Branding: Can anyone be an expert? 06/12/15

Paula Gardner - an expert in her own rights.



Resumé: You've heard it all the time: you need to become an expert in your niche. But how do you do that and if we're all trying to be experts...how do we actually stand out? Good advice from PR expert Paula Gardner in the UK.

“I work with experts for a living,” states Paula Gardner in her recent newsletter. “My Expert List clients are professionals, business owners and coaches who know their stuff and I've spent over 14 years advising people on how they can raise their profile to expert status. However, I don't believe that just anyone can become an expert. There are certain personal qualities and things you need to have in place before that can happen. (...)” 

1. You know your stuff
Whether it is neuro surgery or business coaching, I believe you need to know your subject inside out. Now, this isn't always the case, unfortunately. There are some people who are great marketeers and blag it. The most obvious that comes to mind are the business coaches who have never run their own business. They may be great on social media and give the illusion of being an expert but, ultimately, when you start working with them, you realise that they are just spouting the theories and trends of the moment. Real experts, the ones that command respect and build up long term relationships, are on top of their game. They may have invested in their careers, whether that is professional or academic qualification, and they certainly have experience: more than 5 years ideally. I really don't think that you can be a real expert without paying your dues first, however great an illusion you may be able to create.

2. You keep up to date
Yes, being on top of the latest technology and Apps like Periscope etc can help, but I'm talking more about being up to date on new innovations in your field, interesting ideas and developments that you can share with your clients and customers.

3.  You make the complicated simple
An expert commands respect when they can make complicated information or processes simple. So, my client Faye Watts of www.fuseaccountants.co.uk translates the complicated world of tax into a language that her own clients can understand; Lisa Orban of www.goldennoteook.co.uk brings her knowledge of psychology and personal branding and explains how her clients can use them to create a powerful personal brand themselves.

4. You are comfortable in your own skin
While you don't have to have model looks or have the charisma of James Bond, you do need to be comfortable in your own skin and with your appearance as you will be under the spotlight. A shyness around speaking in public or a hatred of having your photo taken is not going to help with building an expert profile. I know this first hand as video is not a medium I feel comfortable with myself and it does constrict opportunities. I'm a word person and my comfort zone is communicating through the written word. So far I've stayed in my comfort zone but am realising more and more that many need to change.

5. You are passionate about what you do
This is the added ingredient that real experts exude: it's not just a job but it's a calling. Their face light up when they talk about their chosen subject; they read books and periodicals on it just for fun. You couldn't stop them from doing what they do, and they love sharing their passion.
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