4 Ways to Position Yourself as an Industry Authority Because anyone can be an "expert."

By Maleeka T. Hollaway

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The era of the expert is gone. Why? Because with a little media exposure and an active and engaged following on social media, even the new business owner on the block can become the most visible entrepreneur in the industry. But one thing we all know is that visibility doesn't always equal reliability.

Hungry entrepreneurs, small business owners and C-suite executives alike are always searching for solutions that will generate the best results. They're looking for answers to problems they didn't even know they had. This means that simple expertise won't do. Real movers and shakers are looking for true authorities with loyal followings and mass appeal.

If you're tired of blending in with the sea of experts, consider these four tips to help create demand and establish yourself as an industry authority.

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 have to be willing to give away the goods with the purpose of helping someone else succeed. 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 way. 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.

Related: What Is 'Authority Marketing' and How Do You Achieve It?

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. You have to 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. Offers what others can't.

Sometimes, the best move is to watch what everybody else is doing and then go the other way. 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."

Related: Stick With the Basics to Quickly Establish Your Authority

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. Look for those who have great reviews and a consistent presence on and offline. 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. If they are sharing what you already know, unsubscribe. But if they share things that help make you better and give you "a-ha" moments, they may be the one. To make it to the next level of profitable visibility, you need to move past surface-level connections and seek out those who -- per your ultimate goal -- get results.

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Maleeka T. Hollaway

Branding & Communications Specialist, Speaker & Best-Selling Author

Maleeka T. Hollaway is a millennial entrepreneur, speaker, and writer obsessed with professional development and small business growth. Her goal is to teach entrepreneurs to position themselves to grow sustainable businesses and brands using social proof. Meet her on socialproofsuccess.com.

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