… by Britt Reints
I’m not certain whether or not there is any such thing as a “social media expert”, but I do know that branding yourself as an expert is an important step towards success within your niche. People listen to experts, subscribe to their blogs, join in their conversations, share their material, purchase their products and invite them to speak at industry events. Unfortunately, many niche bloggers fail to position themselves properly because they struggle with seeing themselves as an expert on anything.
Perhaps you think it’s rude or arrogant to act like an expert. Maybe you don’t feel you are qualified for the title because you don’t know everything. Or maybe you’re afraid of how others will react to you if you dare to put yourself out there as someone who knows what they’re talking about.
Whatever your reason for resisting the expert label, it’s time to get over it.
Step One – Realize You Are An Expert
You’re blogging in your niche because you feel like you have something worth saying, something that hasn’t already been said that you think needs to be heard. Chances are, that’s because you’re an expert. An expert doesn’t have to know everything, you only have to have a special skill or knowledge in some particular field. Isn’t that why you chose your niche in the first place?
Positioning yourself as an authority means acknowledging that you pay more attention to a specific topic than the average person. As a result of that interest and the time you’ve invested, you know more about that specific topic than the average reader.
People with a casual interest in a subject read niche blogs. People with a special skill or knowledge in a subject decide to write niche blogs.
If you really can’t convince yourself that you have some level of expertise about your subject matter, it may be time to choose a new subject matter – or start doing your homework.
Step 2 – Accept That Some People Will Be Annoyed, But Most Won’t
The sad truth is that there are some people in this world who absolutely love to see others fail. The more spectacular the failure, the more enjoyment these people get from it. It’s sad and it’s pathetic, but it has nothing to do with you. Those people will always be rooting for someone to fail at something, no matter how you branded yourself. The only way to avoid these people completely is to make yourself invisible in the world, and that is no way to live.
The good news is, these people are rare.
Most people have their hands full making the most of their own lives. Most people aren’t that much different than you. They to listen to people who can add value to their busy lives, people who can help them in some way. They are attracted to people who exude confidence and seem to know what they’re talking about. They don’t expect anyone to know everything or be perfect all the time. They appreciate humanity, honesty, and good intentions.
Step 3 – Show, Don’t Tell
Once you’ve come to terms with the fact that you are an expert and no one is going to hate you for it, the final step is to act like an expert. Doing this with humility will attract rather than repel an audience.
The key is to act like an expert in your niche rather than talk about what an expert you are.
- Give specific examples of your work instead of listing labels and titles on your about page and in your bios.
- Associate with people outside of your niche, answering questions about your subject when they come up organically.
- Participate in discussions within your niche, making an effort to learn from and share what others have to say.
- Practice what you teach – be a living example of your message.
- Show your weaknesses when necessary – imperfection can add depth and credibility.
As with most endeavors, the key to niche blogging success is to learn to get out of our own way. That means getting over your fear of branding yourself as an expert so that your audience can begin to take you seriously.
Britt Reints is a professional blogger specializing in SEO content that doesn’t suck to read and travel blogging. On her personal blog, she writes about happiness and personal development. She is also the expert of world domination known as @missbritt on Twitter.
Good post. I think the only thing that will make people subscribe to #2 is what you mention in #3. Show your work and your numbers, otherwise you are just the next modern used car salesmen of social marketing. I try to spend less time talking about who I am and more time on the results, revealing my best of successes and worst of failures coupled with what I learned from the failures…
Thanks so much for this. It’s actually something I have been stuggling with. I don’t feel that I know as much as some, but feel that I know more than many. I’ve never felt that I”m an expert, but I feel that I’m a leader. Any thoughts on if that’s enough of a distinction?
I think the language is all about getting yourself comfortable enough to promote yourself, honestly, and ACT like an authority.
Leader, expert, authority – whatever works for you. The point is to give yourself permission to act like you know what you’re talking about.
I’m an Internet marketing consultant who helps passionate and articulate people position themselves in their niche. Your blog post is right in line with my philosophy and I have already used it with one client. I stress to her that what she is to her readers is not a know-it-all, but an enthusiastic and organized resource for relevant information. Focus on the experts you interview and the experiences you’ve had and you’ll be respected and successful.
Acting is a self confidence thing. We must tell ourselves we have what it takes to speak authoritatively. I’d caution those using video in their blogging business to be natural. Don’t act. There is a distinction.