How much are you willing to invest?

Over the last several weeks, we’ve focused on how brands can leverage people of influence to advance their marketing with the influencer’s audience. This week, I want to look at the same opportunity, but from the other side of the coin.

What if you were the person of influence? There’s no reason you couldn’t build an audience that would see you as an expert. Because they’d come to trust you, it’s likely they would become a potential buyer for your product or services. But it sure doesn’t happen overnight.

Many business owners and leaders have spent decades in their industry, developing a deep subject matter expertise. They speak at conferences, write books, and often consult. They produce weekly content that teaches their audience and improves some aspect of their life every time. If that’s you, then you could be ready to step into that authority position.

But Dave Ramsey, Seth Godin, and Brené Brown didn’t become subject matter experts overnight. They didn’t just decide that they’d like to be considered an expert. They earned that moniker. We don’t get to decide that we’re an expert. The audience decides when we’ve been at it long enough, our advice has served them well, and our consistency has proved that we have a depth of knowledge that is sustainable. Then, and only then, might they consider calling us an expert.

Many people believe that writing a book or having a podcast is enough to earn the label. Don’t get me wrong — it’s a fine start. But it’s just a start.

We often believe that it’s the big things that earn someone that expert status. But in reality, it’s the little things that add up to the depth of trust required to label someone an expert.

Dave Ramsey has done a daily show (first radio and now TV) since 1992. Seth Godin has written a daily blog post for almost two decades and has written 18 books. Brené Brown has been an educator and researcher for decades. She produces a weekly podcast and has written five bestsellers and publishes on her social channels every day.

These professionals have so much to share that they produce helpful content every single day. For more than a decade. That’s how you become a subject matter expert. You make the grand gesture with a book or two. But then you support that grand gesture with daily or almost daily contributions that add value to your audience. You teach every day. You give away your best stuff. You don’t hold back or bait and switch.

You give generously.

I can hear you already. “I don’t have time to produce that much content. I’m too busy taking care of clients.” If it were easy, everyone would be an expert. If this matters to you and your business, you’re going to have to carve out the time.

Here are a few suggestions for being consistent with helpful content so that you can earn your expert badge from your audience.

Choose a single channel: You can’t put new content everywhere every day. Decide which channel both suits you best and is attractive to your audience.

Batch the work: Carve out a few hours on your calendar every week and produce next week’s content. Always be working at least a week ahead and make the consequence of missing your deadline one you never want to endure.

Think snack, not a meal: You’ve already written the book or done something else significant. This content should be snack-sized. A single idea or a helpful tip.

The value of being seen as an authority has a direct connection to your bottom line. But you have to be willing to earn the title if you want the rewards.


This was originally published in the Des Moines Business Record, as one of Drew’s weekly columns.

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