How to Become an Actual Expert

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There are a lot of “Experts” around. How do you become an “Expert?” Just call yourself one! All done!

Well, that post was easy.

What if you truly want to become an expert. A real one. Not a fake one? While there is no shortcut to expertise, there are certain things you can do to nail down that title “Expert.” Becoming an expert on a certain topic takes knowledge and experience, yes, but it also takes a considerable amount of branding. That branding is going to make the difference between being perceived as an expert and a person who’s remarkably knowledgeable about a topic, but no one knows about it but you.

Decide on a Specific Niche for Your Expertise

Sure you’re a blogger. You like fashion. You talk about fashion all the time. But how are you an expert? Blogging? Fashion? If so, what kind? Are you an expert in content creation? Branding development? Social Media? Digital Marketing? In fashion, what’s your area? Becoming an expert on a broad subject is very difficult because broad subjects usually have a lot of information and niches within the subject to learn about. You can’t just be an expert in “Fashion” because there are many aspects of the industry: magazines, digital, start-ups, production, design, history, etc.

Be as specific as you can. The more narrow the niche, the more specialized you can brand your expertise. Also, the more valuable your knowledge becomes.

Identify Yourself as an “Expert”

Don’t just call yourself an “Expert” and be finished with it. What are some of the name of job titles in your area of expertise? Are you a journalist? A photographer? A designer? Community manager? Even though I always hated labeling my career, I have found that people need labels to communicate levels of expertise. Companies use job titles to hash out the leadership structure, and so everyone can feel like they know their place. Use a “job title” even if you are self-employed to help build that sense of legitimacy.

Don’t Just Say It. Show It.

There’s one thing in calling yourself an expert. But showing people how you’re an expert is how you’re going to earn the title. Many people use their blogs as a way to build up their brand as an expert in their field. Some people would say I’m an “Expert” in blogging because I write about blogging tips. Write articles, do podcasts, host classes, speak at conferences, write a book… there are many things you can do to showcase your expertise in a way that brands you as an “Expert.”

Position Yourself With Other “Experts”

You can call yourself an “Expert” all you want, and some people may believe you. But where you gain credibility is by achieving the trust and praise of other experts in your field. If another expert recommends you, your expertise becomes more valuable in the eyes of potential clients. If you can find a way to get quoted in the same article, speak on the same panel, get Tweeted at or posted about by another “Expert” all the better. Remember, they are human too and will value your contributions to the community as well as their own profiles.

[Image credit: Shutterstock.com]

 

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6 Responses

  1. CHIARIstyle

    As a product development designer knowing the design business in all its glory is important. Melissa, from Cotton Trendy turned me on to your site. Your team has given many “expert” ideas for making my trend business website better. So thanks to the experts at ifb. Keep up the good work.
    C Coffey
    CHIARIstyle.com

    Reply
  2. Jewel Divas Style

    Personally, I don’t think anyone can really call themselves an expert unless they back it up with qualifications of some sort.

    Whether it be four years at law school, 8 plus years at med school, dietician, nutritionist, a fashion or interior design course and certificates, there should be some, if not a lot, of tuition, studying and education behind you to make you an expert.

    Reading a few books and then proclaiming to know it all is just making you that, a know-it-all with nothing real to back it up. And to me, blogging about something for years doesn’t make you an expert in it either. I’ve been making jewellery for 24 years, and while I call myself a designer I am in no way an expert on it as I’m still learning every day.

    Reply
    • Jennine Jacob

      I somewhat disagree with that. I went to college for graphic design, and spent 10 years as a graphic designer. Would in no way shape or form call myself an “expert” in graphic design. It really depends not on the “credentials” but in the intensity of which a person has learned the ropes and participated in said subject area. It’s not quantity of time that makes you an expert, it’s quality.

      Reply
  3. skye charlie

    I believe an expert can teach not just based on educational experience but from real life experience. I love this article because it really nailed it in finding a niche and developing it. An expert understands that learning is a lifetime commitment. Therefore, while years matter, a part of it is being active in that field.

    Reply
  4. Onianwah

    True talk Jennine, very true. I work in Digital Marketing now as a result of the experience I have had with my own blog and my various social media accounts and I have no formal training.
    I’m still carving out a niche for myself and it is working out beautifully. Looking forward to working with my very first brand later this year in this new niche I have identified. Wish me all the best.

    Barbara
    http://www.barbara1923.com
    Lagos, Nigeria

    Reply