But I'm Not an Expert! - Critical summary review - Meera Kothand

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But I'm Not an Expert! - critical summary review

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Startups & Entrepreneurship and Career & Business

This microbook is a summary/original review based on the book: But I'm Not an Expert!: Go from newbie to expert and radically skyrocket your influence without feeling like a fraud

Available for: Read online, read in our mobile apps for iPhone/Android and send in PDF/EPUB/MOBI to Amazon Kindle.

ISBN: 1719894051

Publisher: Independently published

Critical summary review

In a global market as competitive as that of our age, becoming an expert is not only about mastering your profession, but also about knowing how to market your mastery. Regardless of the title, Meera Kothand’s book “But I’m Not an Expert!” should help you most with the latter: it is a great “step-by-step roadmap to getting that coveted expert tag even if you‘re starting with no list or social media following.” 

So, get ready to learn how to position yourself as an expert – and how to use that position to build trust and new relationships, as well as convert more clicks into purchases!

Positioning: picking your expert niche

Gone are the days when one could be an expert in some general field of study, such as, say, literature. In the 21st century, you have no choice but to try to become an expert in something more specific – such as Shakespeare, or, better yet, Shakespeare’s view on women. 

Business is no different: if you want to attract an audience, you need to choose a niche and develop your skills in that direction. Simply put, if you’re not thinking in terms of niches, then you’re not thinking about becoming an expert at all.

The ideal expert niche – in the words of Kothand – is the “one where there’s a match between a hungry market that is actively looking for help with solving a specific set of problems and your ability to deliver what they want.” 

So, it’s not all passion and perseverance: you have to find a way to combine these with the actual needs of the market. Otherwise, you might end up stuck with a hobby that you won’t be able to ever monetize.

Content: staking claim to your expert status with knowledge

Staking claim to your expert status is all about knowledge, and knowledge, in the online world, is all about creating and curating valuable content. Let’s see how you can do that!

Creating value and differentiating yourself

Value is not “massive free guides, downloads, lengthy how-to content, and tutorials.” Value is “changing perceptions and mindsets. Value is being the person your audience turns to, to make sense of it all. The person who shows them not just what they could do, but what they should do. [...] Valuable content also adds to the body of literature or content already present in this niche.”

Changing perception and mindsets? Adding to the body of literature in the niche? Considering the fact that there are probably hundreds of high-quality articles on any given topic already, you might think this is practically impossible!

It is not, says Kothand. Although she agrees that “nothing is original” and that “pretty much everything has been done,” she also reminds us that simply differentiating yourself from the others might be enough. “The idea is not to be radically original,” she writes. “The idea is to differentiate yourself.”

Content levers

According to Kothand, there are three characteristics of content considered valuable universally. She calls them “content levers” and thinks that each one of your articles should be definable along their lines. So, in other words, your article will be valuable if it:

  1. Breaks sacred cows. Myths are there to be broken, and experts are, more often than not, mythbusters. So, question the sacred cows in your niche.
  2. Has a clearly identifiable point of view. Don’t muddle things up. Even if polarizing, be as clear as you can be. However, if nobody is arguing with you, be aware that you’re probably doing nothing more than ranting.
  3. Fills an opportunity gap. Valuable articles answer questions everybody asks, and nobody has answered as clearly as expected.

Content pieces to claim expert status

There are four types of articles “that work really well to claim expert status.” They are: 

  1. Polarizing posts or opinion posts. On the plus side, these wow your audience and immediately grab their attention. On the negative side, if you don’t have arguments, authority or social proofs, then you’ll likely lose readers than gain with polarizing posts (aka: rant).
  2. Thorough answers to disregarded questions. These answer the “questions that your ideal customer is asking, but the competition has failed to address or adequately address.” Articles such as these inspire an “exactly what I was looking for” reaction.
  3. How-to content. The staple of most blogs: what every newbie is looking for on the internet. Unfortunately, whatever is the how-to guide you might have in mind, there are probably too many similar articles written already – so, position is really difficult.
  4. Common topic but with an opportunity gap. Sharing a viewpoint from a new angle usually results in gaining trust. “For your post to not be seen as noise, you need to get your audience’s attention quickly by calling out the solution that the other content pieces give and why those don’t actually help them in any way.”

The marketing funnel

The marketing funnel includes no less and no more than five different types of people. It’s your goal to transform the first type (strangers) into the last one (customers and brand advocates). And here’s how you can do that:

  1. Strangers. They don’t know you at all and probably clicked on your site by accident. Your job is to attract their awareness – guest posts, podcasts, paid traffic, referrals, and events are the best way to do this.
  2. Readers. They know you via Facebook, guest posts, or a friend. You need to capture their interest – use interesting blog posts, content upgrades, and exciting landing pages.
  3. Subscribers. They are new to your list and just want to have a look. Your job is to engage their consideration – use challenges, email sequences, webinars, workshops, and newsletters.
  4. Engaged subscribers. They have “brand crush,” adore your style, and are even eager to buy products from you. Your job is to convert their engagement into purchase. This is when client calls come into play.
  5. Customers and brand advocates. They are attuned to your style. They have bought from you in the past and will buy from you in the future. Your only job with them is to retain them. Special deals, sneak peeks, and affiliate programs are what your brand advocates are probably expecting.

It’s important to note that nothing is more difficult than turning a stranger into a reader or subscriber. So, focus more on that part and don’t rush to the bottom of the funnel.

Authority: leveraging the authority architecture

Kothand defines authority as “the ability to get others to listen to you.” Of course, everybody has the dream of achieving something of that sort, but not everybody is capable. Especially if you’re starting from scratch, this may seem as not merely difficult, but unattainable. However, Kothand believes that you can do it! Once again, you need to go slowly and step by step.

Borrow authority: how to get featured on authority sites and podcasts

To get featured on authority sites and podcasts (that is, “to borrow authority”), you just need to follow these seven simple steps:

  1. Build a list of guest posting targets. This should be easy: just make a list of sites and podcasts you want to be featured in.
  2. Eliminate. See how many of these sites are still active and have recent posts; find out whether they have a large audience; eliminate those who don’t.
  3. Keep a running list of sites and podcasts you want to reach out to. Then, prioritize them in relation to the number of their followers and on how difficult it is to have your guest post published..
  4. Command attention with a tailor-made guest post or podcast topic. This is, of course, the most important step: to make other people interested in you, be interesting to them.
  5. Let them know you exist. Share their content on social media or within your content. Show off your expertise by commenting on their blogs or podcasts.
  6. The pitch. Send an email: be concise and straight-to-the-point. Show your familiarity with the host’s work and make sure that your blog post adheres to the host’s guidelines.
  7. Position your guest post or podcast interview for success. Add author bio and links to your site. Create a custom landing page for the audience of your host’s site or podcast.

Build authority: run a free challenge to solve a specific problem in your niche

In addition to borrowing authority, you can also build it. A great way to do this is by solving a specific problem in your niche through a challenge. In Kothand’s definition, a challenge is a “short burst of activity tied to a promise or outcome that you’re helping your audience attain.” 

One challenge usually runs for 3 to 7 days and consists of daily emails with supplementary material. To prepare it, just follow these seven steps:

  1. Decide on the goal of your challenge.
  2. Decide who this challenge is for and where you will promote it.
  3. What results can they expect after completing your challenge?
  4. Decide on the length of your challenge.
  5. Pick your challenge title.
  6. Create promotional content.
  7. Create your critical pages and content.

In addition to a challenge, you can also try to create interactive content (live coaching, live transformations, quizzes, and assessments), consider using HARO (help a reporter out) or even self-publish your own book. Neither of the three is difficult, and they should all get you a ton of authority points!

Marketability: marketing your expertise and building a marketing campaign

“Marketing doesn’t have to be about blowing your own trumpet,” writes Kothand. “There are several subtle ways that you can market yourself and build your credibility as an expert. Because being seen as an expert is as much about your social proof and visibility as it is about the depth of knowledge you have.”

Using the six laws of persuasion analyzed in-depth by Robert Cialdini in his bestseller “Influence,” Kothand has developed an “expert online business” marketing strategy that is both actionable and backed by science:

  1. Prime your digital presence. Tell Google how you want to be seen. Yes, we’re talking about meta-titles and meta-data, professional email addresses, and branded social presence.
  2. Become relatable and likable. Do away with stock images and cliched “what’s my mission” statements.
  3. Encourage reciprocity. Do this by offering a free lead magnet (or opt-in incentive) that’s related to your expertise and business model.
  4. Leverage herd mentality or FOMO with social proof. Be sure to announce the number of your followers in a banner. Because 50 million Elvis fans can’t be wrong, can they?
  5. Enhance your authority. Showing authority markers or “as seen in” logos.
  6. Invite commitment. Ask your customers to execute some tiny, effortless actions.

Final Notes

A sort of a compendium of actionable how-to manuals, “But I’m Not an Expert!” will certainly not make you skilled enough to be an authority in any field, but it will definitely show you thousands of ways to “sell” your competence as that of an expert.

Brief, but useful.

12min Tip

“Even when you write about topics you are passionate about and enjoy,” Kothand writes, “always look to solve problems for your audience.”

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Who wrote the book?

Meera Kothand is an email marketing strategist, Amazon bestselling author, and founder of Create Planners. She has been featured on m... (Read more)

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