How to Position Yourself as an Industry Expert Online

By Andrew Bard | November 19, 2012

When it comes to career development, the key to improving your position lies in your ability to communicate your knowledge base and publicly establish your authority. In the digital age, the easiest way to position yourself as an industry expert is with online content built to inform and engage.

As colleagues and others in the industry start to look to you for your knowledge and insight toward the current trends in insurance, your client base will steadily grow. Your focus must be on creating valuable industry-specific content, then properly leveraging various social networks to share it.

Generating Good Content Ideas

When beginning an online content strategy, most people question, “Where do the ideas come from?” The best place to mine great content is your own experience. Your interactions with clients and colleagues can be a terrific resource for compelling stories.

It is also necessary to stay current with the industry. Read insurance journals thoroughly. The information is valuable and provides a knowledge base. Follow established insurance blogs. They will have up-to-date posts about industry trends. Talk to others in the industry about changes they see, and share what you know. The information exchange is vital to becoming an expert, and anything that makes that exchange visible (blog posts, podcasts, video interviews) will build your expertise.

Creating the Right Content

Once your ideas are solidified, determine your medium. Different channels reach different audiences, so begin by researching your current client base. Do they prefer video content or something written? Keep this in mind as you build a targeted content strategy that will benefit current customers and potential clients.

Regardless of the platform, be consistent with branding and voice. It is important that any content produced is unmistakably from you. Consider written content, in a blog or journal articles. Make videos presenting information on specific topics. Host a webinar to talk specifically about trends, and produce a regular podcast for peer interviews. As others associate your face and voice with important industry information, your reputation will grow.

Planning for Growth

Once you have created content, share it online. Your channels will be determined by whether you are speaking to others within the industry, or to clients. An effective online strategy requires a hands-on approach, consistency, and follow-through. Think about who you want to reach. Determine where they congregate online, and which social media tools they use most. Learn what kind of content they are most likely to share on each network. If your content resonates with them, they will share it.

Also plan for organic discovery and viral sharing. This will require researching keywords and phrases to use in your content so it can be easily found by search engines. Be discoverable. Don’t put roadblocks in front of your content that make it difficult to access or share.

Perhaps the most important factor is consistency. Map out a regular pattern and stick to it so your followers will know when to expect new content from you.

If you abandon your pattern, your audience will abandon you to find their information elsewhere. However, if you reward your followers with a constant stream of relevant information, they will continue to support you.

Remember that this is an unending process. Each sales call, client meeting, and discussion with a peer can be an opportunity for new content. Push out new information at the minimum weekly. Experiment. If blogging does not suit you, find another medium that will. If you are highly personable, webinars and podcasts can be great. Make yourself highly present via social media. Answer questions that you are asked and give timely responses. Be yourself, and be patient. If you put in the work, you will see a payoff.

About Andrew Bard

Bard is the vice president of sales for HCC Medical Insurance Services. Website: www.hccmis.com.

From This Issue

Insurance Journal West November 19, 2012
November 19, 2012
Insurance Journal West Magazine

Top Personal Lines Retail Agencies; Assisted Living / Long Term Care; Contractors & Builders

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