In 2011, I started writing articles for a website called EzineArticles. It was like today's HubSpot, where people would write many marketing and sales articles and press releases.
Even though this website was the first I ever wrote for in English, I still chose to show up as the expert. I didn't have a clue what I was doing, but at the time, I was following this program that promised to make me rich.
It was as if affiliate marketing and pyramid schemes had a love child. But I was inexperienced and didn't recognize this was a fluke. I knew enough not to give them any money, but I was still curious about the promise of success.
I wrote a few articles and included CTAs to a landing page unique to me. And what do you know? I didn't see a single cent.
Fast forward to 2021. Things are much different now. I'm still learning how to be a better content creator - but I choose to put myself forward. I won't hide behind a brand name or a company logo.
Let's discuss why you don't want to show up as the expert.
People Will Relate To You More
Who are you more comfortable buying from: your friend who's opening a new business and offered you to buy, or someone claiming to be an expert, but their credentials are sketchy at best?
If you are credible, then, by all means, use that. I recently joined Matt D'Avella's YouTube course and was surprised to realize that he already has more than 2000 subscribers to a course he offered for a few hundred dollars. Matt has done well for himself, and I'm an avid fan of his channel.
This course has probably changed his life.
I loved Matt's Journey on YouTube because he never showed up as an expert. Instead, he always tried things and shared his findings with his audience.
His audience connected to him, and your audience will relate to you in the same way.
Take Your Audience on a Journey
Perhaps you're passionate about potatoes. But, you don't know enough about them to create a course or share valuable content. But you love potatoes.
Taking your audience on a journey is the perfect way to learn about potatoes and build your community.
Create videos or posts about the things you're learning now about potatoes. What are the open questions? What have you learned so far?
Don't be an expert, be a student.
Understand Your Value
Even if you only learned about potatoes for one day, that's still one day of knowledge more than the average person who is not invested in potatoes as much as you are.
I had a course about writing fantasy once, and one of my students told me - I want to know that my instructor knows how to walk the talk.
Which I completely understand. There's a huge difference between being Brandon Sanderson and offering a course about writing and being a beginner in writing and offering an expensive course that doesn't justify your knowledge.
(BTW, Brandon, if you're reading this - please do create a course. Your YouTube classes are great, and all, but some of us need something more private than a university lecture)
But nobody will fault you for offering a $5-10 e-book with a collection of lessons you learned about a specific topic.
Think about that.
An Expert is Professional - A Human is Personal
When you present yourself as an expert, you can't share your life with people. And they want you to share it with them.
People don't buy from brands - they buy from people.
Sometimes you'd want to share with people that you're struggling to upgrade your gear. Maybe you'll even start a goal on Patreon or Ko-Fi and offer people something in return for helping you deal with life.
It could even be as simple as - "I want to buy an annual Grammarly Premium subscription to upgrade my writing. It costs $150 a year."
Then you make sure you also give value to people (which you might already be giving anyway). Announcing a simple life goal is going to connect you more deeply with your audience.
You Won't Be as Strict With Your Content
When you're the expert or the brand - you box yourself into a specific type of content.
When you show up as a human, you allow yourself to dabble in more things. Just like every human has multiple things they are passionate about in life, so will you.
If you present yourself as an expert about writing academic articles, your audience will find it disturbing to find out your professional website includes posts about your pet.
Show up as a human when you're writing for yourself. One day if you own a company - a separate entity from yourself - then it might make sense to write only the type of content that relates to your company.
We are ever-changing. Don't limit yourself to being the expert about only a specific topic in your blog.
In today's article, we talked about why you shouldn't present yourself as an expert.
The reasons I shared with you were as follows:
- People will relate to you more.
- You'll take your audience on a journey.
- By being personal, you can explore your value.
- Experts are professional and don't get to share their lives with their audience.
- Experts are limited in their content strategy - personal creators are free to explore a variety of topics.
Hopefully, this article convinced you to be yourself online and not show up as an expert.
Let me know what you think in the comments below. Are there points you don't agree with or those that you experienced yourself? I would love to learn more about your journey!
Thanks for reading!