Becoming a subject matter expert (SME) doesn’t just happen. It requires a lot of hard work, time, and effort. However, if you want to make progress in your business and become a big success, you will have to become an SME so that when the other person needs what you are offering, you will be the one that he or she chooses to hire instead of someone else.
What is involved in becoming an SME?
If you get to the point at which the other person chooses to hire you or to buy whatever you are selling (product and/or service), some really significant things have already been accomplished previously. First of all, you succeeded in getting the other person to trust you. Second, you have established enough credibility for the other person to understand that you truly know what you are talking about. If you are considered a subject matter expert, that means that in the eyes of the other person, your knowledge is what they need and nobody else will do it better than you will. It is really that simple.
Because the competition is so fierce, both in and out of your particular niche, you will need to work really hard at establishing your position. There are certain truths that you must follow in order to truly become an expert in your niche.
- Have a deep understanding of your niche: Before you can do anything, you will need to establish the topic(s) that will be desirable to other people. The way that you approach that is by choosing a niche that is focused and not overly broad or general. It is almost impossible to become an SME in a niche that is particularly broad. In that case, there is just too much to learn (and to master). On the other hand, you don’t want your niche to be so narrow that you will run out of topics about which to write. Your choice will largely depend on your knowledge of those topics. Before you do anything, you will have to have to have tremendous knowledge of those topics (intimately). You will also need to find your voice and you will have to establish what makes you unique. That is exactly what will get you noticed by the other person and it will keep the other person captivated by your knowledge and by your unique perspective.
- Become an authority figure: There are many different aspects to becoming an authority figure. Just like you have a brand for your business, you also have to have a brand for you. It has to be a brand that is unique and you will have to communicate clearly exactly how you are going to help the other person to solve his or her problem. You should think carefully about how you can help the other person and you should think about how your expertise will help you to get noticed and retained. It isn’t enough to merely consider yourself an expert in your niche. A claim is one thing. However, you really do need to put your money where your mouth is. The truth is that people don’t generally part with their money easily. If they are going to be willing to spend money, it better be for something of value to them.
- Be patient. It takes time: When you first set out to establish your position as a subject matter expert, you will have your work cut out for you. You will need to get people to notice what you are doing and what you know. That means that you will have to write and post content that is appropriate, compelling, and valuable. You will also need to establish a significant following. Of course, that will not happen overnight. It takes time. However, before you even to any of that, you will need to be certain of your target audience. If you don’t have the appropriate target audience, they will not be interested in anything that you have to say. If you are able to be patient, all of the time and effort that you put into it will reward you. People will start to interact with you and you will start to establish meaningful, mutually beneficial relationships.
- Time to get started: Now that you understand what you need to do to lay the foundation for becoming a subject matter expert, there are some specific steps that you will want to follow: