AMY PORTERFIELD: “You need to make feeding your mind a part of your daily routine. If you want to be an expert, you've got to make sure that you educate yourself. That's what's going to give you the edge over your competitors in the long term.
“When I first left my full-time job to pursue being an entrepreneur, I absorbed every single bit of information that I possibly could. I took tons of digital courses on social media, online marketing, video marketing, entrepreneurship. I listened to all the podcasts, read all the books. And I don't do as much of that now, but you can bet I absolutely still do all of that, but maybe not just as intense because now I've got a big, thriving business to run. But I actually wish I had a little bit more time for that because it's fun. I love it. Your mind is exploding with the possibility.
“So make sure that you are surrounded by the resources that you need, and—this is a big one—you actually make time for it. Like, it should be in your planner. I'm going through this course. I'm reading this book. It's not like if you ever find spare time, you do it. If you want to be an expert, this is part of what you do on the daily.”
INTRO: I’m Amy Porterfield, ex-corporate girl turned CEO of a multi-seven-figure business. But it wasn't all that long ago that I lacked the confidence, the budget, and the time to focus on growing my small-but-mighty business. Fast forward past many failed attempts and lessons learned, and you'll see the business I have today, one that changes lives and gives me more freedom than I ever thought possible, one that used to only exist as a daydream. I created the Online Marketing Made Easy podcast to give you simple, actionable, step-by-step strategies to help you do the same. If you're an ambitious entrepreneur, or one in the making, who's looking to create a business that makes an impact and a life you love, you're in the right place, friend. Let's get started.
AMY: The Duct Tape Marketing podcast, hosted by John Jantsch, shares marketing tips, tactics, and resources for small- to midsize-business owners and marketers. John recently did an episode where he talked about the topic of analytics, specifically tracking results either for your own business or your clients who you work with. The episode’s called “What You Should Be Tracking in Your Marketing Efforts and Why.” And I know my audience. I know you love to know benchmarks and numbers and analytics and what you should be tracking. So you are going to love this episode. He also talks about the other marketing aspects, like how to support your customers and build an online community.
So, you can listen to the Duct Tape Marketing podcast wherever you get your podcasts. Enjoy.
Well, hey, there, friend. Thanks for joining me on this episode of Online Marketing Made Easy.
I'm so glad you're here with me because today I'm going to talk about something that is so very important as you continue on in your entrepreneurial journey, and that's how to set yourself up as an expert in your area of business. So how the heck are you supposed to even do that? How do you become the go-to person for whatever it is that you do? How do you rise above the rest? It sounds super intimidating at times, right?
But the thing is, becoming an expert and then going on to position yourself as one in the marketplace is actually not as difficult as you think. And here’s why: all too often, people mistakenly believe that in order to be an expert, they have to be the expert; they have to be the most knowledgeable person there is in this area of business. But the truth is, you don't need to be an acclaimed author or have an advanced degree or have a million followers on Instagram to prove that you're an authority in your field or to achieve the success that you want. You only need what I like to call the 10 percent edge. In other words, you only need to be 10 percent ahead of where your ideal customer is right now.
In fact, when I first started my business and was doing social media as a service for clients, it wasn't like I was the best of the best in the industry, nor did I have a degree in digital marketing on my resume as a credential. But here's the thing: I knew just a little bit more about social media than most people. And because of that, I had the edge that I needed to get started. From there, I learned more and more and continued to build upon the skills that I had. And eventually, I was able to really hone in on my niche, which, believe me, looks a lot different today than it did thirteen years ago.
So I'm telling you this for two reasons. First, if the idea of becoming an expert overwhelms you, please don't let it, because all you need is that 10 percent edge, especially early on.
And I like to give credit where credit is due. So my dear friend Jill Staton, she's the one that first introduced me to this concept of the 10 percent edge; and I've since ran with it, made it my own, changed it up; but it came from her, the core came from her. So Jill, thank you for that.
Okay. So that first idea, becoming an expert if it overwhelms you, doesn't need to. You need that 10 percent edge.
And second, don’t be discouraged if you aren't 100 percent sure what you even want to be an expert in or what really defines your business, because that, too, will come in time. I got to be honest: it's taken a lot of exploration for me to fully dial in the thing that I am now known for. I didn't start here, my friends, and it became more clear as I gained more confidence and momentum in my business. You've got to let it unfold, but it will never unfold if you do not get started.
If you can relate to any of this, keep listening because I'm going to walk you through a self-reflection exercise that will help you to define that thing even more, so you’re clear on the value that you offer to others and can clearly articulate it to your audience. After that, I’ll share some tangible ways that you can become an expert in your specific area of business. And finally, you'll learn how to position yourself as a go-to authority in your field. We have a lot to cover, so let's dive into the first part of this episode, which is all about defining your thing, also known as the unique expertise that you bring to the marketplace.
All right. So the first step of this whole kit and caboodle is to really understand what your thing is. Before I go on, when was the last time you used “kit and caboodle” in a conversation? I dare you to try it sometime this week. It's kind of fun.
Anyway, back to your thing. You can't be an expert in something if you're not crystal clear on the value that you provide to your audience and your clients.
So to get your creative juices flowing and give you something tangible, I thought I'd share how I describe my thing to other people. So here it is. This is what I say. “I help entrepreneurs build businesses online. My specialties include how to start and grow an email list, how to create digital courses, and how to promote and sell courses online using webinars. Ultimately, I'm an example of what's possible for my students. I go before them, getting in the trenches, testing, experimenting, making many, many mistakes, and experiencing incredible wins so that I can teach in detail what actually works. Through a mix of step-by-step strategies, simple formulas, and methods, layered with tough love and direct feedback, I am my students’ biggest cheerleader and most honest coach.” That’s my thing.
Now, as I mentioned, what my thing is and how I communicate it to my audience has taken quite some time to really nail down. In fact, when I first got started on my own, people would ask me what I did for a living, and I would say something very nondescript like “social media” or “digital marketing.”
Now, there's a big difference between how I used to define my thing and how I do today. I've said this on the podcast before, but I got to back up and just mention, when you used to ask Hobie, my husband, what my thing was, years and years ago—he was at the fire station, and some of his buddies would say, “What does your wife do?” He used to say, “She wrote a Dummies book on Facebook marketing.” Like, I was well into teaching webinars and list building and digital courses. And Hobie continued to tell people that I wrote a big, yellow Dummies book about Facebook marketing, and that's how I made money.
So I finally had to say, “Hey, babe. That was many, many, many years ago. We got to get you up to speed.” So even Hobie didn't really understand my thing back then.
But as I was saying, how I used to define it back then and how I do it today, very different. And I got to ask you, which one of those experts would you want to do business with? The way I define my thing now paints a much more focused picture of how I'm able to help versus “digital marketing” or “social media,” which is what I used to say back in the day.
So with that being said, I want you to go into this exercise with the expectation that what you come up with isn't going to be perfect, and you will add to it with time, just like I have, or totally re-engineer it if you make a big pivot, which you're going to allow yourself to do so if needed. And even if you already have a solid idea of what your thing is, I still want you to do this because it will help you explore new methods, techniques, or angles, and core beliefs that make your business special to you; not to mention, it will absolutely benefit your audience.
So now it's your turn. What I want you to do is grab your journal or open up a Google Doc and jot down the answers to some of these questions that I'm about to ask you. And if you're not in a good place to be writing right now, I'm going to include these questions in the show notes. So if you go to amyporterfield.com/506, I will actually list out these questions. You can copy and paste them, put them into a Google Doc, and actually answer them. Remember, action creates clarity; clarity leads to your results. You got to get into action. This is your opportunity to do so.
So the first question is really simple, and that's, what problem do you solve? How do you solve it? What do you do to help your audience get results? The key here is describing what you do or what your business is all about in a way that really spells out the value you bring to your audience or your clients.
So, for example, let's say you're an accountant, and you offer accounting as a service to small businesses. Instead of writing something down like, “I help business owners with their accounting and taxes,” you could write something like, “I help small-business owners with their books so that they can focus on what's most important to them: managing and growing their business.” Did you hear me say “so that”? That part allows you to add on why you're doing what you're doing. So again, “I help small-business owners with their books so that they can focus on what's most important to them: managing and growing their business.”
So do you see the difference in the value there? So take a few seconds and explore that.
Next question, what's something that comes naturally to you? Maybe it's something that your clients or your friends and family are always complimenting you about or asking for help with. It could be a specific skill you have, or it could even be a facet of your personality. Maybe you have a calming effect on others, or you're a really good listener. I want you to try to think outside of the box on this one, and don’t limit your responses to the first thing that you think of. Explore it a little bit, and take as long as you need. Pause this episode if you have to, and come back when you're ready.
All right. The next question I want you to answer is, when your clients or your audience tells you something they like—like, “This spoke to my soul”—what value did you give them to solicit that positive response? Maybe you have a really kind-yet-firm demeanor in your coaching sessions that resonates with people, or you have a process that gets your clients results quickly. So try to get really specific here, and just jot down whatever it is that pops into your head.
So if you're still writing, good. Keep going until you cannot possibly write any more. And when you're finished, I want you to take a look back at everything you've written and start to formulate what your thing is. Make it detailed, make it specific, because there's only one you, and it's important to define the unique expertise that you bring to the table. Again, it doesn't need to be perfect, but now you have some more angles to work with and momentum to explore this even more.
All right. So now that you're on your way to defining what your thing is, the next step is to become the go-to expert in it. Like I mentioned before, this does not require that you go back to school or get an advanced degree or anything of that nature. All it requires is that you use the resources that you have in front of you.
So let's talk about a few ways to do this. Digital courses are a great way to learn something specific. Plus, if it's a live course, you'll be learning alongside other entrepreneurs, who all have a different and totally unique set of experiences. I got to be honest: I gleaned so much inspiration and knowledge by surrounding myself with other business owners, whether it's online or even face to face. So if you have the opportunity to interact in any way with other entrepreneurs, I highly recommend you do so. Not only can you learn from them, but you might even find some opportunities for a partnership or potential collaboration, which will double the impact.
A couple other great learning resources are platforms like Patreon, Substack, MasterClass—I love MasterClass—and Udemy, where you can pay a small monthly subscription fee and have access to research, information, and content from thought leaders and experts around the world in your industry.
Now, listening to content, reading books, watching YouTube videos, all of this sounds super simple, right? But the thing is, this isn't like cramming for a test. You need to make feeding your mind a part of your daily routine. If you want to be an expert, you've got to make sure that you educate yourself. That's what's going to give you the edge over your competitors in the long term.
When I first left my full-time job to pursue being an entrepreneur, I absorbed every single bit of information that I possibly could. I took tons of digital courses on social media, online marketing, video marketing, entrepreneurship. I listened to all the podcasts, read all the books. And I don't do as much of that now, but you can bet I absolutely still do all of that, but maybe not just as intense because now I've got a big, thriving business to run. But I actually wish I had a little bit more time for that because it's fun. I love it. Your mind is exploding with the possibility.
So make sure that you are surrounded by the resources that you need, and—this is a big one—you actually make time for it. Like, it should be in your planner. I'm going through this course. I'm reading this book. It's not like if you ever find spare time, you do it. If you want to be an expert, this is part of what you do on the daily.
But again, I'm there with you. I still make this a huge practice. I still read books. You know, my latest and greatest is The Gap and the Gain. I love that book. I listen to all the digital-marketing podcasts out there. There's so many good ones. And I also take digital courses to help me. I recently took one to see if I could up my webinar game and do some new stuff I haven't done in a while. So I'm right there with you learning.
Now, I'm sure you've heard this before, but some of the most brilliant entrepreneurs in the world attribute their success to—can you fill in the blank? What is it?—reading. Yep, just reading. Not an Ivy League degree or anything fancy. I think Tony Robbins would absolutely contribute most of his success to what he read. He's a ferocious reader, and I think he has been since the get-go. So if you're not reading, let's get going. I do a lot of Audible, but I feel like sometimes I'm missing some of the deep learning if I'm not holding the book and highlighting it and really making notes in it in front of me. So I've tried to get back a little bit to actually having the book, but also doing audio. So I think a mix is a good idea.
Okay. And then, of course, you should study up as much as you can on your particular area of expertise. Stay in the know. There's always things changing, right, so it's important that you are always studying up. And then, also, I think there's a huge benefit to stepping outside of your area of expertise and learning other things as well, because when you do, you're able to see things differently. It fuels a sense of curiosity about the world and yourself, which can immensely help you in your journey as an entrepreneur.
I know, I know, you're probably thinking, “But Amy, I don't have time to read a book or listen to a podcast or do a digital course. My life as it is is so busy.” So if you've been thinking that, as I've been giving you all these ideas, I want you to think about this: if you can make a couple small tweaks to your calendar, to your schedule, you can make learning and growing part of your life. So it's just automatic. It's all about work-life integration and maximizing the time that you already have.
So for instance, every single time you get into your car to go someplace, make it a habit to push Play on a podcast or an audiobook that will teach you something.
I always crack up because I'll meet my students of Digital Course Academy, and they'll say, “Amy, my six-year-old daughter knows you by name. She hears your voice, and she says right away, ‘That's Amy Porterfield,’ and she listens to your podcast with me on the way to school and on the way back.” And they actually—I have some students that say their kids ask for it.
Now, I did have another student that said, “My kid is always asking me to turn you off.” Rude! but I get it. He’s, like, five years old. Why would he want to listen to it?
But I don’t know. Maybe you’ve got some kids that could actually learn some stuff.
So, anyway, put the podcast on, put the audio book on as often as you can.
So Tony used to call this NET time—N-E-T—no extra time. So I guess you could also call that multitasking. But when you have no extra time, how can you fold in learning with what you're already doing?
Now, you can also check out an app called Libby—L-I-B-B-Y—which allows you to download audiobooks and e-books to your phone from your local library for free. So search for it on Google. It’s the L-I-B-B-Y, the Libby app.
And as I mentioned before, however you make learning a part of your routine—maybe you decide to get up twenty minutes early every day and read or listen to a podcast on your evening walk—whatever it is, don't forget to schedule it. If you don't schedule it, it's not real. That's essential if you really want to make something happen.
So, it turns out solving complex marketing problems doesn't require complicated, difficult-to-use systems. A HubSpot customer-relationship-management platform is easy to use and impossible to outgrow so that scaling your business can feel like something that comes easily to you. That's because HubSpot connects your people, your customers, and your data, so everyone is on the same page, allowing you to spend less time thinking about and managing software and more time creating better customer experiences at every stage.
For my business, this is of the utmost importance. So learn how HubSpot can help your business grow better, at HubSpot.com.
All right. The next thing to do is to create content about it. If you want to be an expert, you got to start creating content around your expertise. When I say content, I mean blog posts, videos, podcasts, e-books, social-media posts, emails, e-newsletters, guides, case studies—the list goes on. Creating valuable content that’s related to your business is key because it not only helps capture your audience’s attention, but it cements you and your business in their minds as an expert in your field. I think this is the biggest one, because let's be honest: we know people that can create stellar content that are not necessarily experts. Or if we're getting a little catty, I bet you've looked at someone who's done amazing with their content, have tons of followers, but at the end of the day, you're secretly thinking, “I know I know more than them. I know that I could get bigger results than they can get for their audience.” Whether it's true or not, we've all been there, right? And so content really makes a difference.
Now, I want you to be an expert and create amazing content. So let's talk about it. Your content has to be valuable, so it needs to help answer a question or solve a problem for your audience. Don't just put something out there in the world for the heck of it. There should be a purpose behind it.
And if you're fresh out of ideas on what to create, you've got to check out episode 491. The title is “Feel Like You’re a Broken Record?: Ideas for Reinvigorating Your Content.” So that will give you some inspiration. So amyporterfield.com/491.
Another great way to discover new relevant content topics is Google Trends, which is completely free. Just go to trends.google.com, and take a look at what’s trending that might be relevant to your business.
Now, there are other tools like S-E-Mrush and moz.com that can help you uncover terms, phrases, questions, and answers that are important to your audience based on search terms.
And of course, I always recommend that you get into the comments of similar businesses on social media and take note of what people are asking. Remember what I always say? It's better to listen than to talk. Find out what their pain points are. What problems do they have? What are they talking about? And if you already have a following on social media, then that's where you're going to listen to your audience.
Now, if you’ve been with me for a while, you know that I'm in the business of helping other entrepreneurs succeed. And because of that, I have a ton of free resources about content creation on this very podcast. Yes, my sweet friend, take a scroll through Online Marketing Made Easy and you'll find dozens of episodes that can serve as your content-creation playbook.
Now, this is cool. If you're on Spotify, I've actually created an entire playlist called “Your Content Creation Playlist.” I know, very innovative name. So again, “Your Content Creation Playlist” on Spotify. You can listen to all the episodes one by one. I'll link to it in my show notes.
Now, I want to address one question that I get asked all the time about posting on social media, and that's whether or not you need to be on all the platforms in order to share your latest and greatest content. And the answer is no. Especially if social media overwhelms you, just choose one platform and commit to it. Then, as you become more comfortable with posting, you can consider adding to your roster, but don't feel like it's something you have to do.
I just started posting on TikTok a couple months ago because for a while, like, for two years, it just wasn't my thing, and I didn't have the bandwidth. And let's be honest: when I say that I didn't have the bandwidth, it really is I wasn't making it a priority. And I'm a digital-marketing business, and I didn't make TikTok a priority. I kind of regret it, but at the same time, I've done amazing things in the meantime that have really moved the needle. We can't do everything, my friend. So choose one platform. Let's get going with that.
And P.S. If you haven't already, you can check me out on TikTok at amy.porterfield, so I had to use a dot, amy.porterfield for even more online content. See? I'm not afraid to ask you to give me a follow, and you shouldn't be afraid to ask your friends, family, and audience, either.
Now, what I recommend you do, especially if you want to have a stockpile of content in your arsenal, is to repurpose one piece of content into multiple. Here's an example of that. Let's say you record a podcast episode. You can take that audio file, have it transcribed using software like REV.com—R-E-V.com—or Descript—D-E-S-C-R-I-P-T. Just give it a quick edit once it's transcribed, and then you can turn that into a blog post. From that blog post, you can pull out a couple of quotes that you like, pop them into a Canva template, totally free. And now you have a quote image for social media.
Now, those are just two things you can create from that single audio, but there are, like, twenty more. In fact, I recorded a podcast episode where I walk you through how to create ten pieces of content from a single asset. If you want to check it out, it's episode 282—yeah, it's an oldie but goodie, and still very relevant—“10 Ways to Repurpose ONE Single Piece of Content.” I’ll link to it in the show notes, but you can get to it at amyporterfield.com/282.
All right. So this has been a lot, I know. So take a deep breath because we're in the home stretch of this episode.
Once you have some content out there and have established your presence online, you want to pitch yourself as an expert on your thing to publications or established influencers. You could guest blog, be a guest on someone else's podcast, join someone on their Instagram or Facebook Lives, or maybe you get a feature in a media outlet that's relevant to your industry.
So the first thing you should do is sit down and brainstorm all the possible businesses and experts that you could connect with. And once you have your list, do your research. I know, I know, more research, but it's worth it, I promise. And what I mean by research is taking at least a week to do a full immersion into their content. I don't mean every hour of the week; just give yourself some time over the next week to totally immerse yourself in their content and their audience, because it is really important that if you pitch yourself that you want to be specific. So follow them on social, engage with their content, read their articles, listen to their podcasts, that kind of thing.
Now, if the person is a big influencer, or maybe you're trying to get featured in a major publication, try to identify a point person or a specific journalist who you can email directly, and then you personalize your greeting, making connection with them by relating to their content and highlighting who they serve so that you show that you've done your homework. It makes all the difference, trust me.
From there, you can craft your pitch angle and offer up a proposed topic. Instead of making your pitch about yourself, make it about what will resonate with their audience. This all comes back to you solving a problem for others. Are you catching the theme here? So you can check yourself on this by asking, how is this going to benefit their audience? What are they going to walk away with specifically?
Over the years, I've had tons of people pitch me. And do you want to know the secret for which pitches stand out to me the most? The ones that offer bullet-point talking points and takeaways that will actually have an impact on my audience.
Now, as you continue to write pitches, you'll find that they'll change based on who you're pitching to, plus the audience and their needs. But here's what's important to remember: that thing that you're known for, how you communicate your area of expertise, this needs to be clear and consistent across the board. That's why we went through that exercise earlier to help you really nail it down so you can use it here.
And here's the good news: I have a whole podcast episode about how to craft the perfect pitch, including specific examples that really dives deep into this topic. It's called “Free Organic Traffic Strategies to Grow Your Audience Quickly,” and you can listen to it by going to amyporterfield.com/352. Episode 352, how to pitch yourself, with examples. But I’m going to link to all the episodes I’m sharing here in the show notes.
Okay. So moving on to the final piece, which is gathering testimonials. Testimonials, my sweet friend, are going to be a huge piece of what establishes you as an expert in the minds of your audience, because they're the ultimate social proof for you and your business. But here's the thing: in order to get that consistent flow of glowing reviews, you have to encourage success stories and wins from your audience members. That's right; you've got to ask for them. And one great way to do this, especially if you're just starting out, is to offer your product, service, coaching, whatever it may be, for free to just a handful of people in your audience in exchange for a testimonial. Of course, you need to be upfront with this and let them know you're looking for a glowing testimonial if they get the results. But most people are going to love that opportunity to learn from you.
Now, if you already have a following on social media or an email list, just come out and ask for one. Like, for instance, if you have a Facebook group, one easy thing you can do is ask your audience to share their wins. It can sound something like this: “I want to celebrate you. Tell me what strategy, program, free resource”—you fill in the blank—“that you've used and how it supported you in your transformation or growth,” or whatever words best describe what you're doing for them. I love this strategy because it's a super-subtle way of asking for a testimonial and is great for engagement. Just be sure to ask for permission to use their comment as a testimonial before you move forward with it.
When it comes to emailing, ask the same sort of thing. You can set it up so it's automated or have it be manual, but either way I recommend that you allow them to reply directly to you, because if you do, it gives you the opportunity to reach out for more information after receiving that initial testimonial. And once you've collected a few testimonials, share them, add them to your website, use them as content on social, and scream them from the rooftops. No, it's not bragging; it's building your business. So give yourself permission to share the wins that you've helped your audience achieve and be proud of them.
Okay. So we've reached the end of this episode, and we sure covered a lot, didn't we? And believe me, putting all of this together is going to take some time. But what's important is that you keep the ball rolling. So if you struggle with being known or being the expert or finding the clout that you need in order to find your audience and get them into your world, then this is the episode for you.
And let me give you some action items. First, go back to your notes from the beginning of this episode, where we did the exercise about defining your thing, and start building that out using the ideas you wrote down. You heard me talk about my thing. It took me a moment to actually write that. But it's so nice to have because it gave me clarity. And then we use it in different ways throughout all of our marketing. The goal is to be really clear on who it is you serve and how your expertise can help them solve a problem or pain point.
Next, I want you to find a new podcast, a new book, a new digital course, or even a YouTube channel about your business and start feeding your mind. And don't forget to schedule time in your calendar for this.
Now, using what you’ve learned, write one new piece of content. It could be a blog post or an email or whatever you want it to be, but I want you to write it, and I want you to share it.
And then, finally, set a goal for yourself to collect just a few testimonials, if you're ready to do that. You might not have sold anything yet, but if you have—I had to make this a practice in my business, about collecting testimonials, and it could be as simple as reaching out to a previous client or writing a quick wins post on social media. But you have to be intentional. I struggled with this until I said, “Oh, I've got to make an effort to get these testimonials.” My friends, I have thousands of testimonials, but they didn't come flooding in; I had to go after them. Something to think about.
All right. Thanks for joining me for another episode of Online Marketing Made Easy. I'll see you next week, same time, same place. Bye for now.