Does your personal brand lead others to view you as an expert in your field? Expertise is the foundation of lasting and successful personal brands. Charisma and style may be great, but unless your personal brand accurately communicates your expertise, your career won’t achieve its full potential.
Perception equals reality; your expertise must be genuine and your personal brand must reflect your expertise at every interaction.
Origins of expertise
Your core value proposition is ultimately based on a combination of your accumulated experience, knowledge, and perspective plus your ability to share it with your market.
You share your expertise both as information and tools communicated in print or in person, or as products and services you offer to others.
How do experts communicate their expertise?
Conor Neill, a professor at the IESE Business School in Barcelona, addressed the foundations of expertise-based personal brands in a thought-provoking recent Rhetorical Journey blog post, What Makes An Expert Different?
A couple of the expert characteristics he listed really resonated with me, such as Choosing Mastery. In Conor Neill’s words:
Choose continuous learning. Choose to read, to review, to focus intensely on a continuous process of learning in the specific field in which they are experts. Go deep rather than go broad.
Another key expert differentiator was to regularly interview other experts looking for patterns and best practice.
What makes a wealthy expert?
In addition to addressing other aspects of What Makes an Expert Different?, he also addressed four additional things the set wealthy experts apart from “plain experts.”
The two points I liked the best were:
- Packaging their knowledge. This involves writing, speaking, recording–putting knowledge into a form that people are willing to purchase.
- Campaign versus promoting their knowledge. Wealthy experts create an ongoing series of interactions that lead to further interactions.
Checklist for evaluating your personal brand
Improving your personal brand begins by evaluating your current personal brand. Start by asking yourself the following questions:
- Position. Have I identified an area where I can go deep, instead of broad?
- Potential. Is the area I have identified a growing and profitable?
- Expertise. Is my personal brand based on sharing genuinely helpful, actionable, and relevant information?
- Delivery. Do I organize my messages in an easy-to-follow and easy-to-remember manner?
- Brevity. Do I respect my market’s time by editing my writing to the bone, and ending my speeches slightly ahead of time?
- Packaging. Does the personal brand package my expertise with an easy-to-read design that pre-sells the value of my information and my ability to competently deliver?
- Marketing funnel. Does each message, each interaction, pave the way for the next step in a lasting relationship?
Take the time to review your recent marketing and sales messages from the perspectives of your market. Do your recent blog posts lead others to view you as an expert in your field? What steps can you take to create messages with more persuasive examples of your expertise? Most important, what’s the first step you can take this week to encourage more clients and prospects to view you as a uniquely-qualified expert in your field?