Don’t have a track record yet? Just starting out or pivoting to a new interest or subject matter?
That’s okay! Let’s talk about BORROWED CREDIBILITY.
We see this all the time – from websites and book covers peppered with glowing testimonials, to podcast interviews and media mentions. Endorsements (or borrowed credibility) are social proof that you know what you’re talking about and you’re a credible source of information.
BTW – it’s okay not to know everything and build your credibility. It’s impossible to know everything anyway, so don’t let that stop you from putting your perspective out there.
In fact, one of thee most credible forms of “proof” you have is your personal story!
Here are 7 ways you can borrow credibility from others who have it:
1. Hang out with credible “experts” in your industry. I’m putting “experts” in quotes because the people we see as experts may not identify that way. (See, this stuff is nuanced!) These people are sought out for their insight and perspectives. Where do they hang out? How can you add value to them? How can you get them to remember you? (Psst…it’s not by sitting around waiting for them to!)
2. Ask them to vouch for you + make introductions. Only do this if you have a relationship! be very specific with your ask. give them language. Make it easy for them to do. For example, if you’re asking for a LinkedIn recommendation, you could say something like “Hey, I’d love for you to share a few thoughts about X project we worked on. Specifically, what was it about me and my skills that made the project go smoothly? I’d love for you to comment on X.”
Being specific isn’t being bossy. It’s making it easier on the person you’re asking this favor from!
3. Team up with someone with credibility. This is about making yourself useful and learning as much as you can from them. And then paying it forward by recognizing them as a mentor. Double win for both of you! Added credibility for them. And for you.
4. Get yourself featured. Pitch yourself to journalists and podcast hosts who are covering topics you know about. Media mentions are great to have. And good for SEO (oh, hey backlinks!) I like to use HARO (helpareporterout.com) for leads on what journalists are looking for. And Matchmaker.fm to find relevant podcasts to pitch myself to. It’s super easy to craft a profile on there.
Quick tip: when you respond to a reporter or podcast host, be very clear about what you’d like to talk about. The easier you can make it for them to take your content and repurpose, the more likely it is that you will be picked as the subject matter expert.
5. Build your own authority website or newsletter. Professional websites are very common. You have experience, skills, and knowledge to showcase, why not build a website and share it that way?
Or use LinkedIn for this same purpose and write and post articles. Your LinkedIn profile have you down? I have a micro-course on how to snazzy it up!
Remember: You don’t have to be a “classic” entrepreneur to take advantage of these tactics. Employees get to have their own websites and newsletters, too.
6. Gather testimonials. Make it a regular practice to ask colleagues, clients, and leadership to give you feedback that you capture into a testimonial. Get their permission to use it. Or ask them to write you a LinkedIn recommendation and then quote them in your About section. Here’s how to request a LinkedIn recommendation.
7. Pitch yourself to lead workshops. Find events that are relevant to your topics and see if they are looking for speakers. To find opportunities:
– Google your interest + event.
– Ask your network about their favorite events.
– Check out websites of “the competition.” Where are they speaking?
This will also get you to finally write the professional bio you’ve been putting off…forcing you to get even clearer about your message and call to action.
REMEMBER: No one has it all figured out. You can build your credibility as you continue to learn about your areas of interest. In fact, showing your learning and growth (and when you make mistakes) will only make you MORE RELATABLE and CREDIBLE.
And how great will it be when you have credibility you can lend out?!
If you’re feeling stuck on any of these areas, consider joining Promote Yourself Professionally. This is my group coaching program that gives you the tools and ready-to-go examples on how to get started with professional self-promotion.