How to Become an Online Expert in Your Industry
There is a shit load of competition online, in every single industry and niche. Every single person and brand is fighting to be the thought leader and perceived expert.
Because when you are able to achieve this status, it opens up opportunities and the end result is business growth and sales. It should be no surprise that the “experts” attract the most business, even if they don’t offer a more superior product or service.
It’s true. A marginal or mediocre product or service can out-perform the better one, simply by having the designation as being the industry expert. The SEO industry is a perfect example of how this works.
There are a few “characters” that people assume are the best SEOs in the world, simply because they are featured in all of the big media articles and have ads running on YouTube and large social media following.
They aren’t even close to the best. What they are good at it:
- Press outreach and paying to be featured on list posts about experts
- Running YouTube ads targeting people that engage with SEO content online
- Paying to buy followers and running follow/unfollow bots to juice their profiles
The last thing they are good at is SEO. They are marketers, proving how image sells, not necessarily skill. They are good at telling a story, not necessarily ranking pages. If you really want to see how piss poor they are at SEO, take a look at their own sites and their agency websites. You will find weak link profiles and no on-page optimization. They appear to actually know nothing about SEO, yet they are labeled as experts. This is proof that being the expert pays off. Now, when you combine that online designation with a great product or service, then you have the ultimate recipe for success.
In this post, I want to outline how anyone, regardless of your niche, can build up your personal brand and business to expert level status. Doing so will pay off in many ways, including putting more money in your pocket.
So here is how to become an Online Expert in your industry..
Build a Marketing Hub
If you really want to position yourself as an expert, you need to be found online, and across several different outlets –
Personal Website: It’s important to have a personal website, and you should always opt for an exact match domain name, which includes your first and last name, if it’s available. Even if you have to use a .net, .info or another TLD, go for that. If you do the SEO right, it will rank on top.
When you start to build momentum and create a strong personal brand, people will start to search for you. Your personal website needs to be the main hub, which then leads to all of your other websites if you own multiple companies or ventures, and also your social media profiles. You should always have an offer on your personal website in order to collect emails, even if you don’t know how you will use them right away. Always collect email addresses from day one, any time you launch a website or start a business. Email marketing is still one of the most effective marketing strategies.
Social Media Profiles: You must be active on at least LinkedIn, Twitter, Instagram and Facebook, and it’s important that you keep them very professional. From having professional looking header images and using professional headshots, to not posting questionable content. You must realize that your brand will be under scrutiny, and anything that someone might question as inappropriate will reflect badly on you and your business.
Video Series: YouTube is becoming a very popular way to distribute video content, and you can no longer create content that have the look and feel of an ad. It’s all about vlog series that take the viewer behind the scenes and provides an insider look on how companies operate or the day to day grind of running a business. Facebook also just announced they have a new video platform that will allow users to create shows. This is further proof that video needs to be on your radar.
Podcast: This content format is gaining popularity and some of the biggest names in all niches are producing podcasts on a weekly and even daily basis. They are easy to consume from the consumer’s standpoint. While at the gym training, or on a work commute, it’s a great way to kill time and people are subscribing to them, in record numbers. If you do decide to launch a podcast make sure you have a very unique angle.
While all of these suggestions above will give you incredible exposure, I decided to create a new section of this post for the most effective one, which is guest blogging, and you can read more about that below.
Become a Guest Blogging Machine
Aside from the SEO benefits of the links, the biggest reason to start guest blogging is to get immediate exposure to a huge audience without having to worry about traffic generation or post promotion. If you take any expert in any niche, I can promise you they guest blog for a large website. You aren’t going to get a slot on a major website right away, but you can take baby steps and eventually build your way up there.
It all comes down to patience and the willingness to put in the work. Everyone would love to start writing for Forbes or Huffington Post, but you need to already have a decent personal brand built up before they will even consider you, not to mention amazing writing skills.
Make sure that you include a blog on your personal website and use it for a few main reasons. It will help to build the authority of your website. You don’t want a website with just a few pages. Post regular content to tell Google that it’s an active site. Also, use it to showcase your writing skills and give your visitors something to engage with. You can use your own blog to paint the picture, and help convince your visitors that you are an expert.
Then, try to get a guest blog role on a smaller publication within your industry. Write often, and do it for a few months. Then, use your own blog and this guest blog position to approach a larger website. You are going to do this for a while, until you have a dozen or so examples.
Don’t be scared of the dedication, because even the small websites help to build your foundation, and if the websites receive decent traffic you are going to get website visitors, email subscribers and social media followers.
Once you have a large library of writing samples, approach the larger publications. You might contact ten and get your foot in the door at one. Use the same strategy as before. Start small and then use each new place as leverage to get in the door at another.
Mimic Other Industries
There is nothing wrong with finding someone that is doing one hell of a job at personal branding, and mimicking their strategy. You wouldn’t want to copy someone in your niche, but you can pull ideas from other industries. I mentioned SEO earlier, and these gurus are some of the best.
I previously wrote an article about Tai Lopez, and while we can argue all day and night about whether or not he is full of shit or provides value, one thing is certain. He is everywhere and knows how to position himself as an authority. He was nowhere to be found a few years ago, and now you can’t watch a YouTube video without seeing a Tai Lopez pre-roll video ad.
Neil Patel is another to look at. Everyone assumes he is the utmost authority when it comes to SEO and link building, simply because he writes for all the big sites and publishes more content than anyone else in the space. He is always ahead of the curve too, and if you pay attention you will see he has shifted his focus from blog posts to video content and podcasts.
Go All In
If you really want to become an expert, and keep yourself positioned at the top, then you have to go all in, and give it 100% nonstop. I’m going to give you a very broad example as a reference, but it’s one that I think everyone can learn from.
He’s an entrepreneur, investors and agency owner. He has a very interesting story. He started working at his parent’s wine store, and built it from $3 million in sales a year to more than $60 million a year, and he did it all through online marketing and advertising.
This was back in the early day of the internet. He was using Google AdWords when nobody else was, paying 5 cents per click. He also started a YouTube channel and did something he called Wine Library TV, which was a big success. It was the first video content available online for that niche.
He then invested in companies like Facebook, Twitter, Uber, etc. From there, he started an agency, which does the social and online marketing for some of the biggest corporations in the world.
He then started a daily YouTube series, called Ask Gary Vee, where he answered questions that came in from business owners. This helped to really build his personal brand. His social media accounts are on fire, both in terms of follower count and engagement.
Now he has a daily Vlog series, the DailyVee, that follows his day-to-day activities. It allows you to get really close to him and see how it is from his point of view. He isn’t afraid to show the truth and how much hard work is really required. He doesn’t show anything fancy. No cars. No exotic trips. No fake lifestyle shit. It’s something that nobody else does. He dedicates a lot of his time and energy to produce this content and it helped to position him at the top, and as an expert in several categories.
It led to him being selected to be a judge on Apple’s first series, Planet of the Apps, along with other celebrity judges. This happened because he went all in and gave it 100% and continues to do so day in and day out. Once you reach the top, there will be plenty of other wannabe experts nipping at your heels, so it will be even more work to remain the top expert.
Co-Market with Other Industry Influencers
This is one way to really move the process along faster. By networking with the right influencers in your niche, you can gain a lot of exposure. Here are a few of the top benefits –
Secure guest blogging spots because of a personal recommendation and/or introduction:
If you want to jump ahead of the line and receive instant consideration from an editor, have a current guest blogger make an introduction. This is how many of the top bloggers access new sites. It’s all about who you know. Sadly, that will often beat talent, so get friendly with writers at the websites you want to guest post on.
Quickly build your social media following with shout outs to relevant followers:
A shout out from an influencer, asking his or her followers to also connect with you, will help you build a loyal audience of worthwhile followers. Forget the follow/unfollow bots. Those numbers are useless unless your followers are interested in what you have to say and interested in what you sell.
Help build your email list by creating co-branded content:
C-branded content, like an infographic can help you add names and emails to your list. Reach out to an influencer and offer to have an infographic created. You handle all the creation and cost and in return ask them to send it out to their lists and share it on their platforms. You will receive traffic, followers and subscribers.
While becoming an expert in your field can have a huge upside to your business, it’s not something that is going to happen right away. It can take years of effort before you start to break through on a national level. Now, if you own a flower shop in a small town and want to become the local flower expert, that is going to happen much faster. A few major media placements and you are well on your way to becoming the authority.
Be prepared and willing to put in the time and effort it takes to rise to the top. If not, you will be wasting time and money building a foundation. Use the tips I have provided to you and you will be on your way. There are so many benefits by following this strategy.
Let me know in the comments below what industry you are in and whether or not you are going to start working your way towards an expert designation within your niche.
If you have any questions leave them below and I will do my best to help you navigate through this process. Also, if you have first-hand experience building an expert brand persona, I want to hear from you.
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