How to get recognised as an expert and build a following

Posted on: February 28, 2019

How to become an expertWhen faced with an overwhelming choice, customers don’t always pick the cheapest provider.  In many cases, they favour those they know or who come recommended. They also look to see who appears to have greater ‘mastery’ in that specific area. In short, experts bring greater appeal and reassurance in the buying process.

An expert who is very visible in our chosen communication channels and who speaks our language soon becomes familiar. We may even trust them, without meeting them. If we…

  • believe in their message or solutions and find them credible
  • like the way they relay that message

…we will be happy to engage with them. We may even seek out their expertise on a regular basis – we may, in fact, become a devoted fan, follower or customer.


Becoming an expert – it’s not just what you say but how you say it

Experts come in all shapes and sizes. Not all are the traditional scientific-types, fuelled by statistic-led research or the results of their experiments. In today’s information-overloaded and technology-fueled world, people take notice of experts whose thought and opinion is more practical, quick to digest and echoes their interests and values.

It means a whole new breed of experts, or ‘influencers’ as many have also become known, are building a following around more experiential messages.  For example:

  • what they’ve achieved and learned
  • studies they’ve conducted
  • their specific experiences and situations they’ve witnessed
  • trends they’ve observed
  • thoughts and ideas they’ve had
  • things they’ve read and have a view on
  • people they’ve met and been influenced by

The clearer and more approachable those experts are in conveying their thinking, the more engaging and appealing they become. People like guidance and ideas on how to make things better or easier.


Getting recognised as an expert

It sounds obvious, but you need to be  clear what expertise you want to become well-known for. Ideally, it should be fairly straightforward to convey to people, and if you aren’t clear in any way, it’ll be hard to convince others.

Also, expert status is created over time and from a strategy which mixes in the best communication channels for the target audience you are trying to attract.

Your reputation as an expert will come from the credibility you build with them, and how consistent you are over time in your key messages/approach to them. It will also be strengthened (or weakened) by how well you evolve your expertise to anticipate and reflect changes, new attitudes and trends in that market.


Building a following

Set clear objectivesYou will only become recognised as an expert if people believe in you and are prepared to listen and accept what you say.  Be clear who your followers will be and who you want to appeal to. What is their profile? What opportunities and challenges are they facing? In which sectors do they proliferate?

The more you understand the issues they’re facing, the more relevant help and commentary you can create. Remember that in our busy and noisy lives, we don’t just want issues reported, we crave ‘quick to grasp’ guidance on what to do as a result of them. Solutions do not necessarily have to be completely new, we also like revisions or simpler and more practical ways to tackle or achieve something.


Your promotional plan

Start your planning earlyWith so many communications channels available, it is important to only select those which best reach your target following.  It is unlikely that one channel alone will build your credibility and your approach may need to blend in several. Select those which your target audience most engage with and be visible there.

Consider this ‘pick and mix’ of activities to showcase your expertise and build a following:

  • ‘weightier’ content – articles, books, guides, fact-sheets, tips, white papers, published research, survey findings, case studies, stories and examples
  • video
  • podcasts
  • speaking opportunities – presentations, conferences, workshops, webinars,
  • social media posts and articles
  • blog posts and other content from your website
  • press comment and media interviews


Generating a decent return on investment

If your following are engaged by what you say and share, they are more likely to turn to you when they have a need.

And, when it comes to the commercial value of being recognised as an expert, people will often pay a premium for expertise they see distinct relevance and value in. This does mean the experience you wrap around your ‘expert’ business offering needs to be of equally high quality and worthy of its position at the premium end of the market.


Final checklist

Those who easily relate to their target audience and adapt with the changes that audience experiences, have a greater chance of becoming highly sought-after experts.

If you feel expert status could enhance your business offering or professional reputation then consider:

  • What expertise do you want to be known for?
  • How you will differ from other experts in the field?
  • Which market/audience would you like to attract?
  • What communication channels best serve that market?
  • What do you need to do and say and how do you need to communicate in order to capture your audience’s interest and ensure they are happy to listen to you or continue to give you their time (consider others they follow and engage with)
  • What needs to change in relation to your personal and professional persona to make you appeal to that market – especially in terms of first impressions and then ongoing loyalty

Also, be sure to respond positively and promptly to any interaction you receive from your followers.  If you’re responsive and listen, more people are likely to follow you.


Can we help?

If you need help raising your profile, building a personal brand or showcasing your expertise do get contact us or tel. 01483 429111.  Also, check out our work in reputation management and thought leadership creation.

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