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Become an Industry Expert in Three Easy Steps

So you want to be revered by your colleagues as an industry expert? With a little effort you can become a stand-out. Even if you’re not looking to hit the speakers’ circuit, it’s good to know what’s going on in your industry. You’ll gain knowledge and the latest trends to increase efficiency, keep an eye on the competition, brush up on sales techniques and ultimately improve your bottom line. Here are three steps to get the scoop on your competition and become an industry expert.

Read up.
No matter your industry, there is at least one trade publication out there that caters to what you need to know. These magazines focus on the latest trends, best practices, success stories, vendors and upcoming events—all things critical to the success of your business. Expert Step: The editorial staff is often looking for content. Get to know them and ask if you can make contributions in your area of expertise. At the least, all companies have a success story or a best practice to share.

Surf’s up.
Do some online searches to see what online communities have formed in your industry. LinkedIn groups are a great place to start. Check out competitors’ websites, search for industry blogs and oftentimes the trade publications have additional online resources to help you out. Expert Step: Contribute to LinkedIn groups and comment on blog posts. If you’re not finding a LinkedIn group in your area of interest, start one of your own. You may even get a few additional customers.

Get out.
Nearly every industry has a local group that meets regularly to network and learn. For instance, marketers should join the American Marketing Association. Many of these groups bring in national experts to speak about the latest trends and share best practices. Trade shows are another place to find out what’s going on in your industry. Expert Step: Ask to speak to these local groups and many of the trade shows look for speakers to add the value of an educational component—a great way to become an industry leader.