Top-Shelf Tip No. 203:

"Authority without wisdom is like a heavy axe without an edge, fitter to bruise than polish."

Anne Bradstreet

Four Ways To Position Yourself As An Industry Authority

The era of the expert is gone. Why? Because in an age of social media, even fledgling professionals can become the most visible experts in the industry. Visibility is helpful, but as we all know, visibility doesn't always equal reliability or experience.

When business owners and executives are searching for solutions that will get the best results, they don't want simple expertise. They want answers to problems they didn't even know they had. Maleeka Hollaway, a writer, speaker and entrepreneur, says that real movers and shakers want true authorities with loyal followings and mass appeal.

In this issue of Promotional Consultant Today, we share Hollaway's tips to stand out in a sea of "experts."

1. Share your best content for free. People need value, not fluff. If you want to distinguish yourself from the hundreds of thousands of experts out there, you must be willing to give away the goods with the purpose of helping someone else succeed, according to Hollaway. Your basic routine should include sharing value. When you are creating your authoritative content, be it a blog article, training video or simple email, dig deep to share at least one piece of information with your audience that you know is worth a cost—and then give it away. One of the easiest ways to convert fans into buyers is to provide them with something that gives them a desired result. You want your audience to know that if your "free" stuff gets results, your paid programs, services or products must be the real deal.

2. Know who you serve and speak their language. If you have been in business for any amount of time, you know that in every conversation, someone is buying and someone is selling. Your target audience has to know your language and be able to connect with it. Hollaway says you must speak to their pain points and offer yourself as the balm to help ease their business discomfort. When potential customers and clients are looking to make a purchasing decision, they are looking for the purest and most convenient and effective solution. Your job is to know what triggers them to take action and entice them to do business with you.

3. Offer what others can't. Sometimes, the best move is to watch what everybody else is doing and then go the other way, according to Hollaway. Being in business in the age of the internet can be tough when options are ever-present. You have to be strategic so that you can deliver cutting-edge services that may not be in your competitor's wheelhouse. By offering solutions that make your audience realize you possess the missing key, you can set yourself up to become an industry "go-to" instead of "just another option."

4. Surround yourself with other authority figures. Ask yourself, "Do I want to be popular, or do I want to be paid?" It may seem like the most popular one in the room gets the most business, but perception can be deceiving. Sometimes the most successful individuals are those who aren't on your radar. Find out who has made waves in your industry and connect with them. Connecting doesn't mean emailing them and asking for a time to chat to "discover synergies." Rather, simply subscribe to their mailing list to see what they are sharing with their audience. It could also mean following them on social media and engaging with what they post.

You have a unique background and skill set. Rather than blending in with the crowd, follow the guidance above to rise as a true industry authority.

Compiled by Audrey Sellers

Source: Maleeka T. Hollaway is a Millennial, entrepreneur, speaker and writer obsessed with personal development, leadership and small-business growth. Her goal is to teach SBOs and entrepreneurs to position themselves to grow sustainable businesses and brands.

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