Being Relatable, Not Pretending To Be An Expert
When you share what you’ve learned, over time, people take notice of you.
We are all confronted with spaces we may not be experts in, but it’s better to step into the arena and gain experience than it is to share advice where you haven’t lived it.
When it comes to being knowledgeable about a topic or a way to deliver, you have two ways of looking at it.
The first is you can pretend you are the expert. It’s easy to tell people how to grow, what it takes to build, achieve growth or have a bigger list than everyone else, but you might not have the proof to demonstrate what you have done. We all have an opinion.
The other path is to become wiser, over time. This is by learning by giving the right amount of attention and dedication to encounter new ideas to test out, refine and make you work more useful, to you and everyone else.
This article acknowledges that we all want to share our expertise, it helps when we focus on experiences that relate rather than pretending we know.
It’s Luring When We Can Pretend
It’s easy for self-promotion to replace what you have learned as an indicator of expertise. It’s simpler to step forwards with opinions than it is with proof. You don’t have to do the work.
Going all in and embracing short-term attention and positive feedback, for many people, is a mark of success. The views, likes, shares and acclaim feeds everyone’s ego, it’s hypnotic. It means you can come back to it time and time again for a quick hit.
If you want to be seen as a knowledgeable person, you have to build a space you are ready to come back to. It is the doing that is more important than shouting loudly to be heard, by anyone.
What I’ve Done
Everything I share is from a place of testing out and then sharing the results with you.
My intention is how you can be self-sufficient to build your own audience, find your space within your marketplace and grow from it.
Linked to this are themes around creation, independence, audience and community. It’s been a continual process to lean in and do. When stepping into any new format to test out, it always comes with a huge feeling of uncertainty and fear.
It’s better to start out with a drive for curiosity than thinking you can make a shortcut and ask ChatGPT for the answers. Becoming knowledgeable over time comes from doing things you haven’t done before. For instance, a few years ago, I had never delivered in-person events, figured out how to build a community, make Zoom shows, create hybrid events, or set up occasions in other cities, but stepping up and showing you allows me to document the ride and hopefully something for us to both learn.
How To Build Relatable Experiences
Doing will always be your best teacher.
Being seen as credible by others comes from being someone who has put in the time and hard work to now be of use and of value to the right group of people.
Engaging in hands-on, real-life experiences makes it easier to remember what we’ve learned because it becomes more concrete and relatable.
Here is how to frame a path where you become noticed for the cause you believe in and draw people to you.
Here are the fundamentals of creating and sharing content by spreading your discoveries.
What topic area do you know you won’t be able to stop?
Embarking on your content quest doesn’t mean you need to be a polished expert from the start.
All you need is the courage and curiosity to take the first step. Your starting point is your desire to explore deeper and make a meaningful difference. Take, for example, the YATM newsletter, which revolves around the theme of building and serving your own audience. This central theme serves as a compass, keeping me on track and ensuring I don’t deviate. If, for instance, the focus shifted to Twitter growth, I would begin to stray from the core path.
Always have long-term in your head and then narrow your focus on your subject matter.
When I began the YATM newsletter the topic was ‘marketing.’ See what I mean by this article on 12 marketing mistakes. When your output is generic, you become forgettable and this is where many people give up as their audience sees nothing new. However, when you start, that’s ok you have to find your feet. For me, it was a place to start and keep going from a very wide topic area. I just wanted to get ideas out of my head and practice.
As time progresses, something occurs —you hone your focus and specialise in a field, continuously exercising your inquisitive nature. This focus becomes a magnet, attracting the right audience to your work.
Do more to figure it out.
It helps when you get into a habit of asking questions. From 2014 to 2017 I conducted over 100 interviews for a side project I called Talking Content Marketing. What it became was a starting point to get to know others better who had achieved expertise and who I respected. Looking back now, your success depends on what you can learn from other people. You start to notice what is happening around you and what others are working on, thinking and sharing.
Alternatively, doing more to figure out can mean rolling your sleeves up and trying something new that you haven’t done before. Whether your first in-person event, to writing a book, to start a podcast, the longer you are committed, the more you start to learn about the medium you are dedicating time to. That can be useful for others, as you’re two steps ahead to share your learning.
Have a way to frame your content.
Having a place to share your learning means it is documented. My learning is shared via the YATM blog and newsletter. This is not about a strict SEO focus but forming your own scrapbook to see how you progress. What starts to happen is that you look back to see how your own thinking and ideas have progressed. You also start to find themes to come back to. Creation doesn’t always have to be new, you can come back to previous ideas and improve on them.
Own your success and mistakes.
The fear of sharing what doesn’t quite hit the mark can put a lot of people off. The insights that you have taken onboard are worth sharing. They can be valuable to others to make sure they don’t have similar slip-ups. A lot of what I do is based on the lessons learned, it gives me a way to feedback. Oddly, it become therapeutic as it’s a way to step back and then look inside. You can see what I mean when I shared that the YATM hybrid events did not work out as anticipated. What it did was to put the project in the context of the whole YATM effort when it comes to bringing people together.
Similarly, when you find success, rather than using it for self-congratulation, recognise what it came down to, what did you do differently and how the whole approach gave the outcome you wanted. Your willingness to document and share can be of huge benefit to the people you are willing to send the lift down to. Share the path you are on, as you progress on it.
Know you can’t overcomplicate
Don’t make things overly complicated. For instance, you may have a formula, but it needs to be easy to understand. Creating content is easier when you know that sharing the fundamentals – the things you now know from your own experience, are the things people want to know – will strongly connect with others. You don’t have to pretend to be a marketing genius or present yourself as the ultimate expert; simply share what you know, saw and understand.
Writing, sharing and publishing your own experiences from your platform (blog or newsletter) to social media does make you a stronger thinker and helps to build your profile and expertise. What you are always doing is sharing your material, that you are responsible for, with an audience. Over time, that material becomes stronger. What starts off as small gigs with only a few people noticing, over time can become a much bigger platform where people want to see you. It all comes down to the ability to keep testing, keep measuring and keep asking.
Act on what you see, document your journey, and find your role. Forget pretending to be an expert. Learn, refine, and focus on relatable experiences.
When you share what you’ve learned, it grows. Instead of offering advice in areas where you lack firsthand experience, it’s better to share when you notice what is happening around you and there is a marketplace (or people where you can help).
The path of ideas and growth never ends when you know the role you serve others from your own learning and the people who join in with you.