The answer, if you believe Hinge Marketing‘s intensive efforts to promote its content marketing consultancy, is “yes” and I’m not about to argue with the company’s impressive promotional efforts and research.
The argument: If you become a defined expert within a specific niche, and then combine word-of-mouth referencing with intensive, intelligible content marketing (simplifying complex concepts so that the intended clients can really understand them) you’ll achieve “visible expert” status — and if you are an international celebrity, can command rates well more than an order of magnitude above the regular expert, perhaps with the same level of knowledge of the field, who simply hasn’t received the recognition.
I’m a bit cautious in endorsing the strategy because, if Hinge is right, I’ve done most of the things you need to do to fast-track to success, including publishing a book or two, blogging (daily), and focusing within a niche. And I’ve succeeded, but not quite to the “wow” stage.
Well, maybe that latter point about focusing on a niche is the weak spot — “Construction Marketing Ideas” certainly covers a specialized area, but it may not be specialized enough. If this blog serves both small-scale residential renovators and massive multi-national industry giants, perhaps my field is way too large to be effective.
And, of course, there are the challenges in defining “expert” in part because it isn’t so easy to assert credentials here. Lawyers, doctors, architects, engineers and others with professional degrees (ideally from a famous ivy league university) clearly have some hinges where they can hang their shingles. A person like me who gained experience as a journalist overseas and then evolved to publishing media for the architectural, engineering and construction community may have some expertise, but is it enough to appeal to the specific industry segments — and does the expertise resonate strongly enough within the community to serve them effectively?
One element I’ve noticed in a couple of successful visible experts has been their ability to select an antagonist. As an example, a physician who operates diet clinics has achieved fame and international recognition by poking holes at the commercial (junk) food industry and its efforts to capture scientists with grants and other initiatives to generate less-than-unbiased research suggesting sugary, carbohydrate rich junk foods are not the culprit when it comes to obesity. And, more closely to our industry, another expert has taken pot-shots at residential leads services and websites with some effectiveness. This requires some courage because these organizations have plenty of money for lawyers to swat away at individuals and organizations who wish to cause them trouble.
Nevertheless, if you have achieved some success and can define your status as a visible expert or thought leader, I believe you are well on your way to success. Thus, you may find value in the Hinge book The Visible Expert: How to create industry stars. And why every professional services firm should care, by Lee Frederiksen, Elizabeth Harr and Sylvia S. Montgomery. It’s free — in exchange for your contact information, of course.