Home > Articles

The IT Consultant's Guide to Building Clout and Credibility

  • Print
  • + Share This
Speaking, writing articles, getting published, and blogging are some of the most effective strategies for building your clout and credibility as a consultant. Discover proven strategies and tools you can use to establish yourself as a subject matter expert.
Like this article? We recommend

I’m a bona fide career expert... Just ask me.

When it comes to being considered an expert, you need to believe, at some level, that it’s true. It is much more powerful when others use that moniker when describing you.

To be considered a subject matter expert, there are strategies you can enact and actions you can do to build your credibility. In the world of consulting sales, to grow your consulting business, recognized expertise builds credibility, credibility builds trust, and trust is one step away from a prospect becoming a client.

I’m going to outline some ideas to help you build clout and credibility. In short, we are going to discuss how to get others to view you as a subject matter expert or trusted advisor.

Your Own Recognition

First, you need to recognize that you are an expert.

It is safe to say that you are an expert at something. In fact, part of the reason you are consulting or considering consulting is because you have been asked, repeatedly, to help with specific tasks.

Being an expert does not mean you are “the best” at what you do. There are all sorts of nuances at being “the best.” This is particularly true for technology consultants. Even the people you consider “the best” are only the best in relation to some of the possible areas of expertise.

Being an expert simply means you know more, to greater or lesser degrees, than the bulk of the population. This means you can offer meaningful advice or input on one or more subjects. In relation to consulting, you can help clients by advising them on their technology and helping them implement that technology.

Your realization and understanding that you are, in fact, an expert is the first step in gaining that recognition from others. Your simplest way to gain that recognition from others is by building a platform.

Your Platform

A platform is simply the various media and mechanisms you use to advance the idea that you are an expert. These can take the form of publishing, speaking, blogging, and social media.

For instance, talk show radio hosts use their radio shows as their platform. Through that they sell books, win speaking opportunities, and get introduced to other business ideas.

For the consultant, the following tools and strategies can help you develop your platform.

Articles and Other Publishing

“Publish or die” was the common refrain in academia. It may still be true. In the world of consulting and building your platform, it could be stated as, “publish and thrive!”

Articles and tutorials, published in print and online magazines, or even popular websites, provide an excellent way to establish yourself as an expert. By sharing your expertise with others and helping them advance their skills and understanding, you become the (or a) go-to person for that type of information. That is the epitome of being an expert.

The other benefit of articles is that you might actually get paid for that expertise.

Obvious clue: I am a paid writer for informIT.com. I am, as you read this, building my platform and establishing my street cred as a career expert and business and executive level coach.

How Do I Get Published?

Traditional publishing takes a little bit of work. Step 1 is to be a good writer. I’ll recommend a couple books to get you started: The Elements of Style by Strunk and White and On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft by Stephen King.

But most important in being a good writer is, as Mr. King points out, “Read a lot and write a lot.”

After that you should look online at how to write a query letter to pitch your article idea. You can go to WritersMarket.com for articles on writing query letters but there are numerous good blogs and articles on the topic.

After that, the following is a summary of the steps you need to take. Getting published is a topic for a full article, so I offer you this condensed version of the steps you need to take.

Determine a subject you feel qualified to write about. Find a website or publication where that type of article has been published before. Look for the masthead or the names of the editors for that publication. Write a brief and polite query letter to the acquisitions editor.

A word of advice: Start with a small local publication. It is likely you won’t get paid but the experience is invaluable.

Public Speaking: Workshops and Presentations

“The podium imparts credibility!”

That is a phrase I tell many of my coaching clients. A great presentation can lend a tremendous amount of credence to your efforts to be considered an expert.

I am fond of saying that it is hard to go wrong if you are on the stage. If you tell the audience things they know, you are considered an expert because you are reinforcing what they know. If you tell them something brand new, you are an expert because you educated them.

The only thing you cannot be is boring. Even great information is largely dismissed if delivered in a boring style.

How to Give a Great Presentation

Much of the advice for articles is relevant here as well. Certainly know your subject. Also, start local with a smaller organization. Don’t worry about pay to start. Instead, focus on experience and exposure.

If you are new to speaking, consider attending a speech and communication class or Toastermasters - a speaker training organization.

Also, get on YouTube and watch a few presentations. Ted Talks are often great presentations and you can learn a lot from watching them.

A few simple tips to help your presentations educate and entertain your audience:

  • Tell them less, not more. Three main ideas are all people can generally absorb.
  • Start with a story. An anecdote that relates to your primary message is a powerful way to connect with your audience.
  • Shorten your presentation. I’m guilty of going too long at time. Allow time for questions, and don’t force people to stay longer than they are able.
  • Take videos your presentations. It is a great learning tool.

Blogging, Podcasting, and Social Media

One way to start writing (and even speaking) is to blog on your subject. This can lead to both establishing you as a subject matter expert and also traditional publishing opportunities.

Some of the same rules apply to blogging or podcasting as to speaking.

First, don’t cover everything! It’s better to write a two or three part blog than a blog that is thousands of words long. Remember, we live in a 140-character world with 8-second vine videos.

When it comes to blogging, 300 to 1,000 words is more than enough. Of course, I’ll be the first to admit I’ve broken this rule on numerous occasions.

Getting Started with Blogging

I use a self-hosted WordPress setup for all my websites. WordPress is a powerful open source blogging platform and content management system. It has a large and active community of developers and bloggers who can help you with special features or just learning the basics.

There are numerous tutorials on getting started and I have a nine video tutorial at http://www.itcareertoolkit.com/tutorial-getting-started-with-wordpress/.

Podcasting and Videocasting

With a little more effort, WordPress also allows you to podcast (audio blog) or videocast. To better understand how this can be used, simply do a search for podcast or videocast on a subject of your choice.

Search Benefits to Blogging

Besides building a body of work that demonstrates your expertise, blogging has a direct search engine benefit. Google, Bing, and other search engines (by that we mean Google) likes to index new educational content.

A blog, with specific technical instruction, can be indexed within hours of being published. I’ve even seen blog entries I’ve published show up on the first page of Google searches within 24 hours of publishing them.

And Finally, Social Media

I included social media in the blogging section, mostly because I believe that you garner more attention as an expert if you are publishing articles and blogs. Social media and even newsletters can then be used to link back to your blog and ultimately to other content you find helpful to those who are following you.

This is a great way to establish yourself as an expert in your sphere of influence. Over time, that influence can grow. As you share your expertise and others share it to their network, you gain a tremendous amount of credibility.

Get Started Now

When working with coaching clients, I offer advice that my father gave me.

“Do something! Most people don’t!”

Half the battle is initiating action in a timely manner. The other half is consistency.

The steps you need to take to establish yourself as an expert take time to pay off. This often causes professionals to put off starting at all but the price of procrastinating can be hefty.

Action Beats Analysis

You’ll learn more in one week of action than you will in months of analysis. There is no way to outsmart the effect on learning of putting a plan into place, so get started with your clout and credibility plan immediately.

Of course, as time goes by, you’ll modify any plan you put into place. That is why getting started with something is the critical first step. Over time and based on feedback, your message and strategies will evolve and become more optimized to your message.

This will result in a greater degree of credibility and recognition as a subject matter expert.

  • + Share This
  • 🔖 Save To Your Account

Pearson IT Certification Promotional Mailings & Special Offers

I would like to receive exclusive offers and hear about products from Pearson IT Certification and its family of brands. I can unsubscribe at any time.

Overview


Pearson Education, Inc., 221 River Street, Hoboken, New Jersey 07030, (Pearson) presents this site to provide information about Pearson IT Certification products and services that can be purchased through this site.

This privacy notice provides an overview of our commitment to privacy and describes how we collect, protect, use and share personal information collected through this site. Please note that other Pearson websites and online products and services have their own separate privacy policies.

Collection and Use of Information


To conduct business and deliver products and services, Pearson collects and uses personal information in several ways in connection with this site, including:

Questions and Inquiries

For inquiries and questions, we collect the inquiry or question, together with name, contact details (email address, phone number and mailing address) and any other additional information voluntarily submitted to us through a Contact Us form or an email. We use this information to address the inquiry and respond to the question.

Online Store

For orders and purchases placed through our online store on this site, we collect order details, name, institution name and address (if applicable), email address, phone number, shipping and billing addresses, credit/debit card information, shipping options and any instructions. We use this information to complete transactions, fulfill orders, communicate with individuals placing orders or visiting the online store, and for related purposes.

Surveys

Pearson may offer opportunities to provide feedback or participate in surveys, including surveys evaluating Pearson products, services or sites. Participation is voluntary. Pearson collects information requested in the survey questions and uses the information to evaluate, support, maintain and improve products, services or sites; develop new products and services; conduct educational research; and for other purposes specified in the survey.

Contests and Drawings

Occasionally, we may sponsor a contest or drawing. Participation is optional. Pearson collects name, contact information and other information specified on the entry form for the contest or drawing to conduct the contest or drawing. Pearson may collect additional personal information from the winners of a contest or drawing in order to award the prize and for tax reporting purposes, as required by law.

Newsletters

If you have elected to receive email newsletters or promotional mailings and special offers but want to unsubscribe, simply email information@informit.com.

Service Announcements

On rare occasions it is necessary to send out a strictly service related announcement. For instance, if our service is temporarily suspended for maintenance we might send users an email. Generally, users may not opt-out of these communications, though they can deactivate their account information. However, these communications are not promotional in nature.

Customer Service

We communicate with users on a regular basis to provide requested services and in regard to issues relating to their account we reply via email or phone in accordance with the users' wishes when a user submits their information through our Contact Us form.

Other Collection and Use of Information


Application and System Logs

Pearson automatically collects log data to help ensure the delivery, availability and security of this site. Log data may include technical information about how a user or visitor connected to this site, such as browser type, type of computer/device, operating system, internet service provider and IP address. We use this information for support purposes and to monitor the health of the site, identify problems, improve service, detect unauthorized access and fraudulent activity, prevent and respond to security incidents and appropriately scale computing resources.

Web Analytics

Pearson may use third party web trend analytical services, including Google Analytics, to collect visitor information, such as IP addresses, browser types, referring pages, pages visited and time spent on a particular site. While these analytical services collect and report information on an anonymous basis, they may use cookies to gather web trend information. The information gathered may enable Pearson (but not the third party web trend services) to link information with application and system log data. Pearson uses this information for system administration and to identify problems, improve service, detect unauthorized access and fraudulent activity, prevent and respond to security incidents, appropriately scale computing resources and otherwise support and deliver this site and its services.

Cookies and Related Technologies

This site uses cookies and similar technologies to personalize content, measure traffic patterns, control security, track use and access of information on this site, and provide interest-based messages and advertising. Users can manage and block the use of cookies through their browser. Disabling or blocking certain cookies may limit the functionality of this site.

Do Not Track

This site currently does not respond to Do Not Track signals.

Security


Pearson uses appropriate physical, administrative and technical security measures to protect personal information from unauthorized access, use and disclosure.

Children


This site is not directed to children under the age of 13.

Marketing


Pearson may send or direct marketing communications to users, provided that

  • Pearson will not use personal information collected or processed as a K-12 school service provider for the purpose of directed or targeted advertising.
  • Such marketing is consistent with applicable law and Pearson's legal obligations.
  • Pearson will not knowingly direct or send marketing communications to an individual who has expressed a preference not to receive marketing.
  • Where required by applicable law, express or implied consent to marketing exists and has not been withdrawn.

Pearson may provide personal information to a third party service provider on a restricted basis to provide marketing solely on behalf of Pearson or an affiliate or customer for whom Pearson is a service provider. Marketing preferences may be changed at any time.

Correcting/Updating Personal Information


If a user's personally identifiable information changes (such as your postal address or email address), we provide a way to correct or update that user's personal data provided to us. This can be done on the Account page. If a user no longer desires our service and desires to delete his or her account, please contact us at customer-service@informit.com and we will process the deletion of a user's account.

Choice/Opt-out


Users can always make an informed choice as to whether they should proceed with certain services offered by Adobe Press. If you choose to remove yourself from our mailing list(s) simply visit the following page and uncheck any communication you no longer want to receive: www.pearsonitcertification.com/u.aspx.

Sale of Personal Information


Pearson does not rent or sell personal information in exchange for any payment of money.

While Pearson does not sell personal information, as defined in Nevada law, Nevada residents may email a request for no sale of their personal information to NevadaDesignatedRequest@pearson.com.

Supplemental Privacy Statement for California Residents


California residents should read our Supplemental privacy statement for California residents in conjunction with this Privacy Notice. The Supplemental privacy statement for California residents explains Pearson's commitment to comply with California law and applies to personal information of California residents collected in connection with this site and the Services.

Sharing and Disclosure


Pearson may disclose personal information, as follows:

  • As required by law.
  • With the consent of the individual (or their parent, if the individual is a minor)
  • In response to a subpoena, court order or legal process, to the extent permitted or required by law
  • To protect the security and safety of individuals, data, assets and systems, consistent with applicable law
  • In connection the sale, joint venture or other transfer of some or all of its company or assets, subject to the provisions of this Privacy Notice
  • To investigate or address actual or suspected fraud or other illegal activities
  • To exercise its legal rights, including enforcement of the Terms of Use for this site or another contract
  • To affiliated Pearson companies and other companies and organizations who perform work for Pearson and are obligated to protect the privacy of personal information consistent with this Privacy Notice
  • To a school, organization, company or government agency, where Pearson collects or processes the personal information in a school setting or on behalf of such organization, company or government agency.

Links


This web site contains links to other sites. Please be aware that we are not responsible for the privacy practices of such other sites. We encourage our users to be aware when they leave our site and to read the privacy statements of each and every web site that collects Personal Information. This privacy statement applies solely to information collected by this web site.

Requests and Contact


Please contact us about this Privacy Notice or if you have any requests or questions relating to the privacy of your personal information.

Changes to this Privacy Notice


We may revise this Privacy Notice through an updated posting. We will identify the effective date of the revision in the posting. Often, updates are made to provide greater clarity or to comply with changes in regulatory requirements. If the updates involve material changes to the collection, protection, use or disclosure of Personal Information, Pearson will provide notice of the change through a conspicuous notice on this site or other appropriate way. Continued use of the site after the effective date of a posted revision evidences acceptance. Please contact us if you have questions or concerns about the Privacy Notice or any objection to any revisions.

Last Update: November 17, 2020