What makes your business stand out from the rest? What is your competitive advantage? Your answer may be product quality, price, or customer service. But are you forgetting something else that gives you an edge over your competition? One of your top competitive advantages is actually you! You are something that no other business has, and you bring a unique set of skills, experience, and perspective to your business.
The first step to leveraging this competitive advantage is to determine where your expertise lies. You have opened a business, so it is safe to say that you have a bank of knowledge about the products and services you offer. Does your business provide a solution to your clients’ problems or pains? Then you have valuable information to share. In addition, you may have gained insights on streamlining processes that others will find useful. If you’ve been in business for a while, then you may be able to offer advice on facing common challenges and overcoming them. As a business owner, you have expertise to share.
The next step is to determine how you will reach your audience and share your expertise. It’s important to roll out your educational content slowly. This allows you to obtain feedback on what topics are relevant and on ways to strengthen your content before you build your reputation as an expert on a larger stage. Here are some ways you can share and capitalize on your expertise.
Publish content on social networks.
Use the people following you on your business Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and YouTube channels to test new expert content. These followers have already shown interest in your business and products, so who better to offer your brand of expertise to? Write original articles that offer helpful tips to your target audience. Social networks offer statistics, so you can measure the engagement of your followers and you may even discover that you have picked up some new followers along the way! If your articles begin to gain traction, consider investing time in drafting and posting content to a blog once a week.
If you are looking to position yourself as an expert in your industry or in the business community as a whole, you may wish to publish your expert content in a reputable business-focused magazine or newspaper. A great way to break into writing content for professional publications is to purchase an advertorial. An advertorial is a combination of advertisement and editorial, in that it presents educational and informative content in the style of an article that leads the reader to consider purchasing the business’s products or services. An advertorial that provides tips or solutions to your target audience’s problems will position you as an expert in the reader’s mind, which is more likely to resonate with and be trusted by the reader than a standard advertisement.
You’ve narrowed down your expertise to topics that are of interest to your target audience and amassed a collection of articles and insights. The next step is to approach a publication to contribute an article that showcases your expertise. Professional publications will often request past written works before agreeing to run an editorial piece or will make a request for a contribution based on articles that you have authored for other sources. Blog articles and past advertorials are great samples to include in any requests to contribute to a publication. Once your editorial is published, ask the publication to send you any feedback they receive on the article, so you can monitor the impact of the information you have shared. If your editorial piece is well received, you may be contacted to share more of your expertise.
Offer webinars and training.
Once you have a respectable library of articles, you may consider organizing your content into a simplified presentation. If your published articles have gained a following, then you can be confident that people out there want to learn more. Offering advice and usable plans to your target audience will further establish you as an expert, as you take on the role of teacher and trainer. Look for local organizations you can partner with to offer your training, or offer online classes through your website.
Sit on expert panels.
You have established yourself as an expert in the minds of your clients and the broader business community, so now is the time to share that expertise on a public stage. Identify yourself as an expert to business and industry organizations and indicate that you are available to participate in discussions and workshops on the topic. You can also be proactive by researching upcoming conferences and events and offering to sit on a panel. If others in your industry offer complementary perspectives on your topic, partner with them on proposals to organizations. Experts collaborate to create general interest in their specialty, so presenting your knowledge alongside other experts helps grow your brand as an expert.
Seek out speaking opportunities.
You are well versed in your field of expertise; you’ve collaborated with other experts and offered your own ideas and opinions. With confidence that you are an authority in your area, you may wish to share your knowledge in large forums provincially, nationally, and internationally. It’s important to be proactive and contact organizations hosting events related to your field with speaking proposals. Rather than simply identifying yourself as an expert, provide specific topics and brief descriptions of your presentations for consideration. Another essential step in securing speaking opportunities is networking. Attend events and trade missions. Research the delegations to pinpoint potential clients for your speaking services: get your name out there!
Building a reputation as an expert can provide multiple avenues to grow your business. Not only will you attract new customers, but you can also create additional revenue streams through training programs and paid speaking opportunities. You know you have something valuable to share—start on the road to becoming a recognizable expert in your industry today!