Everyone in the marketing world is talking about content marketing, and with good reason. Good content marketing can drive your business, position you as a thought leader in your industry, and expose your business to new customers who have never heard of your brand before.
In fact, the concept of becoming a thought leader, and expert and authority, in your industry is one of the key value propositions of content marketing. How do you show your audience that you are the real deal?
Align yourself with other experts in the field
In the Internet age, some of this is obvious. Figure out who the experts are in your field and follow them. Share their content on your social media networks with your own commentary. Marketers could, for example, share Seth Godin’s latest post with comments about how the strategy being discussed has worked for their business.
But there are other strategies that work just as well and focus on brick and mortar communities. Join your local Chamber of Commerce and connect with other entrepreneurs in your field. Find the trade organizations and message boards and publications for your industry and connect with them. Make sure that when other experts in your industry go looking for you, you’re easy to find.
Be proud of specializing
There’s a reason the saying goes “jack of all trades, master of none.” While it’s entirely possible for a company to have some success in several sub-areas of an industry, the Internet has shown us how companies that have very specific specialties can have explosive popularity. Take the company Hero Forge as an example.
Tabletop miniatures have existed for many years, but with the growing popularity and cost effectiveness of 3D printing, Hero Forge has created an interactive online system where fans of miniature based role playing games can use a wide variety of specifications to create a personalized miniature for their specific character. With a 3D printer, Hero Forge could create virtually any type of product that they wanted, but by offering a very specific product, they’ve been able to tap into a niche of gamers who want to have complete visual control of their miniature.
Offer to speak about your expertise
From trade shows to guest posts, one way to demonstrate your expertise is to offer informative, engaging talks to audiences. Don’t wait for people to come to you; they won’t until you have tons of name recognition. Instead, develop a pitch that shows what you can talk about, how you’ll make your presentation unique and interesting, and talks about why you are the perfect person to tell this story.
A caveat; when you first begin to create blog posts or book speaking engagements, you may find that you’re expected to do these things for free. Carefully consider the amount of exposure you’ll get to see whether or not it’s worth it for you. If you’re not connecting with your audience or building your resume, you might not feel like it’s worth it without at least a small fee. It’s up to you.
Show, Don’t Tell
If someone tells me they’re an expert in a particular industry, I make a mental note about it. If they show me that they’re an expert, I believe them. If you really are an authority in your industry, you’re going to gain more respect and influence by showing what you know rather than insisting that you’re an expert.
It’s also worth remembering: just because you’re an expert today doesn’t mean you’ll be an expert tomorrow. Every industry right now is experiencing increasing disruption due to the Internet of Things, the sharing economy, and the ongoing status of the economy around us. That’s not likely to stop any time soon. A real expert knows that they need to be constantly learning from those around them, developing their knowledge and ensuring that they stay on the top of their game.
When you establish yourself as an expert, authority, and thought leader in your field, you are in a position to see increased sales at your company, bring in new customers, and create crucial word of mouth buzz and organic sharing of your content and promotions. You’ll find that customers, slowly but surely, begin to come to you instead you needing to hustle as hard to seek them out.
What do you think are the key strategies to showing yourself to be an expert in your field?