No matter what you do for a living, it’s likely that you’re not the only one out there doing it. So, in a business world that’s full of competition, how do you differentiate yourself from the other local accountant, hair stylist, landscaper, or cake baker?
It’s easy! All you have to do is establish yourself as a guru in your industry.
Back-up. "Easy?" Sure, it sounds fantastic. I mean, who wouldn’t want to be the who’s who of gardening or the queen of cakes? Once you’ve built a reputation as the best in the business, leads start flowing and you don’t have to work as hard to generate new interest in your brand.
But how the heck do you even get started? That’s a great question because getting started is the first step in building a reputation as the bomb dot com in your industry. So let’s get to it! Here are five of our favorite ways to begin establishing yourself as the expert in your field (and build a lead pipeline while you’re at it).
One of the easiest ways to show off your knowledge is to hold a workshop, seminar, or class on a topic that’s popular within your clientele base. For example, if you own a cyber-security company, you could invite local small business owners to your office to talk to them about keeping their businesses safe from online attacks. If you’re an insurance agent, you can approach a co-working space about doing a workshop on essential protection for freelancers and startups. If you’re a physical therapist, you might consider collaborating with large companies to teach their employees about active stretching while sitting at their desk. A workshop or class can be whatever you want it to be, just as long as you’re giving great, quality information to people who are interested in what you have to say. The size of the audience can be five or 500 people and it can be held in your own offices, a co-working space, or even the town library. If you’re not quite sure where to start, the Chamber of Commerce or Business Development Authority will have an up-to-date database of local businesses, ideas for available meeting spaces, and they can help you get your event out to a wider audience.
Plenty of people don’t like the idea of standing up in front of a group of strangers waxing lyrical about their area of expertise. So if you’re one of them, a digital approach might be a better fit. There is no smarter way to showcase your knowledge than publishing what you know. Start with your own blog to give your website some SEO cred, and then look to social media and online publishing platforms to reach a wider audience. For video content, YouTube is the king, but Vimeo, Periscope, and Facebook Live are a few great alternatives. If you’re a wordsmith, LinkedIn, Medium, and even the new Google Posts can offer a discovery platform for your expertise. Once you start creating and publishing your own content, it’s important to get it syndicated through other channels. If you’re a B2B business, this may mean contacting industry magazines or trade publications in your field to see if they’ll re-publish your work. If you have a local business, the newspaper or town radio station might be your best bet. If you sell a product or service on a larger scale, you might research opportunities for contributing to a national magazine or website. Remember, everyone is looking for content these days and even if you’re new to the publishing game, your expertise might offer a fresh perspective that people are interested in and want to know more about.
Build a Strategic Network
Sure, having a huge audience to communicate to can be very valuable, but the same can be said for building a tight network of key partners to help you build your brand. Think about the businesses around you that offer complementary products and services and cater to a similar audience and demographic. For a fitness trainer, that might be an equipment provider, a workout supplement, a nutritionist, and an apparel line. For a florist, that could be a wedding planner, caterer, rental company, and venue scouting service. By creating a strategic “squad” you can team up for promotions and events that have more potential to attract a larger audience than just your individual efforts alone.
Comment on Big News
Offering local insights on what’s happening nationally and globally is a great way to show off your expertise in your area. Hot topics like global warming, healthcare, and job creation dominate the national headlines, but regional media loves it when they can make those big news stories relatable on a smaller scale. By offering your thoughts and experiences on how national issues are affecting people in your town, you’ll be able to position yourself as a thought leader and a local expert that newspapers, radio stations, TV and digital news will come running to for regular expert commentary and advice.
Adopt a Cause
Being seen as an expert often means getting outside of your business and offering your expertise as a service to the community. One way to do that is to either take ownership of or create a non-profit service that's related to your field. If you’re a chef, devote an afternoon each month to teach kids how to make healthy meals. If you’re a contractor, set up a program to help older folks understand how to prepare their homes to accommodate them as they age. If you’re a makeup artist, donate some time to help people living with illness feel beautiful again. Using your expertise for the greater good is not only effective in building your reputation, it’s also one of the most amazing ways to fall back in love with what you do for a living.
There are so many opportunities to get your knowledge out to people who are interested in it, but the first step is convincing yourself that your expertise is valuable. No matter if you’re a wedding planner, home improvement specialist, small business marketer, or health and wellness guru, your advice is wanted and needed by an audience that’s more than ready to listen. Remember, no matter what you do to build your reputation, it’s vital to follow-up with your audience and collect feedback along the way. Listening will be your best ally in building a trusted, recognized brand.
As always, we're here to help if you need us. If you're looking for advice on how to build your brand and generate lead flow, feel free to get in touch.