How to Position Yourself as an Expert
Whatever kind of freelance or consulting work you do, one of the best ways to attract top clients is to position yourself clearly as an expert in your field.
And yes, you first have to be an expert. You don't have to be the world's leading expert, but you do need to know what you're talking about, and in real depth.
To become a credible expert it first helps if you choose your niche carefully.
If your niche is too broad 'like 'all consumer electronics' 'you'll find it hard to position yourself as a true expert.
If your niche is too narrow 'like 'Sony PlayStation' 'you'll find it hard to make a living.
Niches like 'computer games' or 'home entertainment' are perfect. It won't take you a lifetime to become an expert in either field, and there are plenty of prospective clients to choose from.
Of course, it will help enormously if you choose a niche in an area that genuinely interests you.
>> Got expertise? Here's the next step...
One of the fastest ways to get the word out is to get your name in print. In other words, write articles.
It's the strangest thing...but as soon as someone sees your name in print, your 'expert' status automatically jumps up several notches.
Publish your articles on your own web site. And make it known that other site editors can reprint your articles on their own sites and in their newsletters. Get the word out through a blog and by participating in discussion groups.
And, of course, every article should include a short bio and link back to your own site.
>> What's better than having your articles online?
The next step is to get your articles printed in real print publications, on paper. Again, strangely, an article on paper earns you more expert points than an article on the web.
Best of all, if your niche is, for instance, home renovation products and services, get an article printed in one of the trade magazines that serves that industry.
Now you're getting in front of hundreds or even thousands of prospective clients. It's not an ad. It's better than an ad. You're presenting yourself as a true expert, with the implicit endorsement of the editor of the publication.
>> Accept those invitations to speak
Once your name has appeared as the author of a sufficient number of useful, expert articles, you'll start getting invitations to speak. If they don't come your way, start looking for them.
You can start out small, speaking to local business groups and marketing associations. If all goes well, you'll soon find yourself with opportunities to speak to much larger groups at industry conferences.
And yes, being a speaker earns you major expert points.
>> Time to write a book?
Nothing brings you expert status faster than being the author of a book. Do you know enough on your subject to write a book? It may take a little time before you're ready. But the more articles you write and the more times you speak, the deeper your knowledge will grow.
In addition, articles and speaking engagements generate feedback from your readers and listeners. And the more feedback you get, the better you will know what it is people really want and need to know.
If you can get published and distributed by a major publishing house, so much the better. If not, self-publish. You'll need to do a lot of promoting to get the sales, but you can earn more money from each book sold and still confirm your status as an expert in your field.
>> Concluding thoughts
After a while you'll find yourself writing articles, speaking at public and corporate events and signing copies of your book or books at every opportunity.
At that point you will have truly earned your stripes as an expert and will find yourself with a very impressive list of clients and prospects.
About the Author
Nick Usborne is a copywriter, author and speaker. You can access all his newsletter articles on writing for the web at his www.ExcessVoice.com site. You'll find more articles and resources on how to make money as a freelance writer at www.FreelanceWritingSuccess.com