It’s fashionable to poo-poo expertise. No one is an expert. If you say you are one, then you’re not. So the story goes.
I’ve found this line of thinking to be naïve and disingenuous. Consumers listen to experts. Businesses listen to experts. You can play games with the word expert, but you can’t escape the necessity to position yourself in the Expert Economy.
What is the Expert Economy?
It is the intersection of deep subject matter expertise, content marketing, and eCommerce.
For example, a craft aficionado can distribute stuffed animal sewing patterns and make a decent second income in the process. An over-the-top NY Jets fan can record himself tasting wine and become a social media icon. An Alaskan housewife can make a six-figure income offering her woodworking patterns for free.
The Expert Economy is lacks the bias of the traditional offline economy and relentlessly removes barriers to entry.
Just the other day, I learned of a video marketing expert that has built a thriving business using just his iPhone 4S. Just a few years ago, this same guy would have needed to invest thousands of dollars in video equipment.
While entry into the Expert Economy is easy, the path to success is tough. Competition is fierce since anyone can start a blog, shoot a video, or record a podcast. You can’t win by following the same script that everyone else is using. You need to take Expert Economy tools and fashion a strategy that is unique and memorable.
Start with these guidelines…
Repackage Your Core Skill:
It’s very difficult to sell or promote your core skill. You need to repackage it to directly appeal to your ideal customer. For example, a copywriter needs to become a content marketing specialist. A career coach needs to become a leadership expert.
People pay attention to solutions not tools. The copywriter isn’t attractive because they write. They are valuable because they use words to solve tough marketing questions. This is a critical difference.
Your blog isn’t the only one on the bookmark list. You are competing for your reader’s attention. Your reader decides which blog get’s read and which one get’s ignored and eventually deleted from their reading list. Savvy blog publishers work hard to provide something distinctly different than their competitors.
Create and Work Your Business Model
Bloggers are in the publishing business. Your business model is: 1) Attract Readers, 2) Offer Readers Content for Free, 3) Generate revenue by selling access to you readers. The Huffington Post generates revenue from advertising. Copyblogger earns revenue by selling software and information.
Expert Economy professionals carefully create and optimize their business model. They understand that revenue can be invested in better design, professional assistance, and marketing. You need cash to compete over the long-term. Figuring out your business model is critical to getting that cash sooner rather than later.
Promotion is Essential
Quiet experts starve. Sorry. Take a honest look and your blog traffic. Is it declining? Is it growing at a glacial pace? If so, then you are starving slowly. Promotion brings readers. Readers turn into customers and customers financially support your mission.
The unicorn union will insist that you can grow without promotion. You know better. Please note, I’m not advocating being a schmuck. Promote with integrity. But don’t use the fear of promotion as an excuse to do nothing.
It’s Your Time
There’s never been a better time to earn money doing what you love. It’s never been easier to start. Just understand that you’ll need help and persistence to achieve the success you’re working for.
Commit to repackaging your skills and positioning your value against competitors. Power your passion with a smart business model and savvy promotion. These are the keys to success in the Expert Economy.
Go and make it happen.
photo credit: cindiann