Branding Yourself as a Subject Matter Expert

Today, content is king. With digital marketing and focus on SEO becoming more and more popular, websites are littered with content that focuses on keywords much more than it does on authenticity and fact-checking. It’s all about rankings and building a profile with any means necessary.

To give this a little more perspective, consider this; 55% management professionals, out of which only a small portion is published by the government or is reliable. 

Finding a subject matter expert (SME) is extremely difficult, and becoming one is even more difficult with so many posers out there. Professionals wanting to build their profile as an SME might have to go through a lot when trying to get people to recognize them as a subject matter expert.

One prime technique of doing so is via personal branding.

“No matter how well-versed and knowledgeable you are, without personal branding, no one is going to notice.”

Here, I’ll discuss how you can brand yourself to show the world that you know what you’re talking about, and that you’re a reliable source of information.

Posing Yourself as a Subject Matter Expert

Personal Branding

To position yourself as an SME, your goal should be to be known as a credible and reliable expert. The first step in that is to develop a strong personal brand. This is much similar to starting a corporate brand.

You need to first look at yourself in the mirror. Not your outlook, but your core values, skills and beliefs. Find them, and figure out a way to express them to your audience.

If you’re going for an authoritative position on the internet, the first step acts like the little rocks at the start of an avalanche. Posting each blog post or video will become easier as you move to the next. And as people start recognizing you, you might find yourself in a position where you can’t seem to keep your fingers off the keyboard for long!

Starting off, you’re going to have to invest a lot, so be ready for that. I don’t mean a financial investment here – although it would go a long way. There are several ways to promote your brand
for free
[h1] as well. By investment, I mean effort. The more effort you put in, the simpler your future ventures become.

Start Writing

First things first; get ready to start publishing. Yes, quotes and articles go a long way, but let me tell you, authoring your own content goes a long way. Not only is it satisfying, knowing you are going to help people out, it’s the first step in getting recognized. This is where your exceptional communication skills come in handy.

Not a good writer? No worries, you can hire a ghost writer to do the hard work for you! Give them the relevant information and they’ll shape the content accordingly. Blogs, trader’s magazines, and journalists are always interested in what the public has to say, especially those who excel in a given niche.

Your writing will be the foundation of your illustrious journey towards building a profile and being recognized as a subject matter expert.

Help a Reporter Out OR Muck Rack

When you think your articles are ready to be published, start reaching out. You can either choose to go with influential bloggers, or if you’re someone who doesn’t like to stand on others’ shoulders, get in touch with a journalist.

Help a Reporter Out (HARO) and Muck Rack are a great place to start.

Yes, these services usually cost money, but with the right pitch and valuable enough information, you can get published very easily. In fact, if you’re presenting something new, they might even offer you money to get published by them!

However, remember that there is nothing wrong with going with influential bloggers, either. Isaac Newton once said,

“If I have seen further than others, it is by standing upon the shoulders of giants.”

Be Active On Social Media

In 2016, the estimated number of people using social media was 2.65 billion, which is expected to rise up to 3.1 billion by January 2021. This shows just how important social media can be to further your cause of becoming a subject matter expert.

As an SME, I’m sure you always have something to say about a chosen topic. Use social media to your advantage to send your message out. It’s only a matter of time before someone notices that you’re right and you’ll go viral from there.

You can also going in on group social media sites about your subject and offer valuable insights to those involved. You simply have to be an informative part of the conversation.

Find Opportunities to Speak Out

It’s so important that you don’t shy away from opportunities to express yourself. Many event managers are looking for someone to speak at their event about a given topic, and getting booked is easier than it sounds. You simply have to put yourself out there.

Grab a local newspaper, scout social media, talk to friends in other industries and see if there are any seminars or conferences taking place around you and attend a few. Not only will this help you spread the word about yourself as a subject matter expert, you might actually learn more about your area of expertise in the process.

Local colleges, universities, and support groups are always looking for motivational stories and educational speakers, so give a shot at that as well. There is no such thing as bad publicity.

Keep an Eye on Your Industry & Respond To Hot Topics

How would you recognize a person as an expert in music or technology if they didn’t review or publish their two cents about a new launch? You won’t.

This shows just how important it is to keep up with industry trends and partake in communications. If you’re building a profile as an SME, you simply can’t go wrong with publishing content, written or otherwise, about hot topics.

Hot topics may include new releases, amendments on old versions, or a debate among the public about an interpretation. Take the example of how people debate over what Marvel’s The Avengers: Endgame’s ending meant.

Develop a strategy – just like a marketing campaign

Make a strategy and stick to it. However, I’m not suggesting that you go all “Kodak” with your strategy and fail to adopt new technologies. Had Kodak adopted digital photography, it hadn’t gone bankrupt. The idea is to stick with your strategy, but keep evaluating and adjusting along the way. You never know when a certain post might click and give you a boost towards becoming a core subject matter expert!

Becoming a subject matter expert won’t happen overnight. It takes time and commitment however can pay dividends when done correctly.

Don’t give up, give yourself some time, and most importantly, good luck!

David Yakas
Managing Director
Wrapped Creations