As a writer and content creator I think a lot about the importance of having expertise and knowledge in different subjects.
When you can show people you have expert knowledge, it helps build your credibility. When you have credibility people will naturally want to listen to your thoughts and opinions. They will trust you and you can build your overall influence.
I was thinking about expertise today after reading the following article on the career and lifestyle blog, Brazen Life.
If you think about it, we all have topics of interest which we could say we’re experts in. Nobody starts off as an expert – that skill and knowledge has to be developed over a period of time.
What I do think is that there are things you can do to develop your expertise and show people how and why you’re an expert. Here are some thoughts for you:
Find a niche
I agree with Brazen life on this one. You need to find an area to specialise in, but you need to choose carefully and get the balance right.
If your topic of interest is too niche, your audience will be too small. If your specialist area is too broad it will be difficult to establish yourself as a genuine expert.
Look at areas where you already have an interest in or areas where you think there’s a chance to develop your knowledge quite quickly. Look at topics or areas that aren’t already saturated with industry experts – it will help you stand out.
Do your homework
Whenever I discover a new interest I like to do my homework, I like to know the history about things. It’s probably because I’m a history graduate.
History helps us understand the present, it gives you a foundation. It’s this foundation which helps you to learn and build your knowledge in the area you’re trying to become an expert in.
The worst thing you can try to do is fake your knowledge. Ok, there might be occasions where faking it might work, but long term people will find you out. If you don’t know your stuff – your credibility will suffer.
When you do your homework by reading up on things and preparing properly, it will help give you the confidence to put forward your thoughts and opinions with some sense of authority and this will demonstrate your expertise to people.
When it comes to insight the world of sport is one area I look to for inspiration.
Despite being a sports fanatic, I’m like most people, I could only ever dream of playing sport at the highest level!
Due to my lack of natural talent, when I watch sport whether it’s football or cricket; I look to former players, pundits and commentators to provide me with some insight into the game I’m watching.
Why did a team lose or win in that situation. What was going through the mind of a player when they made that shot? What was the coach thinking of when he decided to change his team selection from the previous match?
I accept that many ex sports stars, journalists and pundits have experience and knowledge I don’t have. Good insight and knowledge helps benefit me in my understanding and appreciation of the sport I’m watching.
I don’t want to listen to pundits telling me what I already know or can see with my own eyes. I want some insight and greater understanding into what I’m watching.
This is something we should bear in mind when we’re writing content. Can we help our reader have a better understanding of a topic. Can we educate them? If we can we should try to do so.
Talk about what you’ve learnt
You can show people you’re an expert by telling them about the things you’ve learnt. Talk about some of the challenges you’ve faced and how you overcame these challenges.
Tell people about different views and opinions you once held and explain how or why they might have changed. Why do you now look or think about things differently, again explain what it is you’ve learnt.
Finally, don’t be afraid to talk about some of your mistake or failures. In all walks of life we tend to learn more from our failures then our successes. Becoming an expert is about learning from past mistakes so tell people what lessons you have learnt.
Keep up to date
If you stand still you get left behind. Whatever area of expertise you think you might have, you can’t get complacent. You need to keep up to date with what’s going on in your industry or area of expertise.
Why should people trust or respect you if you don’t know the latest developments or trends in your supposed area of expertise.
The internet makes it so much easier to become an expert with so much information instantly available.