If You Are The Expert, Must You Tell Them?

A question being asked a few times this month by some of our authors: “Should you try to qualify why you’re qualified to be the expert when putting the article body together?”

Easy answer: No.

More complex answer: If I have to remind you that I’m an article writing and marketing coach, would you believe it’s true vs. if I just assume you know that I am because I keep educating and training you throughout the year with my articles, email newsletters and blog entries?

If you’re worried about being taken seriously, then the easy solution to your worries is that I recommend you go deep on your topic and write more about it than anyone else… and don’t worry if you haven’t told them that you are the expert. When someone sees that you have written hundreds or thousands of articles around your niche area of expertise, they will know you are the expert because only experts ‘go deep’!

You could tell your reader in subtle ways that you are the expert:

For example: If I’m a fitness trainer and I state in the article that one of the recommendations in my advice to you helped me to achieve a 12% body fat ratio, it becomes assumed that I’m the expert.

For example: If I’m writing about wind surfing in Bonaire and I state something like this, “One of the lessons I learned from being the leader of the Bonaire Sailing Team is ________”, you can assume your reader will know you are the expert.

For example: If I’m writing about car audio system building and I state something like, “Having just built my 7th generation car audio system, I can tell you that as you get older you still need thousands of watts in your car stereo design to achieve a nice clean and crisp sound stage unlike the ‘SPL blast your ears off’ stage that every young twentysomething goes through.” — you know that I’m the expert.

For example: If I’m writing about article marketing and I state, “As I drilled through 300,000 articles of insider data to determine the impact of various variables on an articles ability to attract traffic, I realized that __________” — and you can assume the reader knows I’m the expert.

Your Resource Box Plays A Big Role Here:

Directly below your article body is your resource box and this is where you remind them who you are, what your title or expertise is and a benefit to the reader if they visit your website, sign up for your free ezine or download your free report.

One way to mess this up is to mention every website you own that is unrelated to the topic you are writing about. Don’t make that mistake.

Conclusion:

I like the idea of not being blunt in the article body about my expertise and I just know that they will know I am the expert because I go deep on my subject matter and my resource box seals the deal by reminding them of my expertise and inviting them to benefit further from it.

It’s a fine line between coming off arrogant (something you want to avoid obviously) and knowing you need to state why you are recommending X, Y or Z strategy in your article.

What do you think?

17 Comments »


1
Jason Henderson writes:

I totally agree. I started a newsletter on search engine optimization and marketing specifically for Miva Merhant shopping cart users back in 2000. Other than occassionally mentioning results from clients, I don’t recall ever tooting my own horn or even advertising my services that much. Now I consistently hear from potential clients that everywhere they look and everyone they ask says Jason Henderson is the one for seo and marketing for Miva Merchant.

Comment provided October 11, 2006 at 10:08 AM

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2
Delva Rebin writes:

Hi, Christopher,

Great information, as always.

I particularly liked the specific examples you gave as subtle ways to state your expetise. This is one of the techniques we recommend for our clients to establish their credibility when speaking to audiences who do not know them, personally.

. . . also, a neat reference to your own expertise in the last example!

Comment provided October 11, 2006 at 10:30 AM

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3
Dale Collie writes:

“Dwarfs and Experts”

Experts who tell you they are experts are immediately suspect. Readers don’t really care whether you’re an expert anyway; they want to know what you can do for them. Give great content, and add your credentials to the byline.
It was once said, “A dwarf who carries a yardstick to show you his height is a dwarf in more ways than one.”

Comment provided October 11, 2006 at 10:36 AM

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4
Carl Chesal writes:

Expertise, like respect, is something you earn over time through continued sharing of knowledge. Openly sharing your ideas, experiences and knowledge will ultimately gain you recognition as a Subject Matter Expert”

Comment provided October 11, 2006 at 11:07 AM

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5
rickey gold writes:

Absolutely agree. Smart marketers never assume anything.
It you have expertise in an area, you generally are an expert. Let people know. Toot your horn!

Comment provided October 11, 2006 at 11:10 AM

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6
Donna Doyon writes:

Great article! When I read the examples I thought, “Hey, I do that!” But I didn’t appreciate the value of doing it.

So many times I overlook the subtle references I make about my experience and expertise because I think I’m just relating a story. Thanks for the examples to remind me that I am promoting myself as an expert more often than I think. 8-)

Comment provided October 11, 2006 at 12:04 PM

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7
Rascal Miles writes:

That’s quite an understanding, Chris :)

I had thought that, ~ by stating that “Rascal Miles is an Apostle, of the same calling order as was the Apostle, Paul,” in my by-line ~ that people would make the connection. Perhaps not, dispite all of he scripture that he Lord provides me with to quote?

One reader said that I have been reading to many Sci-fi comic books in her posted comment. LOL

Thanks! I’ll make some revisions to my About The Author when I publish my next article which is on my websites now as “Rascal’s Blog :)

~Rub-it “An Expert Appears”~

Rascal :))

http://Jesus4You.ws

Comment provided October 11, 2006 at 1:59 PM

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8
Joan Stewart writes:

I never hesitate to call myself “a publicity expert” in the lead of the article or high in the article, as well as in the author resource box.

Why? Because when somebody does a search for the keyword phrase “publicity expert,” guess whose name is usually in the Number One position on the organic search list?

Because that keyword phrase is also at the bottom, in my author resource box, that gives me a boost in the search engines.

Tip: On the homepage at my website, my positioning statement right at the top of the page states: “Publicity expert Joan Stewart shows you how to use free publicity…”

That, too, is the reason I’m often listed as Number One for “publicity expert.”

Arrogance has nothing whatsoever to do with it. I want to make it as easy as possible for people to find me online.

Comment provided October 11, 2006 at 3:48 PM

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9
Ed Howes writes:

Good examples Chris,

I agree with Dale on this. If you are a Westerner you come to espect deceit and exaggeration from the public at large and all those posing as authorities. You listen or read and compare what you are hearing to your personal experience of the subject, then you decide if the speaker has been wasting your time explaining the obvious or trying too hard to impress. Judging by modern politics, I’d say a little humility creates a lot more credibility.

Comment provided October 13, 2006 at 12:30 AM

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10
Kenneth Hoffman writes:

A modest note of any awards you may have received or books you may have written would not be out of line. A line about how you love what you do and how you enjoy helping readers with their problems will create a positive atmosphere. As you said, the most important thing you can do is to give them the low down, tell all you secrets and make it easy to understand.

Comment provided October 14, 2006 at 6:32 PM

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11

My mantra has always been “give ’em the good stuff”. Whether it’s a seminar, article or coaching, you instantly become an expert in the eyes of someone to whom you have given a tip, idea or strategy they can put to use in their business or personal life. When it comes from your “real world” experiences and not “theory”, they know it. When people perceive you are trying to “sell” them something rather than inform them…all of your credibility is gone.

Comment provided October 16, 2006 at 4:38 PM

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12
Lance Winslow writes:

Whereas I kind of agree, let me paint another scenario. Let us say you are going against the industry norm and stating a common sense factoid that you discovered, which debunks normal industry association myths. If you do not tell of your experiences, observations or knowledge status, someone is liable to think you are a rabble rousing bone head. Yet if you immediately pull rank early on, someone will hear you out and not click out. So, I believe there is a time to tell someone that you are Beyond Expert, so they do not categorize you as a mere expert or worse some rabble rousing bone head. Of course if you are a faker expert and really not an expert at all, are not comfortable with stating your reality or you are smoke and mirrors with nothing but rhetoric, then I agree do not lie and tell people you are something that you are not.

Comment provided October 18, 2006 at 4:20 AM

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13
Dale Collie writes:

Lance … are you trying to say “Speak up if you have something to say” and “Everyone will recognize your BS is you’re not an expert” ??

Comment provided October 18, 2006 at 10:22 AM

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14
Lance Winslow writes:

Yes, that is pretty much what I am saying; If you are a Super Star in your industry, why be afraid to say it. If you are not an expert and you say it, then people will know you are full of beans anyway. If you are what you say; say it if it appropriate. There are a billion people on the Internet; and believe it or not and I hate to break it to many people’s ego, but they don’t know you, have never heard of you and probably never will again. So, may as well give it your best shot.

If someone is afraid to say the truth about their knowledge base, experience or observations; why? Are they faking it? Are they drown in political correctness? Are they of low-self esteem or do they have an imposter phenomena shadow? What gives?

Now, I realize that people say that it is not right to brag, sure enough, others feel lesser when you do that? But is that really the writer’s fault not to want to make underachievers feel bad? After all if someone is searching information, then they want to hear from someone who knows what they are talking about, so if you do know what you are talking about set them at ease.

There are ways to do this without undermining your message or putting people down. Some might call it bragging and it can be if done incorrectly. However, I submit to you that I read more than I write and often I question information and want to know the source, that is to say; How do they know? How can I trust this information? What experience does this academic have in the real world? What have the done, accomplished or observed that would be different or a better perspective?

If you have worthy information, Bring it On! If you can prove your information is worthy, Tell Me and Show Me!

It seems so many people spout the typical Industry Association buzz-words and obvious, without any indication of knowledge beyond what you can read in ANY Trade Journal filler article on the subject. The reader wants ‚¬“juicy stuff‚¬ something new, different, another perspective, secret tip; they want information and they wish to know if it is reliable. The reader wants to know that the information comes from a reliable source, someone who; Gets it! Someone who has lived it and someone who; Has Been There! I guess that is what I am saying.

And I agree if you do not know what you are talking about better to not; Open Your Mouth to Remove All Doubt. Personally, if you try to follow the Social Norms too much you cannot break thru the ‚¬“Crud Membrane‚¬ or ‚¬“Blob of Bureaucracy‚¬ to get to what’s real. And I have numerous examples of people who some call arrogant, yet they have changed the way we live on this Pale Blue Dot forever. Indeed those who call them arrogant cannot match accomplishments, so that is merely an inferiority complex floating on the water roaring under the bridge. Consider this in 2006.

Comment provided October 18, 2006 at 3:38 PM

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15
Lewis Stratton writes:

Some great food for thought here. My thinking aligns with the position put by Lance Winslow, but I recognise the danger of making claims that cannot be backed up by performance. In my area of expertise (human resources – specifically recruitment and selection) there is such a variety of voices in the market place making all kinds of contradictory claims, I do tend toward making a declaration about my qualifications. Nevertheless, if I can’t back up my claims, I am fully aware that readers will vote with their mouse! Democracy is alive and well!

Comment provided October 23, 2006 at 11:20 PM

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16

Of course, it changes a little bit when you’re submitting articles or press releases in the third person. My music-education company often submits press releases to the local press, with no by-line. Since it is a “third-person” oriented article, guoting me as a “veteran musician and music career mentor,” it works pretty well. The information is usually re-written a bit by the newspaper, but the positioning and quotes stay intact.

Comment provided October 25, 2006 at 1:42 PM

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17
phillip skinner writes:

Yet another great subject to be thought over … my self I think passion to any subject matter as long as its informative and saves the searcher a great deal of time, even money, better still effort would suffice the indication that the author is claiming to be “THE EXPERT” after all is there any new fundamentals to subject matter when is any subject totally answered??… so the one detail that would definitely NOT put me off writing about any subject I was passionate about would be a worry that I was not experienced to be thought of an EXPERT !
Phillip Skinner

Comment provided November 5, 2006 at 2:11 PM

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