Blogging, Facebook, LinkedIn, Pinterest, guerrilla PR, infographics, Twitter, mobile apps, membership sites, forums, webinars, and dozens of other equally compelling tactics compete for your attention.
With all these options, it’s easy to forget that “Expertise” is the #1 ingredient for a successful content marketing and blogging.
Without expertise all of these topics are reduced to fancy magic tricks that capture your reader’s attention for a moment but fail to create a long-term and profitable readership.
The good news is that most of the people I meet online are genuine experts. They may not want to admit it publicly but they kick some serious butt in their respective niches. (I’m talking to YOU by the way).
So competency isn’t the problem. The real problem is demonstrating your expertise to your readers. As a blogger you have a great platform to demonstrate your expertise. But now what?
Here are 7 tested tactics to get you started.
Writing forces you to clearly present your thinking process. Seth Godin says that writing’s power of clarification is the main reason why he posts daily. Writing long-form content on popular topics in your niche will put your thinking on display and give your readers an opportunity to evaluate your expertise.
I suggest starting with:
Your special report should be relatively short (7–10 pages) and focused on one topic. Your goal is to give your reader a sample of your approach and insight.
An ebook is a compilation of 2–3 special reports or about 20–30 pages of concise, value-loaded, content. You can distribute your eBook on your blog or upload and distribute it via Amazon for broader reach. A well-written ebook does a great job of demonstrating your expertise with the added benefit of attracting potential leads.
Podcasting allows you to build rapport with your audience while using a particularly compelling medium – audio. Apple’s iTunes has introduced millions of non-tech users to podcasting and gives new podcasters a free platform for their podcasts.
Podcasting is more complicated since you must write a script, master audio recording equipment/software, and spend time editing and uploading your podcast. The extra effort is rewarded with a loyal audience that complements your blog readership.
I recommend creating a Podcasting Editorial Calendar that complements your blog schedule. The podcasting format works well for interviews, weekly roundups, and well-scripted commentary on popular and controversial topics.
3. Demonstration Videos
Demonstration Videos work extraordinarily well for experts who need to visually demonstrate their skill.
YouTube is filled with great examples:
1. Product manufacturers demonstrating features
2. Photographers demonstrating tips for using lenses and framing a shot
3. Fitness trainers showing proper exercise technique
and literally millions of other expert demonstrations.
Video is effective because its harder to fake expertise when you are live on camera. The key is to thoroughly familiarize yourself with recording and editing so poor video quality doesn’t undermine your expertise.
I recommend starting with Screencasts, voice-over slideshows, until you get familiar with recording and edit. From there you can add live video to your repertoire.
4. Approach Blog Posts
Your readers come to you blog looking for an answer to two questions:
- Can this person help me?
- Does this person know what they are talking about?
Even the best advice will be rejected if your reader has doubts about your expertise. I recommend writing 2–3 posts that clearly outline your approach to solving your reader’s problem. Look for ways to break down your process into a step-by-step roadmap. Outline the case studies and/or research that supports your recommendations. Explain the rationale behind key parts of your process.
Where appropriate, link to these Approach Posts in future blog posts making it easy for your readers to reference this valuable information.
5. Answering Questions (Comments, Groups, Forums)
Find where your readers are asking questions and spend as much time as you can manage answering them. Your answers are a tangible demonstration of how you approach problems AND handle people.
I suggest searching for groups on Facebook and LinkedIn. Join a few groups that are relevant to your expertise. Spend a few days studying the group. Get a feel for the culture of the group, etiquette, and the influencers. Give 110% with every question you answer. Offer resources, links, and complete answers being careful to not overtly sell yourself or your services. People will seek you out. Just focus on being as valuable as you can.
You can follow a similar strategy with comments and forums. The key is to focus your time on the locations most likely to have potential readers. Limiting your engagement to the best sites will insure that you don’t get spread too thin and abandon the strategy.
6. Interviews and Reviews
Oprah has never written a book but she is perceived as an expert in self-development and spirituality. Why? It’s curious but we grant Oprah this expertise because she has interviewed hundreds of experts and translated their insights into language we could all understand. Think of Oprah as a Uber-Curator whose canny eye for irresistible topics earns her guru status. Her tools of choice? Interviews and reviews.
Oprah’s strategy works in just about any niche. For example, savvy publishers like David Garland and Andrew Warner have used their prolific interviewing skills to position themselves as experts in the respective niches. You can use this powerful strategy by:
- Identifying top Tier 1 and Tier 2 influencers. Tier 1 Influencers are your stretch goals. They may not have the time to talk with you or your audience might be too small to catch their attention. So as you build your audience, focus on getting Tier 2 influencers who are more likely to do an interview. The best time to ask for an interview is when your influencer has just published a book or launched a product. They will appreciate the free publicity.
- Be the first to offer a comprehensive review of new books in your niche. While there are many book reviews there are relatively few good book reviews. Providing a fair and substantive review will attract readers, demonstrate your grasp of the subject, and even convince a Tier 1 influencer to grant you an interview.
Creating free video or email courses is quick expertise demonstration strategy. Courses work because they provide hands-on instruction, an up-close and personal method for solving the readers problem in an interesting format.
Like videos and podcasting, building courses requires time, patience, and practice but the payoff is worth it. Start small with a 2 or 3 part email course then consider a video course. My favorite way of creating video courses is to give a content-packed webinar, recording it, and then splitting the webinar into 2–3 videos. Experiment with email, video, and audio to find the format that works best for you.