You are an expert in your field and you think everyone should know it? Welcome to the club. Just about every company in your field says the same thing. And yet some people and organizations manage to rise above the crowds and demonstrate true thought leadership in their industries. How do they do that?
This is a challenge that clients bring to us all the time. Here’s where we’d start:
1. Own your expertise
As much as people say they’re experts, we find they’re just as afraid to show it. As humans we’re so quick to second guess ourselves and question whether we really deserve to have a pulpit for what we know.
We say: own your expertise and be prepared to showcase it confidently. If you’ve worked hard for years learning your subject matter, your customers love you and your peers seek your insight, then chances are you’re an expert and shouldn’t be afraid to demonstrate it.
2. Write about it
If you have a website, then you’re a publisher … and publishers need to publish regularly.
Spend some time jotting down ideas for articles, videos and other content that would be of interest to your prospects. What kind of information are they seeking? What problems do they need to solve. How can you demonstrate that you and your company are relevant to the issues they are facing?
Case studies are excellent ways to showcase your expertise while illustrating to potential clients how you would approach a problem. Case studies have the added bonus of acting as testimonials too.
Consider writing a white paper on your subject. Developing an ebook can be a highly effective tool in your content marketing arsenal as well. Send it out as a freemium for your clients and prospects, and promote it on social media. The more you share your expertise, the better you’ll be known for it.
3. Talk about it
Every organization has key messages, do you know yours? Take advantage of every opportunity you have to talk about your business – whether you’re talking to one person in an elevator or 1,000 people at a major conference. We recommend you develop and memorize a handful of descriptive sound bites about your company. Be prepared to tell people what you do in a few words or sentences. Use statistics and anecdotes to illustrate your key points.
Look around for opportunities to speak to larger audiences. Can you tailor a talk for your local Chamber of Commerce chapter meeting? What about a local Rotary Club? Perhaps you belong to a professional or trade organization that holds regular meetings.
We help some of our clients seek out larger industry-wide speaking opportunities such as trade shows or conferences. Consumer-facing speaking opportunities sometimes carry price tags, but can be very effective in positioning you and your company as leaders in your industry.
You can also develop your own online speaking opportunity through a webinar. With a little savvy promotion, you can start speaking regularly to audiences eager to take note of what you say.
Hang on. You say you dislike public speaking? Like so many things in life, you get out of it what you put in. With practice and coaching, we believe that just about anyone can become a competent public speaker.
Developing a reputation as a thought leader will take time. It doesn’t happen overnight, but with the right plan and determination, you and your company can become better known as leading experts in your field.