In traditional branding, the goal is to position your product in the premium segment. When you achieve this you can increase the price of the product and the demand will stay constant. In personal branding, you can do the same thing – you can become an expert.
Who is an expert?
An expert is someone that knows their stuff better than anyone else in their field. When you start a job, you are likely to look up to your seniors and ask them for advice. One of these senior colleagues will be an expert, the person that basically has the best subject matter knowledge and can tell the others how to do things. An expert is not necessarily a people manager, oftentimes they prefer hone their own skills than managing others.
Whenever you see traditional titles like professor, chief architect, field marshal or anything else pompous you can expect the person to be an expert. Nowadays, you get the ‘new’ titles such as ninja or guru to denote an expert. Thought leader is another popular label used liberally across the Internet.
Some would argue that you can only earn your expert status from your customers and peers, never by simply saying that you are one.
Why should you want to become an expert?
It may sound a bit dull but there are a number of advantages to being an expert. Two of these stand out with clear benefits.
The fist one is that everyone wants to work with or buy from the person who has the reputation, credibility and knowledge of an expert. This means there is an increase in demand but not in supply; the person only has so much time to do their work. The first benefit of being an expert is that with more demand, you can choose which customers to take on as opposed to engaging with everyone.
The second clear benefit of being an expert is one of classic economics. I just mentioned that demand goes up but the supply stays the same; this means the supplier can set a higher price for their product or service. Again, instead of catering for the masses and competing on price like everyone else, the expert can choose who to work with and request a higher fee.
How you can become an expert in your field
There are probably as many ways to becoming one as there are experts out there. Some of these ways keep being mentioned and to me they are the top three. The three activities you have to be doing to become an expert are: listening, communicating and creating.
Listening is the first one, by this I mean picking up information from all corners of your industry. Read blogs, magazines, books, go to seminars and workshops, watch and listen to the right programmes on TV and radio. When you listen and take onboard all that information, you will by default be improving your skills and getting closer to being the expert every day. Information is power as the old saying goes.
Communicating is all about being out there and talking to the people that matter in your industry. Whether it’s a client meeting, a networking event or you are commenting on a blog – it’s all interaction with your target audience. When you are engaging with the community, you will notice exactly what problems they are looking to solve – allowing you to adjust your service offering accordingly.
Creating finally is where you produce content that secures you that expert status. Choose your channel wisely here according to what fits your audience. You could for instance write blog posts, newspaper articles, record podcast or produce video content. If you are really serious about becoming an expert, try your hand at writing a book. Whatever you choose to do, the results of your creative output will lead to further promotion of your personal brand and increased interest from customers.
The expert’s advice
Chris Brogan says that as a rule of thumb, you should listen 50% of your time, communicating and creating each 25% of the time. He produces quality blog content every day that ensures he stays at the top of his game. As a result of his blogging, he provides consulting services to major blue-chip companies, charging top dollar as an expert.
It may sound a bit odd but becoming an expert has many benefits to it. If you are into personal branding, blogging, social media and networking you will have seen that some people enjoy a lot of attention and can exert a great deal of influence. If you are serious about your business or career, becoming the expert is the way forward.
Do you create content of some sort in order to be an expert?
Related post: 5 Kick-Ass Reasons to Boost Your Personal Brand Today.