Cheri Cowell here:
Do you consider yourself an expert? Last month I shared places where we can hang our 'expert shingle.' These were more traditional ways of being seen as an expert. This month I want to talk to you about a more subtle way to share your expert status. In today's world this approach may win more fans than you can sign autographs for.
We are bombarded today with experts touting their knowledge. You and I know this and are just as turned off by it as our readers are. Perhaps this is why we shy away from calling ourselves an expert. We don't want to be seen as "one of those people."
Let me share with you a way to combat this icky feeling and still hang out your expert shingle, albeit in a more subtle way. It is called Community Sharing. It is done through message boards and groups, where like-minded people gather online to share with each other. Here are some steps to take to be a part of a Sharing Community:
First, you need to understand it is a community. So, you are not joining the community as an expert, but rather as someone also interested in the topic at hand. When you join, I suggest you simply lurk for a while. That's right, lurk. Hang out and listen; get a feel for the lay of the land.
Next, when you feel compelled by someone's need, offer your knowledge, your advice, your words of encouragement. Remember, you are one of them so come along beside them and offer your gifts as someone who's been there and who understands.
Now this is the magic to turning this into a subtle expert pitch. You will need to set up your profile, signature, or avatar (Google and Yahoo profile) to include a link to your website. Thus, when you give away great advice or just the right solution that helps someone, readers will want to know more about you and they will click on your website in your signature to learn who you are. They don't see this as "one of those" people selling themselves," but rather as someone who served them and who they want to get to know.
I liken this to the 'Jesus way' of hanging out with sinners and meeting their needs. In Community Sharing we are simply being Jesus in a broken world. When you meet their needs they will want to know more and your 'more' is where your expert status is developed on your website.
Some places to find boards and groups:
Come visit my 'expert' website www.CheriCowell.comwww.Facebook.com/chericowell www.Twitter.com/CheriCowell