Ever had a dream to do your TED Talk or to sit on a global panel where you provide your ‘expert’ opinion on a subject? To be able to do keynotes in universities, and get paid to consult and offer advice to top brands and corporates? To open your email and find reporters dying for a few minutes of your time? All of this and more is possible if you are a lifelong learner, have the desire to put yourself out there and are willing to market your personal and professional brand online and offline.
At Lama, we’ve outlined 7 easy steps to get you well on your way to topic mastery and ‘expert-dom’.
1. Find your niche
There are far too many experts out there already and many industries and fields have become supersaturated. So finding your expert area can be difficult in this day and age. But the good thing is, technology is advancing fast and new areas that never existed before are opening up everyday. Search for something that keeps you up every night. Something that you are passionate about and believe strongly in. For e.g: Do you think Blockchain can be used to achieve the UN SDG goals? Do you think gender equality will lead to economic empowerment of the least developed nations? Once you have your niche topic, it’s an easy journey from there.
2. Monitor trends, read and learn
I usually put Google Alerts on some of the keywords I am most passionate about and receive daily notifications on what has been written about the topic. I also look at Google Trends and see the demographics of people currently searching for my niche topics. This way I am constantly aware about the latest news about my niche topic. It’s also a good idea to invest in apps, books and magazines that service your niche topic very well. While most people say that 10,000 hours put into anything can lead to expert level knowledge and understanding. We disagree – the quality of those hours invested and the kind of content consumed are most important. It is absolutely possible to achieve expertise in less time.
3. Find a role model & connect with them
Do you see a role model in your area who has hacked the “expert” role well? Look at how they communicate, where they are communicating, how frequently they are communicating, who is listening to them and where are they going. Add some of their followers and follow their favorite pages. While this might totally seem like you are stalking them, as long as you are only taking inspiration, it isn’t at all creepy. Try to get a meeting with them in person or through video conferencing.
4. Get your social media profiles expert ready
Whether its Linkedin, Instagram, Twitter, Quora or Facebook, these days you don’t know where you might land your next big opportunity from. Whether you are active on social networks or not, make sure your profile and bio on them is strong and lists your expertise area. Take part in positive discussions, be mindful of what you are liking and sharing, and learn to be succinct with your responses.
5. Start a blog, podcast or YouTube channel
All previous barriers to getting published have now been removed. Publishing is now democratized. Anyone can share their views, push their ideas and voice their opinions. Self-publishing is quite powerful and empowering. There are far too many channels available where you can influence opinion. Use the power of existing technology and platforms. If you are shy about your voice, do a textual article. If you are shy about showing your face, try out podcasting. I know there are too many influencers out there with millions of followers but it’s still never too late to begin.
6. Get interviewed
Reporters are always looking for interesting people to get quotes from. At a Berlin-based startup LAMA, journalists are specifically interested in learning about people starting interesting ventures all around the world. Once you contact them, the LAMA journalists conduct thorough research based on your background, expertise, profile and interests to ask you specific questions about your business idea or existing venture. This video format allows you to openly share your dreams, challenges, and ideas with the LAMA community of founders. The finished interviews are also pushed and promoted to other like-minded groups, communities, and social media channels. When someone searches for your name on Google, the LAMA interview appears on the first page.
7. Build your community
Most of your clients, speaking engagements will come through referrals from your existing community. So having a strong community which believes in your abilities and insight on a topic is very important. Communities are built by sharing and providing value to others. Take your time to help someone, or send them a referral, or opportunity. Highlight other people from your community and their wins/achievement, they will in turn showcase yours.
Last, most experts are considered experts by others and don’t have to announce it themselves to others. Use every opportunity to share that you are passionate about a niche topic but don’t try so hard to position yourself as an expert. We promise the expertise bit will happen organically if you follow the 7 steps above.