10 min read ⌚
Go from Newbie to Expert and Radically Skyrocket Your Online Influence Without Feeling Like a Fraud!
When a book has a subtitle such as the one above, you don’t really need an intro, do you?
This one’s for all the men and women out there thinking:
Who Should Read “But I’m Not an Expert!”? And Why?
We’ve already told you that you don’t have to be an expert to solve big problems, but, let’s face it: in a world as dynamic and as competitive as ours, unless you are one, you’ll have troubles finding a job, let alone making a name.
Meera Kothand’s book is a great “step-by-step roadmap” which should guide you, from your modest beginnings as an inexperienced amateur (aka position sub-zero), to the supreme heights of your field’s authority ladder (aka “when everybody knows your name.”)
Not that you need it, but to quote the blurb:
“If you’ve ever said the words ‘But I’m not an expert!’ this book is for you.”
About Meera Kothand
Meera Kothand is an email marketing strategist, Amazon bestselling author, and founder of CREATE Planners.
She has been featured on many relevant websites and blogs, including Smart Blogger, YFS Magazine, MarketingProfs, and Addicted2Success.
In addition to But I’m Not an Expert, Meera has also authored two more books – The One Hour Content Plan and Your First 100 – and a “one-year blog and editorial planner” titled CREATE.
Find out more at https://www.meerakothand.com.
“But I’m Not an Expert PDF Summary”
Positioning: Picking Your Expert Niche
Let’s start by highlighting the most important word in the title: niche.
It’s the 21st century, after all, so if you’re not thinking in terms of niches, then you’re not thinking about becoming an expert!
Gone are the days when one could be just an expert in literature – now is the time when you have no choice but to try to become an expert in Shakespeare, or, even more, an expert in Shakespeare’s view on women. (By the way, he was probably a misogynist.)
Well, business is no different than literary studies: if you want to attract an audience, you need to choose a niche and develop your skills in that direction.
The Venn diagram below should help you choose your expert niche:
As you can see from the image, it’s not all passion and perseverance: you have to find a way to combine these with the needs of the market.
In other words, you’ll be stuck with a hobby which you won’t be able to ever monetize unless you find a marketplace for your ideas and passions.
Or, in Meera Kothand’s words:
An ideal expert niche is 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.
Now, what’s a hungry market, you ask?
It’s the market in the direction of which the money is flowing.
So, in a nutshell, if you notice that someone is paying money for a product or a service and you have some idea, knowledge, interest in these products or services – then, go for it!
That’s your niche.
Your expert niche.
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.
Creating Value and Differentiating Yourself
The first thing you need to learn: value is not “massive free guides, downloads, lengthy how-to content, and tutorials.”
It is more than that:
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 articles on any given topic already, this is practically impossible!
It is not, says Meera.
She agrees that “nothing is original” and that “pretty much everything has been done.” However, she also suggests that you need to start thinking in terms of differentiating instead of originality: “The idea is not to be radically original,” she writes. “The idea is to differentiate yourself.”
According to Meera, there are three characteristics of content which are universally deemed valuable; 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; question the sacred cows in your niche;
#2. Has a clearly identifiable point of view: don’t muddle things up; even if polarizing (maybe even: especially then) be as clear as you can be; however, if you don’t have arguments, be aware that you’re 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
These are the four types of articles “that work really well to claim expert status.” Meera Kothand offers an example for each of them authored by her – and we think it’s only just to
|1. Polarizing posts or opinion posts||It wows your audience and immediately grabs their attention||If you don’t have arguments, authority and/or social proofs, then you’ll likely lose readers than gain with polarizing posts (aka: rant)||“13 myths you believe about launching your blog & online business (but never ever should)”|
|2. Questions that your ideal customer is asking, but the competition has failed to address or adequately address||It inspires a “This is exactly what I was looking for” reaction||There are practically no cons to this||“What to send your email list: The beginner’s guide for the clueless blogger”|
|3. How-to content||The staple of most blogs: what every newbie is looking for on the net||Too many similar articles: difficult to position||“How to grow your tiny email list with 29 simple but powerful tactics”|
|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.”||“Does your opt-in freebie suck? Here’s how to create one that converts like crazy”|
The Middle of 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 among them (strangers) into the last one (customers and brand advocates).
And here’s how you can do that:
As you can see yourself from the graph above, the middle of the marketing funnel may be its most important part, aka it’s most difficult to turn a stranger into a reader/subscriber.
Afterward, it’s far easier to convert a subscriber into an engaged subscriber/customer.
So, don’t rush to the bottom of the funnel.
Be careful and make your progress toward your brand advocates step-by-step: slowly, but surely.
Authority: Leveraging the Authority Architecture
Meera 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 to; especially if you’re starting from scratch, this may seem as not merely difficult, but all 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 podcast (aka, to borrow authority), you just need to follow these simple seven steps:
Step 1: Build a list of guest posting targets
This should be easy: just make a list of sites/podcasts you want to be featured in.
Step 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.
Step 3: Keep a running list of sites and podcasts you want to reach out to
Keep a running list of the remaining sites, featuring this information: URL, link to guest posting guidelines and the name and email of the one you should send your pitch to; then prioritize the sites based on their followers and difficulty to have your guest post published.
Step 4: Command attention with a tailor-made guest post or podcast topic
This is the most important part: create valuable tailor-made content the sites would wish to publish.
Step 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.
Step 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.
Step 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/podcasts.
Build Authority: Run a Free Challenge to Solve a Specific Problem in Your Niche
Of course, in addition to borrowing authority, you can also build one. A great way to do this is by solving a specific problem in your niche through a challenge.
If you don’t know what a challenge is, here’s Meera’s definition:
Challenges are short bursts of activity tied to a promise or outcome that you’re helping your audience attain. They usually run for 3–7 days and consist of daily emails with supplementary material. Many challenges are tied to a pop-up Facebook group or community where you can provide support for challenge participants.
Once again, if you want to be successful, just follow these seven simple (and self-explanatory) steps:
Step 1: Decide on the goal of your challenge
Step 2: Decide who this challenge is for and where you will promote it
Step 3: What results can they expect after completing your challenge?
Step 4: Decide on the length of your challenge
Step 5: Pick your challenge title
Step 6: Create promotional content
Step 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 is difficult, and they 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 Meera Kothand.
And then she goes on: “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.”
Kothand offers many of them and, really you should have a look at them all – by her own admission, they are based on the principles that Robert Cialdini develops and analyzes in his ultra-popular book Influence.
If you don’t remember them, these are reciprocity, commitment & consistency, social proof, authority, liking, and scarcity.
If you want to develop an “expert online business” marketing strategy based on these principles, then you should:
• prime your digital presence and tell Google how you want to be seen; yes, we’re talking about meta-titles and meta-data, professional e-mail addresses and branded social presence;
• become relatable and likable by doing away with stock images and cliched “what’s my mission” statements;
• encourage reciprocity by offering a free lead magnet (or opt-in incentive) that’s related to your expertise and business model
• leverage herd mentality or FOMO with social proof: be sure to make known the number of your followers in a banner; because 50 million Elvis fans can’t be wrong, can they?
• enhance your authority by showing authority markers or “as seen in” logos; and, finally
• invite commitment by asking your customers to execute some tiny, effortless actions.
Key Lessons from “But I’m Not an Expert”
1. Create Valuable Content and Conquer the Middle of the Marketing Funnel Like a Boss
2. If It’s More Difficult to Build Authority – Borrow Some
3. Use Some Psychological Tricks to Market Your Expertise
Create Valuable Content and Conquer the Middle of the Marketing Funnel Like a Boss
Many people head straight to the bottom of the funnel, aka selling stuff to customers so they can monetize their hobby.
However, the point is to build a large audience first, because it’s much easier to turn engaged subscribers (level 4 of the funnel) into customers and brand advocates (level 5) than it is to convert strangers (level 1) to casual readers and interested subscribers (level 2 and 3).
And the way you do this?
Why, of course: by creating valuable, differentiated content.
The tips & tricks are above.
If It’s More Difficult to Build Authority – Borrow Some
You can build authority by creating challenges and interactive content, but due to the sheer number of experts in any niche, this is far more difficult (no matter how knowledgeable you are) than simply borrowing authority.
Yes, we’re talking about guest posts!
Once again, all you need is valuable content – tailored to your host’s interests and audience.
So, what are you waiting for?
Use Some Psychological Tricks to Market Your Expertise
We are all people, and human nature is, more or less, one and the same.
Meaning: there are some universal laws of power persuasion, and, once you know them, you can use them to your benefit.
Becoming an expert has never been easier.
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“But I’m Not an Expert Quotes”An ideal expert niche is 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. Click To Tweet Value is changing perceptions and mindsets. Click To Tweet A content curator is someone ‘who continually finds, groups, organizes and shares the best and most relevant content on a specific issue online.’ Click To Tweet For your marketing plan to work, you need to reverse engineer the process starting with the outcome you want. Click To Tweet Even when you write about topics you are passionate about and enjoy, always look to solve problems for your audience. Click To Tweet
Our Critical Review
But I’m Not an Expert is written as a sort of compendium of how-to manuals; in other words, almost all of its chapters and sections are applicable and can be put into practice immediately.