Experts are Notorious Hussies!
by Douglas Kruger
The chiropractor held our two-week-old baby by both feet as he lay on the table-top, then pushed his little knees up to his chest. I mentioned to my wife that it was precisely that move that got us into this mess in the first place. She rolled her eyes at me.
The chiropractor was a man with a good sense of humour, who expertly allayed our concerns and guided us through some useful exercises for getting rid of winds.
As we chatted, my wife mentioned to him that she had discovered his practice as the result of one of his educational YouTube videos, a comment which inevitably led us into a discussion about expert positioning: the art of intentionally becoming synonymous with an industry.
“You know, I was really worried about making that little movie,” he confided. “I was literally giving away my intellectual capital for free.”
“And yet,” I pointed out, “we’re here today because you did.”
The Big Question:
Experts often agonize over this equation: Should I give away my intellectual capital? Should I share my best ideas for free?
I’ve long believed that the answer is an unequivocal ‘yes.’
We worry that our ideas amount to all the value that we have, and that if we share them, we will have nothing left to offer. Nobody will need us. And nobody will pay us.
When I speak on the topic of expert positioning, I advise professionals and brand-builders that this fear is unfounded. I council them to give away their best ideas, freely, often, repeatedly and even aggressively.
The result is four-fold:
1. You become strongly associated with this field
2. You prove your value and start to become a trusted guide, reassuring your target market that you are legitimate and truly have the answers they need
3. They get to experience your personality.
When you give away your best ideas for free, your target market then tends to come to you for the implementation. I know this as a speaker and business coach. All of my best ideas are available in article or video form, completely gratis. Yet counter intuitively, the result is not that would-be clients then steal my content. In fact, the result is merely that they identify me as the right solution provider, then approach me to come and consult to them. My value has actually increased as a result of the video.
My wife made a couple of interesting comments during our chiropractor visit. The first that caught my ear was her saying, “The video allowed me to see your personality. I felt safe coming to you after that.” She also said, “You know, I bet most of your viewers do exactly what I did: They Googled your video at 3am when the baby was crying and they didn’t know what to do.”
Based on this feedback, If I were him, I would start creating a series of videos and articles that precisely answer this need. I’d give them titles like:
- “Help! It’s 3am and my baby is crying uncontrollably! 5 checks for new moms,” and
- “The baby whisperer gives you three insights regarding why your infant cries at night and what you can do to help.”
All of these free educational pieces would provide solid, useful ideas at no cost and with no strings. And they would end by mentioning that the author in question runs a practice that provides the following services...
I would also encourage new moms to share the videos far and wide, in order to help other new moms. By doing that, he would go from ‘service provider’ to ‘champion of a cause,’ which is an incredibly powerful expert-positioning technique.
So what golden nuggets do you have that you’re currently keeping to yourself? If you changed your perspective, your content could help you to assimilate tribes of believing followers.
Let these basic guidelines inform your offerings:
- Solve problems that your target market grapples with
- Invite them back for more solutions in future videos and articles
- Ensure that you display your personality. Be humorous and encouraging, and show the persona of an expert guide.
Keep sharing your best ideas freely and, over time, you will become the name at the end of the sentence, ‘You know who you should talk to about that?’
Douglas Kruger is the author of several business books with Penguin Random House SA, his latest being ‘They’re Your Rules, Break Them! 50 Ways to Smash Silos, Bust Bureaucracy and Create a High-Performance Culture.’ He speaks on the topics of Expert Positioning and Innovation.
In 2016, in honour of excellence in his craft, Douglas was inducted into the Speakers’ Hall of Fame, by the Professional Speakers Association of Southern Africa. See him in action (or get all of his ideas for free) at www.douglaskruger.co.za. While you’re there, sign up for his weekly motivational newsletter, ‘From Amateur to Expert.’