by helen on July 19, 2011

Be an honest expert    

Continuing on this week’s theme of giving people something they will find useful, what’s the one thing we all have and probably don’t share enough?


Maybe it’s because I am a consultant, and my experience is what people pay me for (well, sometimes they pay ;)) that this is so obvious to me.

Regardless of your product or service offering, if you are in business you must be pretty good at what you do. You must have a particular expertise and a host of experiences that have made you into the person you are, and your business into the success that it is.

And people will value your opinions and views.

Our insatiable thirst for stories is what is making social media such a runaway success.

So offer your opinions and views – be a mentor to other business owners through networking, offer comments on national/regional news issues to the local media, provide help via social networking platforms.

But here’s the catch. You have to do it for free. And it takes time.

First, identify who the experts are in your field. The people you turn to for help with a problem or to provide advice when you need to know the answer to “what next?”. Link up with them where you can and study how they share their experience, and which topics are generating the most interest.

Next, pick a handful of key areas or issues that you have struggled with during the course of your working life – and which relate to the service/products you now offer. Think about how you dealt with the issues, how you found a way round the problems – is your approach likely to be helpful to others?

Now share your story with others facing similar circumstances so they can make a more informed decision about what they do next.

You can share it:

  • by writing posts for your blog
  • by developing a case study for your website/newsletter/brochure
  • by keeping an eye on the news (local, regional, national, trade) to see if anyone is writing about the issues you are experienced in, and then contacting the relevant journalists/bloggers to offer your views/experiences
  • by networking with other businesses and telling your story to help them avoid the mistakes you made, or to help them make better decisions faster
  • by offering to speak at events where the audience will be interested in your story
  • by actively participating in LinkedIn and Facebook Groups relevant to your business where people may be asking questions you can answer
  • by keeping an eye on the questions posted in LinkedIn Answers and providing help as often as you can. Great advice in Momentum Search Marketing’s post How to build your business and reputation using LinkedIn Answers 

Just make sure that when you share your story, you present it in a way that makes it relevant to the intended audience.

A word of caution. Having expertise and thinking you have expertise are two very different states of mind. Don’t be something that you’re not. No-one will be fooled, and your reputation will suffer as a result.

Honesty is always the best policy.

Photo courtesy Pete Prodoehl, Creative Commons

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