Are you speaking to your ideal audience?
Positioning yourself as an expert in your field means letting go of trying to reach everyone. It takes focus and clarity.
CEOs and department heads speak a different language. While the fake-it-until-you-make-it mantra has some validity, it’s important to grow yourself and stay on your A game to become an expert as quickly as possible. Staying on top of all the changes in your field helps you meet your clients’ needs while gaining credibility and social currency.
While you are growing and developing your personal brand and business there are some tips to help you display what you know and show clients why they should hire you over someone else.
1. Establish your expert positioning story.
Big brands know that people love stories. But you do not have to be a large company with a marketing department to leverage this branding technique. Sharing where you came from, what your struggle was, and how you got to where you are now is a clever way to draw people in and show off what you know and what you have learned.
There are three important stages to include in your story:
- Present the problem you experienced.
- Share your search for a resolution.
- Reveal the solution.
Why should people follow you, hire you, choose you? You had a breakthrough which made you an expert. Be credible. Build trust.
For inspiration in developing your story, check out “Positioning a Brand: Seven Brand Stories that Changed the World”:
Once you have your expert positioning story you will have greater clarity on what drives you and your business. Use this to focus in on what work you want to do. Ask yourself what projects you are most passionate about and why. Raise your standards to find the right freelance jobs and develop your personal brand.
What projects best fit the sweet spot where your knowledge and passion meet?
Now, does your current portfolio reflect that?
2. Focus on your freelance portfolio.
Using an online portfolio means that you can easily edit which work you choose to share. When you are just getting started as a freelancer, you may feel the need to take on all projects sent your way and include everything in your portfolio. But it is important to edit wisely and only include projects that reflect the direction you want your business to go.
“Unless you’re an established journalist with the education and experience to objectively cover any subject, most brands do not want generalists. Establish yourself as an expert in a particular genre or content type, and you’ll likely attract better clients.” — Justin McKinley, Mantras for a Better Freelance Writing Portfolio to Catapult Your Career
When potential clients review your work, you will attract only your ideal clients. They will see focus in your work and know that you are an expert in specific areas.
Need inspiration in creating your focused CV Portfolio? Here are some examples:
Once you are showing off your expertise with a focused portfolio it is time to get some quality testimonials.
3. Take your testimonials from “blah” to expert.
What separates your average testimonial from a high-impact one? Specifics.
Check back in with your clients and see if they can share the returns on investment (ROIs) of the work you have done. Did their sales increase? Did they get more traffic? More social shares? Ask them to include some specific results that they have seen in their business by working with you.
If your clients are up for it, video testimonials are more powerful than written ones.
Potential clients love to see stats, numbers and results. Don’t have statistics for your work yet? Find some reputable sources and share on your website.
For example, if you are a freelance writer, you could share this one from Hubspot. Just be sure to cite your source.
“Companies that blog receive 55% more traffic than companies that don’t and they have 434% more indexed pages compared to those that don’t.”
Testimonials can come from social proof, too. Look for shares and endorsements of your services online and take screenshots to share on your own platforms. Add those “As Seen On” logos and links anytime you can. If it is a good fit for your business, case studies can be very effective also.
Create value for your clients and share that value.
4. Mix up your strategy.
When it comes to building your personal freelance brand and positioning yourself as an expert, there are so many ways in our modern age. Do not get overwhelmed by trying to do all the things. On top of having a CV Portfolio for clients to review your featured work, choose 1-3 other options to share your expertise. The more people see and recognize you around the web the more your brand awareness and expert level will grow. But it is better to focus and be consistent with fewer methods than spread yourself too thin.
Here are some additional methods to consider when positioning yourself as an expert in your field:
- Write a book. The self-publishing world is booming, making it easier to become an author and share your knowledge.
- Teach a class. Online platforms are spreading across the web, allowing you to teach online and show off what you know. Plus, you might earn some extra income in the process.
- Try public speaking. Get booked at various events to share your story and what you have learned.
- Start podcasting. Start your own show with helpful tips and interviews to bring in more brand awareness.
- Go video. Instead of, or in conjunction with, a podcast, make a show for YouTube or another video platform.
- Guest post. Guest post and share your expertise on high traffic blogs.
- Pitch your story. Writers for sites like Forbes and Entrepreneur are always looking for great stories to share. Pitch yours.
Positioning yourself as an expert in your field does take effort but it is effort that can pay massive dividends for a long time to come. Remember to keep the focus on how you can help potential clients. Always provide quality. Give and you will receive.