.
While public speaking can be prewritten and rehearsed, the ability to speak in front of others, in a live setting, adds an extra dimension to your content.
It doesn’t matter if it’s from the stage, lectern, podium, or pulpit, or if it’s in an auditorium or in front of a camera, you can truly judge someone’s level of expertise, knowledge, and authenticity when you see them speak live.
You can perceive the meta-messages, the messages beyond the message — the subtle cues and nuances you wouldn’t be able to capture in written text.
Body language and vocal characteristics — like posture, stance, mannerisms, pitch, volume, inflection, and so much more — offer clues as to the person’s level of credibility, clues that are often perceived unconsciously.
More importantly, these clues also convey the level of confidence, belief, and conviction they have in their expertise, knowledge, and point-of-view.
Sure, an expert can be incredibly knowledgeable in their field but still sound dry, boring, or dispassionate. (I know of a few college professors who exemplify this quite well, thank you very much.) And you certainly can communicate your expertise without uttering a single word in public.
But to be a recognized authority, you have to be able to sell ideas, as well as your services, in a public setting. At least in a face-to-face situation.
Also, you don’t need to learn public speaking skills. As a former executive speaking coach said, “Speaker training is helpful — if you want to be a professional speaker.” As she said in this article with which I agree wholeheartedly: “Authenticity overrides form.” I also like this passage:
Watch a few TED talks. You’ll find plenty of reticent, wonky presenters who are fascinating. What makes a person a strong presenter is that their presence shines through, showing their passion and expertise for their topic.Kristi Hedges
So grab every chance you can to speak. Host live events, such as YouTube and Facebook livestreams, which you can restream with tools like Streamyard. If you don’t know what to say, do live Q&As, opinion pieces, or Zoom meetups.
Of course, there are live teleseminars and webinars, too. While you could (and should) record these to use as additional content assets, they are first done live and provide that extra dimension I talked about.
Social media is definitely important when it comes to amplifying your content. But the true power of social media is reaching your audience and creating a following — people who are genuinely interested in what you have to say.
Some professionals have audiences so large that they’ve reached influencer status. But you don’t need to rise (or stoop, as some might argue) to the level of a Kardashian. And you certainly don’t need to create a cult of personality.
But having and leveraging a group of people who follow what you say, post, do, or share can help augment and propagate your expertise.
Whether it’s on third-party platforms such as social networks, or on your own platforms such as your blog or email list, building a following along with a connection with your followers also creates a valuable, leverageable asset.
Your followers will resonate with you, write content about you, refer others to you, evangelize for you, and even defend you if your integrity or credibility is ever questioned let alone attacked.
Speaking of third-party platforms, remember that the second largest search engine in the world is YouTube. People search YouTube as often as they do Google to find information, particularly how-to information.
It goes to reason that you need to have video content on YouTube as well. However, the secondary benefit is the ability to create a loyal fanbase of subscribers who are eager to watch every video you publish.
Often, people share videos they find (or from channels they follow) on other platforms — including in their social media feeds, on their blogs, to their lists, or within their own content pieces.
Which brings me to the next point…
Without question, owning your own content assets is essential. They, along with your following (such as your list), are assets you can leverage to help promote your expertise and authority. But often, you can leverage other people’s content assets, platforms, or followings, too.
One of the many tools I used when I first started out, for example, was creating strategic marketing alliances. I was fortunate and grateful to have created some richly rewarding partnerships and joint ventures that allowed me to tap into other pools of clients, leads, and followers.
Early in my career, I learned from marketing guru Dan Kennedy to “be prolific.” And it is as effective today as it was back then — even with the Internet.
Being a prolific author often means to have a large body of work. But being a prolific authority is to be ubiquitous, too. To be everywhere (that counts).
One way to expand your reach is to run your own affiliate program. Having affiliates is one of the easiest ways to proliferate your authority, which is just a way of paying others a finder’s fee or commission for referring someone to you.
But for many licensed professionals, doing this is highly regulated, discouraged, even prohibited. However, there are ways to create alliances and leverage other people, without getting any kickbacks or offering any kind of incentive.
For example, offer your expertise they can use in their content assets.
Offer to write guest posts, contribute to their newsletters, become a guest on their podcasts, respond to their interviews, help in causes important to them, create your own association (or at least join and help them), and so on.
Other publications, blogs, and shows are desperate for content. Make yourself available or offer to provide fresh, unique content they can use.
While you can contribute to others who appeal to similar audiences, don’t ignore mainstream media. HARO, or “Help a Reporter Out,” is a great service that allows you to connect with reporters who need experts like you.
Then there are third-party learning platforms you can sell courses on or publish free courses to. There are many, but some of the most popular ones are Udemy, Teachable, Thinkific, Podia, LinkedIn Learning, Coursera, and Skillshare.
There’s also marketing and affiliate networks you can sell courses through, like Clickbank, JVZoo, ShareASale, and many others (and let’s not forget Amazon).
When you create courses, you certainly can host and sell them yourself. But by also using these third-party platforms, you can leverage their existing exposure, affiliate programs, and database of ready-to-promote affiliates, as well as their existing traffic and clients.
Finally, don’t forget to be active on other platforms as well. Engaging others on social media platforms, blogs, emails lists, or livestream events, such as asking questions or commenting on other people’s posts, allow you to piggyback on other people’s brand and level of reach.
In short, you’re demonstrating your expertise to an already captive and targeted audience — even if it’s not yours, as long as it is ethical to do so.
A final word.
Being an expert is relatively easy. Being an authority can be just as easy. But being a recognized authority takes work. It’s not an overnight process, I agree, But it doesn’t have to take as much time as you think.
Just create content assets and use platforms, yours as well as those of others, that allow you to amplify your expertise so that people can find you, learn about you, follow you, buy from you, and tell others about you.
In other words, be become a recognized authority, you need to amplify it.