Digital Marketing Hacks

How to Be an Expert

How to Become an Expert without Formal Credentials

When it comes to starting a business, publishing content on a website, marketing our products and services, a lot of us run into this problem called: the imposter syndrome. I suffered from this for 3 years straight. Can you believe this?

Here are some of the fears I had:

  • I don’t have an accounting degree, I shouldn’t be teaching people to invest in low-cost index funds
  • I don’t have a psychology degree, I shouldn’t be teaching people in behavioral change
  • I’m not a ‘Google partner’, I shouldn’t be providing SEO courses or services

Well, I was brought up by my Asian Mum to think that you’ll need a professional certificate to be an authority in any subject. That’s totally untrue. I’m not saying that you don’t need any knowledge. Of course you do, especially if you want to move up the value chain, charge more for your services.

I have spent the last 3-4 years reading up on subjects ranging from personal finance, persuasion, psychology and digital marketing, investing in professional courses and I do have cumulative knowledge in these subject matters.

There’s no reason why I shouldn’t be publishing or writing about them.

Here’s an important reframe for people suffering from imposter syndrome: people aren’t looking for credentials, people are looking for results. If you can produce results, people WILL hire you.

So, how can you publish content that positions you or your company as an expert?

How to Become an Expert without Formal Credentials

How to Write Content That Positions You as an Expert?

Like I mentioned, people are looking for results. If you can showcase your portfolio, case studies and testimonials, people will trust you over your formal credentials. One of the top financial advisors I used to know graduate from a chemistry diploma. She didn’t have a degree or diploma in finance, yet, hundreds of clients still buy and purchase from her.

Your informal education counts as well, if you haven’t been reading my blog, I often refer to articles and experts from digital marketers that I study and learn from.

One other way is to take your own advice, implement it yourself, and put it to the test! On my blog, I write about SEO, digital marketing, content marketing, copywriting. You’ll also see all these elements implemented not only on this site, but also my student’s sites, client’s sites, and my own sites.

Expertise used to be a fanciful graduate degree on the wall. However, this concept can be re-invented in today’s digital economy. Don’t get me wrong on this. There are some skillsets you need to go to school for to be branded as an expert, if you want to be an engineer, lawyer or doctor, you’ll need a technical degree. However, what about the hundreds of other niches that are out there, that do not require you to get a professional, technical degree?

Education matters, results matter as well. If you can show that you material works with yourself, and others, you’ll technically: an ‘expert’.

Being Honest with What You Don’t Know

Secondly, you should be honest with what you don’t know. Here’s something I tell my clients and students:

For digital marketing:

  • I’m not selling or promising Google page 1 rank 1 rankings
  • I’m good at what I do, however, I’m not guaranteeing you’ll succeed or get rich if you hire me as an SEO consultant or attend my courses
  • If you’re looking to rank on a worldwide E-Commerce level, I don’t provide that level of instruction or services

For my other areas of expertise:

  • If you’re looking to get clinical professional psychology consultation, I’m not the person for you, however, if you’re looking for private instruction and coaching, then yes.
  • If you’re looking to invest in foreign exchanges, I’m not the guy you look for, it’s outside the scope of what I know, however, I do have something to say about equities, index funds and active investing

These are the pointers I am extremely clear about with my clients and students. Yes, I may not sell in the short run, it may even hurt sales in the short run, however, I’ll gain the trust of the market in the long run.

Embrace what you know, and what you DON’T know, and be totally transparent about it. People are going to respect you more when you admit what you don’t know.

Everyone else is screaming: Google page 1 rankings in 2 weeks, rankings guaranteed! They know that they can’t deliver. It’s NOT that easy.

I choose to take a different position: look, SEO is going to take some time, if you work at it, you’re going to get your rankings. Secondly, SEO rankings do not determine sales. Sales do not determine business profitability.

You’ll need to figure out your profit margin, company positioning, sales copy, and many other different aspects of running your company.

Start at Different Levels, Document the Transition

Lastly, one of the earlier mistakes I made in my digital marketing career is to hide my flaws. I wasn’t willing to document the process.

If I had documented the transition, mistakes I made from attending an crappy SEO course that instructed me to publish up to 200 pages on commercial keywords, all the way to re-educating myself on proper SEO, ranking my keywords, I’ll have a lot more content, case studies and testimonials on my site today.

Here’s a rough journey of what I went through in digital marketing:

When I started off, I was designing websites off free website hosts called Weebly. I slowly moved on to WordPress, started playing around with different themes, educated myself on SEO, failed multiple times, reeducated myself on SEO, finally got my rankings, faced no conversions and learned about copywriting and positioning, learnt about email marketing, systems, product launches and etc.

There’s an increase in sophistication as I progressed.

Everyone wants to start off as an expert, nobody wants to document the transition. When you document your growth, not only this is a great content marketing strategy, you’ll also win the hearts and trust of your audience.

How to Become an Expert: You Decide 

Ultimately, it’s your choice to decide if I’m an expert in SEO or digital marketing. It’s NOT my formal credentials. If you’ve used my material to get results, or hired me to get results, I am an expert in your eyes.

What I need is my audience, a small corner of traffic coming from Google, where people trust me. That’s all.

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