Or would that be too egotistical or presumptuous?
The reason I have decided to grant this prestigious letter of the alphabet to myself is because I actually want to write about the concept of being an ‘expert’ and what it can do for your marketing.
I believe that you can’t call yourself an expert until someone else calls you an expert. I also think that you need to have been practising your craft for many years before you can be classed as an expert.
Some years ago I met a young lady at a networking breakfast. When I asked about her business, she told me that she was a ‘Social Media expert’. “How long have you been doing that?” I asked. Her answer was that she had been doing social media for just over a year. Expert after just one year? I don’t think so. At the time I don’t even think social media had been around long enough for anyone to be classed as an expert in that field.
Dictionary definitions of Expert include lines such as ‘someone who has a prolonged or intense experience through practice and education in a particular field’. The key words are prolonged and intense. There are no real numbers telling us how long prolonged is, although Malcolm Gladwell is credited with creating the 10,000 Hour Rule. This says that you have to clock up 10,000 of “deliberate practice” in order to become world-class in any field. So if you decide to commit three hours a day to becoming an expert, you’ll become an expert in just nine years!
Other definitions state that an expert is ‘someone widely recognized as a reliable source of technique or skill who is accorded authority and status by peers or the public in a specific well-distinguished domain.’ The important words there are ‘by peers or the public’. Like I said earlier, I believe that you can’t call yourself an expert without someone else – your peers or the public – classing you as an expert.
How Do You Become an Expert?
Step one – pick something that you’re good at and stick to it, no matter what. Don’t jump to a different business or service just because it gets tough. That’s business – it will get tough and experts stick it out, no matter what. They find ways to make what they do work. If they have to, they find better ways of doing it so that they can keep going.
Step two – keep getting better at what you do. Don’t think that you know it all – keep learning and honing your skills. Top athletes don’t stop training when they win a medal; they probably train even harder and look closely at how they can refine their technique, in order to stay at the top of the game. This year I am developing my skills in a number of areas, including content writing, website copy and being an MC.
Step three – share what you’re learning. Every month this year I will email my collection of wonderful clients and share with them what I’ve learnt over the month, giving them ideas that they can put into practice in their own marketing. For example, I’ve already learnt something new about niches vs target markets – a very different way of looking at niches and making your business stand out from the crowd. When I learn something new that my clients might be able to use in their marketing, I’ll share it with them. This month’s email will probably be about niches! (If you’re not a client and you would like to know, click here to email me and I’ll share the secret with you too.)
Are you an Expert Yet?
If you’ve been successfully doing what you do for some time and/or other people call you an expert (or guru, doyen, or authority) then you can promote yourself as such. If not, work hard in your chosen field, keep getting better and better at it and then share what you’re doing and learning in your marketing messages. Keep at it and you’ll get there eventually, as your competitors fall by the wayside.
If you are already an expert, remember to keep sharing your knowledge and expertise with us lesser mortals so that we can reach those exalted heights one day too!