It’s the Work We Do that Adds Value
The Internet is fast being filled with people with skills and talent for hire. Some have worked online and off for years to attain experience and expertise. Some are using the Internet to re-career and reinvent themselves and us as a chance to prove themselves. Most folks who can afford it want to connect with the people who’ve got real expertise, not those who hope to practice until they do.
Thereâs no question that to be an expert, we have to be knowledgeable, authentic, and hardworking. Everyone pays dues to get to the top, but knowing what to work at helps a lot too, because …
For the rest of us, it’s hard to tell the guy with a professional camera from a professional photographer unless you share what you know with the rest of us in the right way.
To be recognized as a expert requires communication skills and social skills as well as technical expertise.
8 Subtle, Powerful Ways to Let Your Work Show Your Expertise
A true expert isn’t a preacher or even a teacher. He or she is a guide who cares about and understands the folks he or she serves. Lead me value to your work and know its quality, then help me understand how it can be relevant and useful to the customers, clients, and people I value and serve.
A true expert, like a truly rich man, doesn’t need to tell you he is one … his value shows in his confidence, competence, consistency, generosity, humility, and his work.
Here are 8 often powerfully subtle ways to being recognized as a true expert.
- Be the expert you are, not the expert someone else is. You are the only you the world has. That differentiates what you offer from the start. Play to your strengths. Let your work demonstrate your strengths. When people ask about what you do … point to something you’ve done well and talk about it.
- Get known first as an expert in ONE thing. Decide what sort of problems you solve quickly and well. Find ONE niche or one vertical and solve that problem there. People look for a âgo toâ person for a specific need. You’ll grow a following faster if you solve one problem well. It’s easier to refer the expert who can prove one great solution than the one who can’t be pinned down. Once folks learn about you as a master one skill, they can find out about the other wonderful things you do.
- Write expert content in the language of the folks you want to serve. Readers want top-notch, quality, relevant content â information, answers, AND analysis. Your market can get news anywhere. Add your expert opinion, analysis, evaluation, synthesis, or predictions — in words and thoughts they can relate to and apply immediately..
- Be an expert at keeping track of your niche. Donât overwhelm yourself … but don’t live in your own head and don’t live online only. Look for great ideas and innovation everywhere. Follow Alltop to get the latest news. Read print magazines, blogs, and news that cover the topics you cover. Pre-select it for people interested in what you do. Add value by explaining why you’re passing it on.
- Be an expert at specialized search and information mining. Make finding interesting content tidbits your expert quest. Get to be friends with Google Alerts and similar services. Follow terms around the Internet.
- Be an expert at sharing your work where your customers are. Be where your potential customers are. Don’t just Tweet a great photo. Say something about it. Tell a story about it. Not every great client is on Twitter. Not every great mind is either. Go to conferences; meet local businesses; visit universities; get to know the other experts and authors in your niche. Ask everyone for their stories and tell anyone who cares about the stories you’ve collected. Tweet, speak, visit, and comment on blogs. Get opinions and think about what people say. Talk about your work like you to talk to your friends about what you do.
- Be an expert at thinking deeply. Saturate yourself in the trends, and think about how they influence your work. Go deeper too. Find out what researchers are thinking so that you can offer your readers how you think the highest quality and most relevant information might change what you’re doing today and in the future. Always tie it back to them in real and relevant ways. It’s your field be interested in it and they’ll be interested in you.
- Have an opinion. Don’t just pass on information. What the Internet is missing is your informed expertise and unique point of view. You’ve learned and earned something. Show us how you got there and why you care about it. Share your passion for your expertise. Nothing is more appealing than an expert who loves what he or she does.
Awards are nice, but they’re not something our customers can use. Quality is important, but if my customers can’t see or at least feel the fine lighting, perfect composition, or the artfullness of that photograph … then the time it took to add it … to them will be just cost. Some folks need basic transportation to get to work not a Ferrari this time around — an expert recognizes that too.
When we do the work, invest, and offer what we learn freely and care about those we serve, our true expertise shines through. People need what we know and sharing it isn’t shameless promotion, it’s contributing value to the community.
Are you an expert? How do you let your work speak for you?
–ME “Liz” Strauss
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Hi Liz, great article – I’m looking forward to many more. I am a self-identified yoga maven here in Vermont. I teach yoga in the worksite and the studio and blog about my practice and work. I love my niche – I’m truly passionate about it. Looking forward to furthering my mission with all the helpful tidbits I can get. Thanks for this.
ME Liz Strauss says
Thanks for taking time to invest in a comment. I think that one huge part of the expertise problem can be that we don’t go claim what we want to own by naming it, learning it, and sharing it in a truly generous way. Glad to hear you’re doing all three. 🙂
Amy Harrison says
I love point number one. I sometimes find myself paralysed by looking at my heroes and making comparisions, rather than looking at what I know and learn and who that would be valuable to.
ME Liz Strauss says
Sometimes when I look around me, I get intimidated too! So many people seem to be accomplishing more than I am. Then I realize that they’re all doing the same thing when they look around too. 🙂
Tom Volkar / Delightful Work says
“Be an expert at thinking deeply.” Love this one. This is where true distinction and thus true value is hatched. Unless we are thinking deep enough to put our own spin on conclusions and realizations we are simply regurgitating trite and empty yesterday’s news.
ME Liz Strauss says
Thank you for finding a way to put in to words that say it better than I ever could. We need to own our thoughts and live them. That’s what builds expertise. 🙂
Andy @ FirstFound says
Great advice. It’s all good looking up to other experts, but emulating them gets you nowhere.
The language tip’s a great one too – but one that people may well overlook.
Alasdair Munn says
Really enjoy this quote “Be the expert you are, not the expert someone else is”
This is very well done! It tells me to put the needs of others ahead of my own. My foremost goal is to bring something valuable to people. When I work hard to give my all, I will receive the compensation I deserve, which isn’t always measured in dollar signs.
ME Liz Strauss says
Keeping an eye on what others need to learn, not what we need to teach is central to everything. Knowing isn’t so hard, all was have to do is look at what we’re we need to learn too. 🙂
Well put together! What you seem to have missed a bit is how to actually become an expert in your niche. Maybe something more specific?
Anyways looking forward to your further posts on the topic
ME Liz Strauss says
I’ll pull together some information I’ve written before and update it. Meanwhile, you might search on the topic. I’ve talked about that a bit in the past …
I can always talk more about it. 🙂
You’re not a stranger anymore. 🙂
Scott Dailey says
I read you daily on my Blackberry (via SnapTu) going in and out of NYC. I’m so excited to have met you Liz. The tone you take with your readers is so inviting and validating that the greenhorn (me) can just ease into your posts, without feeling compelled to prove something to you or your readers. As a newbie, I have to say that it is intimidating to be learning how to leverage social media amid an ocean of brilliant contributors to the topic. And there’s no medicating the intimidation. I frankly think it’s the appropriate, albeit temporary, response to the wealth of knowledge you have to espouse. I think the less complicated blog commenter (not me) calls it “humility.” I digress. Thank you. It’s the calm, inclusive delivery you possess that I think convinces the new guy (and gal) that we can do it too. That we have something an audience would enjoy hearing about. Thanks Liz!
ME Liz Strauss says
If that also means that you wrote this comment via your Blackberry, I’m doubly thrilled that you invested that to send this message to me. Wow!
Folks aren’t newbies long in the social space, except when they choose only to watch. And don’t think for a second that all of that information doesn’t have that same intimidating effect on all of us. We see a mass of other people doing, saying, and making, while we’re still thinking and figuring out. It never hurts to realize at that anyone person who’s doing something spectacular had to figure it out. 🙂