Book Review: But I’m Not An Expert by Meera Kothand

downloadAre you trying to be known for something or want to be known as an expert in an area even when you don’t have the qualification? Then Meera wants to show you how to become an expert without having to go back to school for lengthy periods of time. The title of her introduction to the book makes it clear what she is selling in this book, a big bold promise. She defines the aim of the book as follows:

The aim of this book is not to make you the best expert in your niche, but to help you recognize were you stand and how you can boost your experience in the eyes of the people you want to serve – the people whom your business is for.

She starts out in the introduction defining some key terms such as what she means by expert:

An expert is someone who has acquired knowledge and skills through study and practice over the years, in a particular field or subject, to the extent that his or her her opinion may be helpful in fact finding, problem solving, or understanding of a situation.

Other key key terms defined are influencer and micro-influencer. While she describes an influencer as people who have 1 million or more social media followers, she explains that micro-influencers are those who 1000 followers or more. I believe in writing this book, Meera aims to make us more of micro-influencers because she believes that micro-influencers are more able to build trust, impact and engagement which can make them succeed in their niche.

She defines a formula for what makes an expert as follows:

Expert Quotient = Knowledge + Authority Architecture + Marketability.

  • Knowledge she writes is, about how you create and curate content to demonstrate your expertise and attract and retain your idea customers.
  • Authority Architecture shows three different pathways to garnering authority. These are, build, borrow and be.
  • Marketability is about how you present and market yourself to pull the authority and knowledge elements together to reinforce and cement your position as an expert in the minds of your readers and ideal customers.

Here Meera does take the time to also explain the three components of Authority Architecture.

She also discusses why it is important to be an expert, which includes:

  • You can enjoy word-of-mouth marketing.
  • You can attract your idea prospects, and it’s easier to convert them to customers.
  • You can differentiate yourself from competitors.
  • You can easily form joint ventures, collaborations and partnerships
  • You can charge a premium

If all these are good reasons, according to Meera, the most important reason for being an expert is your reason, why do you want to become an expert?

The book consists of five sections, following is a brief review of the chapters in every section.

SECTION 1 – PICKING YOUR NICHE

This section has a single chapter that deals with how to identify a niche.

CHAPTER 1 – IDENTIFYING YOUR THING

Meera starts out making a distinction between a target market and a niche even though she write they are often used interchangeably. She describes them this way:

A target market is the specific group of people you want to serve. A niche, on the other hand is the expertise you specialize in offering the target market.

She uses an image of three overlapping circles to illustrate what the three components of a niche are. The centre point between the circles of marketplace, your audience and you is the niche. In other words when these three come together then you have a niche.

Here’s another description she uses:

An idea expert niche is one where there’s a match between a hungry market that is actively looking for help with solving a specific set of problems and your ability to deliver what they want.

Following on from that there is a focus on explaining the three aspects of a niche  in much more detail. First she writes about your audience, then the marketplace and finally you, using some case studies to get her facts across.

SECTION 2 – STAKING CLAIM TO YOUR EXPERT STATUS WITH KNOWLEDGE

This section has three chapters focused on helping us create valuable content to become experts.

CHAPTER 2 – CREATE VALUABLE CONTENT THAT POSITIONS YOU AS AN EXPERT

Since postioning yourself as an expert as described by Meera includes creating valuable content, she describes the concept of value in the context of creating content. She writes that value is:

  • Changing perceptions and mindsets.
  • Being the person your audience turns to, to make sense of it all.
  • The person who shows them (audience) not just what they could do, but what they should do.

As Meera states here, creating value is much more difficult than just sending people a link or another of those posts on 10 ways how to get something done. It is about creating something that truly brings value to the already present body of work in that niche. Though it is not about being original or creating something nobody has created before.

In creating valuable content your aim should not be to be radically original but differentiate yourself. It’s not about copying what others are already doing in your niche, but looking at things from a new angle, strategy or perspective that will be valuable.

Next Meera goes on to describe three levers that make content valuable. They are:

  • Break sacred cows: Break through the limitations that are holding your target audience back, and provide content that dismantles those myths for your target audience.
  • Has a clear identifiable point of view: According to Meera, valuable content is content that takes a stance about the topics and problems in your niche.
  • Fills an opportunity gap: Addresses frequently asked questions that the competition hasn’t adequately addressed.

Other areas discussed in this chapter are:

  • Content pieces to claim expert status.
  • How to create middle of funnel content.
  • The importance of learning continuously.
  • Create a content hub and be everywhere.
  • Develop a signature process or framework..

CHAPTER 2A – MINIMUM VIABLE MARKETING FORMULA (PART 1)

The concept of a minimum viable product is well known which is the process of creating a product in it’s bare bones which can still be sold to test the viability of the market. Meera is asking here whether the same concept can be used for marketing and the answer she believes is yes.

To validate her belief she expresses that minimum viable marketing formulas build on the concept of KNOW-LIKE-TRUST which she describes as:

  • KNOW: The audience needs to know you exist.
  • LIKE: The audience needs to connect to your style and be open to your message.
  • TRUST: The audience needs to trust that you can solve their problems.

Next Meera discusses the components of minimum viable marketing which include:

  • Minimum viable content plan
  • Minimum viable email marketing
  • Minimum viable blog

CHAPTER 3 – CURATE VALUABLE CONTENT THAT POSITIONS YOU AS AN EXPERT

In this chapter Meera describes how we can position ourselves as content experts by curating content. She defines a content curator as someone who:

continually finds, groups, organizes and shares the best and most relevant content on a specific issue online

The rest of the chapter describes what we can do to curate content.

SECTION 3 – LEVERAGING THE AUTHORITY ARCHITECTURE

Meera describes authority as, the ability to get others to listen to you – to be able to impact opinions and purchasing decisions because you have trust and credibility. She states that we can gain authority by, intentionally leveraging the Authority Architecture which she describes as:

a three-part framework that allows you to build, borrow and be the authority.

This section focuses on discusing the Authority Architecture.

It has two chapters.

CHAPTER 4 – BORROW AUTHORITY

Ways to borrow authority as Meera describes here are:

  • Get featured on smaller sites and podcasts that still have a degree of influence. She describes the steps you can take to get featured on such podcasts.
  • Pitch No-No’s. Basically people who don’t know you.

Meera goes into a lot of detail on how to take these two steps.

CHAPTER 5 – BUILD AUTHORITY

In this chapter Meera makes it clear that the best way to build authroity is to display one’s expertise and this involves producing content. Some of the ideas which she discusses as a way to do that include:

  • Running free challenges to solve specific problems in your expert niche. These are activities people can engage in to solve problems which can last between 3 to 7 days.
  • Creating interactive content such as running live events, setting up quizzes and assessments.
  • Helping a reporter out (HARO). This involves responding to reporters who are looking for help of experts in specific areas.
  • Self-publish your own book.

SECTION 4 – MARKETING YOUR EXPERTISE

For those who believe they are really poor at marketing, this section is for you. Meera summarises marketing into a four-step formula which is:

Attract > Capture > Engage > Convert

This formula can further be broken down into:

  • Identify your target audience.
  • Attract them to your site.
  • Capture your target audience.
  • Nurture your target audience.
  • Convert them to buyers.
  • Turn them into brand advocates or repeat customers.

This section has 3 chapters.

CHAPTER 6 – SOCIAL PROOF & CREDIBILITY FAST TRACK

The question answered here is, how do you gain credibility and get noticed when you have just started out? 

Answering that questions according to Meera requires you to prime your digital presence. In other words, make sure your digital presence makes you look good and not subpar. Questions you will need to answer to do that are:

  • What do people see when they google you?
  • Can they connect you to your area of expertise?
  • Do all your social media accounts have the same branded look and feel?
  • Can they put a face to the name?
  • Do you have a personal email address?
  • Can they  find your business Facebook page through your personal profile?

So what does Meera suggest you do? These are the steps she suggests:

  • Become relatable and likeable.
  • Encourage reciprocity by offering a free lead magnet (or opt-in incentive) that’s related to your expertise and business model.
  • Leverage herd mentality or ‘fear of missing out’ with social proof.
  • Enhance your authority by showing authority markers or “as seen in” logos.
  • Invite committment.

CHAPTER 6A – MINIMUM VIABLE MARKETING FORMULA (PART 2)

In a Chapter 2A, Meera started discussing Minimum Viable Marketing. She continues it here. In this chapter she mainly focuses on having a minimum viable social media and visibility plan. The idea here is not to spread yourself too thin over too many social media platforms. That will prove to be ineffective. Rather focus on fewer ones, she suggest two. Then invest your time and energy into them.

CHAPTER 7 – INCORPORATING SET AND FORGET MARKETING SYSTEMS AND RESUSABLE MARKETING ASSETS

Marketing assets as Meera defines them are materials such as emails, PDFs, videos, infographics or audio files. The focus in this chapter is on how you can use some of these marketing assets for your own marketing.

SECTION 5 – BUILDING A MARKETING CAMPAIGN

This is the last section in the book with two chapters. Here Meera describe how to translate all you’ve been reading in the book into,  real, tangible steps that you will take to build your credibility and authority as an expert.

CHAPTER 8 – CREATE YOUR MARKETING PLAN

Meera discusses 7 steps to help us build a marketing plan. They are:

  1. What niche do you want to become the go-to expert in?
  2. What’s your goal?
  3. What milestones do you have?
  4. Why is this important to you?
  5. Plan your 180-Day Marketing Push Activities.
  6. Put your plan into a marketing calendar.
  7. How will you measure results?

CHAPTER 9 – HOW NOT TO BECOME ANOTHER ME-TOO EXPERT

To help you not to become another me-too expert, Meera discusses five helpful areas to work on. They are areas where experts can differentiate themselves and you can use them to learn from experts in your niche or other niches who are already doing really well. They are:

  • Marketing: How are your competitors approaching each of these activities? Does anything set them apart? How can you set yourself apart?
  • Content: What content mediums are the experts using? What do you think their strengths are? Are there any content mediums that you could leverage?
  • Process: Do they claim to have a style or process of solving problems in your niche? What is their method and how is it different? What promise do they make to their audience? Have a look at their home page and about page.
  • Relationship: Do they enjoy word-of-mouth marketing? What does their audience say about them? Look at the comments they get on their content. Listen in on their social conversation to glean some of these insights.
  • Customer Experience: Do they provide a good overall experience?

CONCLUSION + NEXT STEPS

Meera gives us some necessary parting advice here which she starts off with:

You now have everything you need to start building your brand as the go-to expert for your identified niche. But becoming an expert is not somewhere you arrive at.

Then she presents these advice tips:

  • Commitment and differentiation are the two key ingredients.
  • Work on having a “worldview” rather than an original idea.
  • Constantly flex your idea muscle.
  • Believe in selling and keeping promises.
  • Give yourself permission to say “I don’t know”.
  • Believe in opportunity, not competition.
  • Believe in habits, not motivation.
  • Invest in yourself and continuously learn.
  • Don’t be afraid to niche down.
  • Believe in building “100 true email fans”.
  • Chart your own path rather then blindly following advice.
  • Solve problems.
  • Think daily dispatch.

MY FINAL THOUGHTS

Overall this is a book with lots of ideas. Go through it and choose what you need. You won’t necessarily find everything useful but you will definitely get some information from it that you can apply to your side hustle.

 

 

 

 

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