Every day we hear that if you want to make it as a content marketer, you need to become an expert in your niche. That is true. How can you write about something if you are not an expert at it and expect others to follow your advice?
How to become an expert in your niche
According to Google, an expert is
a person who is very knowledgeable about or skilful in a particular area.
Anyone can be an expert. Yes, I said it: Anyone can be an expert in the niche they choose.
With the amount of information at our disposal, you can become a content marketer in any niche you want. All you need to do is learn from the current experts.
You can read blogs, you can study whitepapers, you can watch videos, listen to podcasts, watch webinars and even go to seminars presented in your specific field. You can even get a degree in your chosen field of study!
By studying everything you can lay your hands on in a specific niche, you will acquire enough knowledge that you will be able to say that you are an expert in that field.
And this is where the problem lies. You will be the one calling yourself an expert. Even if you don’t come out and say it, if you are writing, blogging or presenting webinars on a certain topic, you are by default declaring yourself an expert. Otherwise, how can you convince others to listen to you?
The great expert dilemma
According to an infographic on Digitalbuzz, 2 million blog posts are published every single day.
If we can agree that every blog post is written by someone who thinks of himself as an expert in his/her own field of study, then that makes for a world full of experts.
The great dilemma experts face, is the amount of expert competition they are up against. If you consider that 2 million blog posts written every day will have at least a handful written in your niche, that means that you may end up being very low on the expert totem pole.
More than an expert – an expert authority
Once you realize that you are just another little fish in a vast ocean of experts, it’s time to start finding a way to differentiate yourself. You need to become more than an expert. You need to be an expert authority.
According to the Oxford Dictionary, authority is
The right to act in a specified way, delegated from one person or organization to another.
So being an expert authority in a certain niche, means that others see you as the expert in that specific area.
Becoming an expert authority in a certain niche, one needs to be recognized by others as the go-to person in that certain area. When you think about motivational public speakers, Tony Robbins is definitely one name that comes to mind. The same happens with Richard Branson when you think about entrepreneurship.
Both these men went beyond being an expert in their chosen fields. Both are seen as expert authorities because they are given this recognition by others.
Expert vs Expert Authority
Because of the amount of competition in the field of content marketing, being an expert is not going to be enough for much longer. Unless you are recognized by others as an expert, thereby reaching expert authority status, most of your hard work is going to go by unnoticed.
Unless you reach the point where you can be regarded as an expert authority in your niche, your work is going to be drowned out by the noise of hundreds if not thousands of other experts in your field.
How do I become an expert authority?
Becoming an expert authority in your niche is much the same as becoming an expert. The biggest difference between the two is time, consistency and exposure. The longer you keep at what you are doing, the sooner others will view you as an expert. And once you have reached expert authority status, you can be sure that you are the one others will turn to for information or a service.
If you are willing to put in great effort, you are able to become an expert in your niche in a relatively short period of time. This will depend on the niche you are in. If you are working within a niche where a lot of information is readily available, you can gain enough knowledge to be able to write a decent blog within that niche within a few days. It all depends on the niche and your ability to absorb information.
To become an expert authority will take much longer. Unless you chose a niche without any other experts (which with today’s available technology is almost impossible) you are going to have to spend the time and do the hard yards. It doesn’t matter how much you know about a subject, it will take time for others to start to trust you enough for you to be seen as an expert authority.
With consistency I’m not only talking about consistent writing on your blog. You also need to be consistent with your subject matter. If your chosen niche is candle making, you need to keep that your consistent theme. It needs to become part of your branding.
If you sell yourself as an expert on the topic of candle making and the next moment you start blogging about photography, don’t be shocked when people don’t find you believable enough in both niches to help elevate you to authority status in either one.
It is a lot easier for people to lose trust in you as an expert in a certain niche than for them to start seeing you as an expert authority. You may think you are an expert in both but you will soon find that you are not seen by others as an expert in either.
That is why it is important that you give it a lot of thought when you choose your niche. You need to consider your complete branding picture and be sure that the niche you chose is what you will still want to be writing and talking about in two, three or five years from now.
To go from expert to expert authority within your niche, others need to see your work. Whether it is your blog, your webinars, your book or attending your speaking engagements, if nobody sees it, you will forever be the only one who will see yourself as an expert.
A good place to build your reputation as an expert in your chosen niche, is on social media. If people see you consistently sharing good information on a certain topic, they will soon start seeing you as an expert within that niche. Social proof plays a big role in establishing someone as an expert authority rather than just an expert in their niche.
It may be a long and often hard road from novice to expert to expert authority. But if you are willing to do the hard work and keep at it, you will one day open your eyes and realize that you are no longer only an expert in your own eyes.
By the authority vested in your followers by Matt Cutts and the rest of the Google crew, you will soon be known as an expert authority.