Developing a reputation as an expert in your line of work is a surefire way to bring in more business. But how do you go about getting people to see you as an authority in your field? You could earn a Ph.D., but that is time consuming and expensive, and you would still have to find a way to let people know about your hard-earned credentials. Or, you could offer to be interviewed on the nightly news if there's a need for someone with your knowledge, but that's usually easier if you're already known as something of an expert.
So what do you do to make people aware of your experience? How do you become known for what you know? Here are several strategies that can help you build your presence as a professional with expertise.
1. Answer questions
Websites like Quora have millions of questions from people looking for expert answers. When potential customers begin the buying process, often one of the first things they do is go online to look for information or find an answer to their problem.
Spend a few minutes on a regular basis giving helpful answers on sites like this. That way, people who visit the site with the same question in the future will see that you've already helped someone else, with no expectation of anything in return. You'll be seen as trustworthy and approachable.
2. Create content for your business, and then create more content
If you were a rocket scientist, the institution you worked for would expect you to publish your research in peer-reviewed journals on a regular basis. In most cases, the more you publish, the better your reputation.
The concept holds true for non-academics, as well — and it's a lot easier to publish information online than in a trade journal. We benefit from a lower barrier to entry. You can answer all kinds of questions from every stage in the buyer's journey and post that information on your website.
As viewers read, share, and backlink to your content, you also get the bonus of Google considering you an expert, which, in turn, drives more traffic to your business.
3. Take a deep dive into your chosen topics
As noted earlier, it's easy to publish information on a website. Virtually anyone can toss information together and call it an article. That doesn't mean it will be helpful.
If you think about it, this is good news! With so much hyper-generalized information available online, you have plenty of opportunities to show off your knowledge and set your website apart from the competition.
Consider this: Someone clicks the top three to five Google results for their question. Let's say that four of those articles rehash the same information. Your website, on the other hand, offers a more in-depth explanation. Who is the reader going to trust?
If possible, take an opinionated stance on your topic. If you have firm opinions that you can back up with data, sharing that with your readers will build trust faster than trying to please everyone with a middle-of-the-road viewpoint.
4. Create a needed course for people to watch online
Creating an online course isn't for someone expecting to put in low effort and get high return. Even with all of the open-source software available to create a course, it takes a considerable amount of time to do it properly.
Start by researching what your prospects want to know. The goal is to create a course that helps them gain the knowledge they want. By the time they've completed the course and learned what they came for, they will have established an impression of you as the expert.
5. Write a book
Independent publishing has made it easy to publish a book. Readers don't care about the publisher. They don't even look. They won't know whether you spent years pitching your idea or hit the publish button yourself.
Being an author of a book gives you credibility, even if it doesn't sell particularly well. You can also use it as a lead magnet for your higher-ticket prospects.
Here's the key: People assume that if you've written a book, you're a credible source of information. There's a whole section called "Writing a Book" here on Entrepreneur that can help you get started.
6. Earn social proof
Your prospects will take anything you say about yourself with a whole shaker of table salt. But people will believe anything someone else says about you by default.
Gather reviews, client testimonials, and ratings on industry sites. Beg for reviews, if that's what it takes. Ideally, you can get happy clients' permission to attach their photo to their quote for extra credibility.
Think about all of the identical items on Amazon. Which one do you buy? The one with the biggest number of positive reviews. Which reviews count the most? The ones where the reviewer attached a picture.
7. Be expensive
If you're an expert, charge like an expert. The son of Gary Halbert (one of the greatest copywriters of all time) describes his father like this in The Boron Letters:
"If he [Gary Halbert] found out someone was charging more for an ad, he raised his price. He was the best and he was putting it out there. Carry yourself with confidence (not arrogance) in everything you do and people will respond in a good way."
Taking supply and demand into consideration, you should do the same. Most people have been conditioned to assume that expensive equals quality. In the minds of buyers, when you charge more than others you're telling them you have superior skills.
In our increasingly connected world, it's every bit as important to market your expertise as it is to acquire it.
You can stack these strategies on each other, like cinder blocks, to build your credibility. When you build your tower of expertise tall enough for people to see it, it will stand for decades.