When it comes to selling online courses and other knowledge offerings, being an expert in your field or industry is certainly important. But for most of the readers here on Learning Revolution, that’s already a done deal. They are experts. The bigger challenge right now is how to become known as an expert.
Believe me, this is familiar territory for me. Most of my work – and by extension, my income – is heavily dependent upon me being known as an expert – and that has to be based on a heck of a lot more than me just saying I’m an expert (which, of course, anyone can do).
Become Known as an Expert: 7 Focus Areas
So, with the hope that it will be of some help to readers here, I thought I’d share seven areas I focus on to make my expertise more visible. For my money, anyone who really wants to be known as expert – and increase the chances of pulling prospective customers to them – needs to be doing at least some of what follows.
1. Consistent blogging
I haven’t been as consistent as I like to be lately – I usually aim for one substantive post a week – but I plan to get back to it. I won’t beat this horse, as I have already written about the benefits of blogging at some length in another post, but I hope it is something that everyone who reads this post is already doing or working towards. There are very few assets you can develop that will beat a strategic, well-tended blog.
2. About page
On the same “home base” Web site that hosts your blog you need to have a very strong “About” page that not only highlights your expertise, but also helps spark a personal connection with your prospects. I’ll be the first to say that mine is not what it should be right now on any of my sites. It’s high on my list to change that soon. As is so often the case, Copyblogger is a great resource on this one.
3. Shareable video
There is just no getting around the fact that video is a powerhouse these days. But not just any video. Entertaining video, of course, tends to get shared. But useful video also gets shared. Personally, I’m on a mission to create as much highly useful video as I can. Videos that teach people how to do something. This doesn’t have to be complex. I shot my How to Validate Your Market for Online Course video using my laptop camera and Screenflow. It took well under an hour to script out and shoot. (Be sure to also check out the video tools in the Learning Revolutionary’s Toolbox.)
If you aren’t shooting videos along these lines, I urge you to make it agoal. And, don’t shy away from freely sharing some of your best stuff: that’s how people will know you are really an expert.
I’ve noted before that offering Webinars has been by far the most effective approach I’ve tried for building the e-mail list for my main business (http://www.tagoras.com). Our Webinars have now gotten popular enough that we are able to get paying sponsors for them. So, with every Webinar we offering, we raise our visibility as experts, add to our e-mail list, and make quite a bit of money. Hard to argue with that.
If you haven’t tried offering free Webinars as a lead magnet yet, I strongly encourage you to consider it. And I’ll stress that it pays to take the long view: we didn’t get large crowds and sponsorships out of the gate. It took a few years to build where we are, but now our Webinars are a tremendous asset.
5. Guest blogging
This is another one that I, personally, have not done nearly enough of. I plan to focus much more on it going forward. Guest blogging doesn’t help you search engine rankings the way it used to, but it can still drive high quality, targeted traffic if you make sure to do it in places where your prospective customers are likely to be.
I may have to write a full post on this at some point, but in the meantime, I recommend reading what Ramit Sethi has to say about guest posting. His post is geared toward high traffic blogs, but most of the same principles apply no matter where you aim to guest post.
6. Guest Podcast and Webinar Appearances
Blogs are one avenue, but getting a slot on a popular podcast in your niche, or appearing as an “expert” in a Webinar aimed at your audience can also be very powerful. I won’t say a lot more about this here, as I have already written about it before, but I encourage you to seek out podcast and Webinar guest opportunities as a way to become known as an expert.
7. Social media profiles
Finally, another area in which I plan to do some reviewing and upgrading: my social media profiles. It’s easy to fill out some information quickly when you set up an account at LinkedIn, Facebook, etc., and then never think about it again. But, of course, people do see those pages, and if you want to be known as an expert, they need to feature informations that illustrates your expertise (e.g., education, work experience, published books, videos of you speaking).
One bit of advice: don’t try to be everywhere. Focus on the social networks where your audience actually seems to be active and make sure your profiles on those networks are really strong.
One last, important point
The reason to do all of the above – to work at becoming known as an expert – is that you ultimately want your perceived expertise to translate into course sales. So, in all of the above efforts, make sure you are providing a way for prospects to either sign up for your e-mail list or – assuming it is an appropriate point in the sales process – go to a well-designed landing page for your course.
As I suggested at the beginning, I can’t claim to be perfect in any of the areas above. Not even close. But it’s an ongoing process. I keep working on all of them to help ensure I am known as an expert. I hope you will join me.