So You’re an Expert…Now What?
So You’re an Expert…Now What?
Chances are, you’ve gotten your business where it is today because you’re really good at what you do. Maybe it was that Harvard law degree that did it, or years spent cutting your teeth on the frontlines of a niche industry. Whatever your background is, you know what you’re talking about and how to get your clients and customers the best results.
And that’s great — truly, it is. But the truth is, if you want to really grow your business to its maximum potential, it’s not enough to simply be an expert. To win new customers, you have to convince them that you’re the best at fulfilling a need they might not even know they have. To do that, you need to be able to distill what it is you do — no matter how complex — into a format anyone can understand. Your message must be jargon-free while still conveying your knowledge and intelligence. In the age of content marketing, where most advertising happens in a distraction-filled digital space, you have to do all of this quickly and in an entertaining manner.
If your expertise isn’t communications, accomplishing all of this can be a tall order — but it’s not impossible. To help you on your way towards becoming your own best chief media officer, here are a few easy and fun ways to create a content marketing plan that will make it clear to your audience that you’re an expert, communicate the urgency of your message, and maybe even show that you’re a fun person to be around, too.
The Kind of Content That Works
1. Written Guides
Being an expert in your field makes you the most qualified person to write an extensive guide about the most pressing topics in your industry. Guides can take the form of top 10 lists, extensive articles broken down into chapters, or, better yet, a series of articles published over a number of weeks — something that will be as good for your SEO and social media strategy as it will be for your expertise building. Topics can range from beginning materials, such as primers on keys topics or definitions of important terms, to an in-depth demonstration of what it is you do.
Not only are guides an excellent way to market, but they can also be an effective sales and communication tool as well. For example, we here at Alt Creative often send potential clients our guide entitled SEO Tips for Beginners as a way to foster a deeper understanding of an important aspect of our services. This can also be essential later down the line when we’re trying to communicate the importance of a very niche issue, like why we need an EPS file of your logo. In this way, treating our blog as a knowledge center can be as helpful to us as it is to our clients, as the time and energy we put into creating these resources helps us better communicate and therefore better do our jobs.
While an in-depth written guide can be an invaluable resource, sometimes issues are so complex or of an unfathomably large scale that even the best writer will have trouble breaking them down in article form. In cases such as these, hiring a designer to create an infographic for you is an excellent way to go. Humans are, after all, visual creatures, and it can be a lot easier to look at something that follows a clear visual logic and flow. Plus, with all of their animation, infographics are simply more fun, making them highly likely to be shared across social media. This makes infographics a prime tool for demonstrating your expertise across the digital world.
3. YouTube Tips
For similar reasons, your business YouTube channel can also be a powerful place to build your expertise. One of the most effective ways to do so is to create instructional videos or quick tips that really highlight how much you know. While in some cases it may make sense to pay a videographer for this, even a relatively bare bones video, consisting of you talking into the camera, can be highly effective, as long as you outline what you’re going to say ahead of time.
Need an example? You can find them for just about every industry. There are real estate tips, makeup tutorials, and even plumbing tips. Again, splitting complex subjects into multiple videos is a good strategy. So is providing a transcript in the video description, as this will help with your SEO and it also allows viewers to scan for the most important parts.
4. Google Hangouts
I know, I know, most people view Google+ as Facebook’s unwanted sibling. But while the platform’s usefulness to businesses is debatable, the utility of one of its prime tools, Google Hangouts, is absolutely not. A bit like Skype, a bit like GoToMeeting, Google Hangouts allows you to, well, “hangout” with your current and potential customers — up to 10 at a time for a regular hangout, up to 15 at a time for a Hangout on Air, which will automatically archive to YouTube. The tool integrates a number of other Google features, making it easy to present directly from Google Presentations or use fun special effects, like animated party hats. To top it all off, Google Hangouts is free, which makes it the perfect, low-investment tool for connecting directly with your audience to answer their most pressing questions or to present a lecture, demonstrating your expertise face-to-face.
Establishing your expertise doesn’t always have to mean creating your own expert content. Instead, become an expert curator, sharing articles, infographics and videos from other experts that you really admire. Doing so will show your potential audience you know what you’re talking about and that you can tell when other people do, too.
No matter what content approaches you take, there are a few universals to keep in mind:
- Keep it short yet meaty. Establishing your expertise doesn’t mean writing a novel. Force yourself to work within a word limit and you’ll be surprised about how much you can communicate in a short amount of time.
- Break long posts up with headers. Online readers don’t read — they scan. Help them do that by formatting your posts accordingly with headers and bolded typeface. Or, if the post is really long, consider…
- Splitting into a series. Series provide you with more topics to play with, as well as more SEO opportunities.
- Use novices as your test audience. The problem with expertise is that it often makes it difficult to know what other people don’t know. After all, you know it, so why shouldn’t they? Avoid this problem by sending your first few content attempts to complete novices and then asking them what they’ve learned.
- Create your content around your customers’ questions. Likewise, the best way to learn what your target customers really want to know is to ask them. Try searching social media to see what they’re asking, or the comment section of related articles. Alternatively, use your Google Hangout time for question and answer.
Establishing expertise is an important part of growing your business, but that shouldn’t be taken as an excuse to talk in jargon. With a number of creative content approaches at your fingertips, the process has never been so easy or so fun. The real question is: how will you begin?