Five steps to becoming an industry expert

Kate Jones
@kateljnes

Being an industry expert boosts your visibility and credibility. What’s more, being known as a thought leader or talking head enhances your personal brand and brings business to you.

Many small business owners have the knowledge and experience to be experts in their fields, but don’t know where to get started. Here are five tips on how to start building your reputation as an industry expert.

Find your niche

Narrow down your expertise to a specific niche, advises Cian McLoughlin, chief executive of sales consulting business Trinity Perspectives.

“The first thing you need to do is get very clear on what field you’re actually in,” he says.

“The biggest mistake most small businesses make is trying to be all things to all people, assuming this will give them access to the largest addressable market.

“What it actually does is dilute your value proposition and position you as a Jack or Jill of all trades, rather than an expert in your particular field.”

The biggest mistake most small businesses make is trying to be all things to all people, assuming this will give them access to the largest addressable market.

Get published

Provide comment in articles or write your own articles, says public relations consultant Tania Willett.

“Look out for publications and journalists that write about topics in your area of expertise,” she says.

“Reach out to the journalist or publication, and let them know what your expertise is and that you would be willing to provide comment for upcoming stories.”

Find speaking engagements

Increase your visibility by speaking at conferences and networking events.

“Not only does being a selected speaker instantly show that you are indeed an industry expert, but you get to deliver your expertise face to face to your audience,” says Willett.

You won’t always be paid for speaking gigs, but as you become more experienced you should find yourself appearing at more paid appearances. Remember to keep your material fresh and practical.

Not only does being a selected speaker instantly show that you are indeed an industry expert, but you get to deliver your expertise face to face to your audience.

Less sales, more advice

Experts aren’t salespeople - they share advice, thoughts and opinions, says digital communications expert Danielle Di-Masi.

“It’s not about spruiking yourself,” she says.

“Being an expert means you’ve got knowledge and insights that other people can learn from.”

Keep your finger on the pulse

Be familiar with the current issues in your area of expertise. Read widely and listen to other voices in your industry to help you form your opinions and responses to questions from the media or your colleagues.

Kate Jones

Kate Jones writes for the business and money sections of The Age and Sydney Morning Herald. She also writes for The New Daily, TAC, RMIT and is a news writing tutor at Monash University.

Image: Sebastiaan et BurgFlickr Creative Commons

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