Strategically Branding Our Expertise (and Future!) by @lieshapetrovich

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by Liesha Petrovich | Featured ContributorWe can’t open Instagram without stumbling across someone calling themselves a guru. We see dozens of paid sponsorships with someone trying to promote their latest book, course or community. And we can’t watch the news without pundits telling us how we should think.Who are all these experts anyway? And how can we brand ourselves as skilled, experienced and savvy professionals in our field too?Very few get labeled as an expert on accident. Sixteen-year-old Greta Thunberg is a world-famous climate activist who absolutely knows her stuff. But surely there are other experts out there that know more about climate. Thunberg accidentally became an expert after staging a strike outside the Swedish parliament demanding that they cut emissions by 15% per year. Now she’s a global phenomenon who was just named Time Person of the Year 2019.Photo by Markus Spiske on UnsplashBranding is everything these days so don’t leave this important factor up to chance. Since we’re unlikely to fall into expertise, here are a few ideas that can kick off our own strategic branding plans.Lights, Camera, Action!Done well, video offers us the opportunity to promote our thoughts to a huge segment of the population. And I’m not talking about the crazy viral videos that are only meant to get clicks for ad money. I mean the type of content that promotes the star as a leader in their field. And this works in every niche out there.The power of video cannot be overstated. Here are a few mind-blowing statistics:YouTube has over a billion users, almost one-third of total internet users45% of people watch more than an hour of Facebook or YouTube videos a weekMore than 500 million hours of videos are watched on YouTube each dayHere are a few examples of people and businesses that have a strong history of solid content that showcases their specialties and gives value to the viewer:DIY building: Ana WhiteFinance: Fisher InvestmentsSmall business/Etsy: Mane MessageIt doesn’t matter what type of industry we are in. Photography, martial arts, beauty, and dog training all have expert channels. When we have something important to say, something that will promote our personal brand, saying it on video is a great first step.Get Personal and AuthenticThink about the brands and people we admire the most. Oprah, one of the richest women in the world, came from extremely humble beginnings. Apple was founded by three guys in a garage. And one of my favorite social media stars, Tiffany Jenkins, is a recovering addict.We know their stories because they’ve been open about telling us. The story matters because it shows how they got from Point A (an unknown) to Point B (someone we look up too). Tiffany, a social media star with 188K subscribers on Youtube and almost 4 million followers on Facebook, shared her addiction story with the world:We don’t have to share our deepest secrets to brand ourselves as experts in our fields. The idea is to be authentic. If we came from money and used someone else’s money to start our business – own it. If we stole from Peter to pay Paul to start our business – own it.Our story is what made us the people we are today. Just remember that our authenticity is what builds our brand’s trust and that’s the foundation everything else is built upon.Share Something ValuableThis is the moment of truth when it comes to branding our expertise. This isn’t something we can fake or outsource. We actually have to be experts and share something valuable!One of my favorite podcasts is Lessons from the Universe with Jennifer Hall. In a podcast called Let Them Go, Jennifer explains:“Obligation is no reason for attachment. If a relationship has run its course, lost its mutual respect, or grown toxic to anyone involved, it is time to let it go. Sometimes, the most loving, compassionate thing we can do for ourselves and others is to simply let them go.”Jennifer shares her wisdom on her podcasts, website, gallery/quotes and live events. Even if spiritual new agey stuff isn’t our thing, we can certainly appreciate the tiny empire she’s built. And it all rests on us (the consumer) belief that she’s sharing something valuable. She’s branded herself as an expert in her field and worthy of our time.We have a lot of choices when it comes to how we share our knowledge. Books, eCourses, Facebook groups are all ways we can start to put our knowledge out there. Again, it starts with an authentic desire to help people and that’s what drives our brand’s image to expert levels.Consciously Create Our Branding StrategyVery few of us will ever stumble on expert status with a path on accident. Instead, the experts consciously create a strategy that lifts their expertise beyond their peers. This is especially important to think about now if we ever want to:Land our dream jobWant to start our own businessesCharge higher prices for our experienceIt doesn’t matter what industry we’re in or where we are starting from. And it doesn’t matter if we’re not experts – yet. Mapping out our strategy now is how we get to an expert level later.Liesha’s a freelancer by day and Kyokushin Black Belt by night.She’s the author of Killing Rapunzel: Learning How to Save Yourself Through Determination, Grit, and Self-Employment (her mother hates the title – but it’s a metaphor mom!). She talks freelancing adventures at Microbusiness Essentials.

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