You can create, change, develop and amplify your subject matter expertise by answering questions.
While answering questions is a time-honored traditional way to build subject matter expertise, you can accelerate the process through technology. Through traditional methods, you had a limited audience who could form an impression through your answers … but this was a slow process, limited to one group at a time. This was how Plato, Aristotle and Socrates built their subject matter expertise in philosophy.
Today, thought leaders are found on Google searches. Technology allows you to reach groups of massive size, by having you answers both listed in online answer applications and having your answers indexed on Google, so that they can help you appear in searches for your subject matter expertise.
In addition, online answers applications help you build thought leadership by working with search engines to move you up search rankings, as a way to SEO yourself without spending a huge budget. Since Answer sites are some of the most visited sites on the internet and most are fully indexed by Google and Bing, every link you place on an answers page can serve as fuel (or “juice”) to your search engine ranking.
Best of all, these apps are easy to use and give you a pretty good bang for your buck. While spending less than an hour per day on any of these sites, your online reputation, findability, and thought leadership can be developed from scratch, or an already developed subject matter expertise can be further amplified.
So this is today’s Dirty Rotten Job Search Trick – Building thought leadership by answering questions.
Here are some of the best online answers applications I recommend to build your thought leadership:
- Linkedin Answers: Linkedin Answers, an application within Linkedin, is a great way to build and amplify your expertise. After signing in to Linkedin, navigate to Answers by clicking “More” on the main top menu, then clicking Answers. From here, you can navigate to your area of subject matter expertise, by browsing by subject area on the right hand side. Click your area of subject matter expertise, then your subtopic, and make sure you’re looking at open questions (if not, click the open questions tab). Now you’re set to brows open questions, answering ones that best show off your subject matter expertise.
- Yahoo Answers: Yahoo Answers (answers.yahoo.com) was one of the first answers applications released (6/2005). While similar in basic function to Linkedin Answers, Yahoo Answers is a general answers forum, while Linkedin is professional. You’ll still find plenty of professional questions lumped together with questions about Justin Beiber’s latest breakup.
- Quora: Quora is a newer service, containing more flexibility and bells/whistles than either Linkedin Answers or Yahoo Answers. In terms of types of questions, it falls in between Yahoo Answers and Linkedin Answers – It’s not as strictly professional as Linkedin Answers, but you won’t be as likely to see questions about the latest teen heart throb either. Quora does contain health, diet and personal related issues, where you probably won’t find many of these on Linkedin Answers.
- Others: Numerous other smaller and less well known answer applications exist out there, working in a similar way to Linkedin Answers, Yahoo Answers and Quora. If you’re looking for other areas to expand your subject matter expertise try: AskVille (askville.amazon.com), Ask (ask.com/answers/browse), Question (question.com), Answerbag (answerbag.com).
When you answer, be sure to attach links to your blog, specific articles or resources you’ve published (that relate to your answer). Another good strategy is to ask a friend to fill out the answer with your pre-written response, and to recommend you as a subject matter expert – It can be more powerful when you also have others attesting for your expertise. Finally, you can subscribe to a feed of new questions within a topic/subtopic, so you’ll have new questions automatically delivered to your feed reader.
From Yahoo Answers home page, click Browse Categories, click the category that best represents your broad subject matter expertise, then narrow it down by up to 2 levels of subtopics. Once you’ve found your area of subject matter expertise, you can search questions by newest, fewest answers and most popular. You’ll have space for an answer and a second area for sources – use the sources area to post links to your site or articles. Alternatively, have a friend post your pre-prepared answer, listing you and your site as a subject matter expert. You can also have new questions automatically delivered to your RSS feed reader.
To find your subject matter expertise, just search for it. Because Quora is set up as a little more free-form than the topic/subtopic menus of Linkedin Answers and Yahoo Answers, Quora tends to have more tightly defined topic areas than the other two. The downside of more tightly defined topics are that your area of subject matter expertise may fall under more than a single topic. You can have all new questions from each specific topic emailed to you. Also, Quora has a mobile app for iPhones and publishes your answers to your Facebook page and/or Twitter feed.
So carve out an hour, check these out and start building your thought leadership.
Please recognize that spending an hour for just one day won’t make an impact. In order to be worthwhile, you’ll need to make this part of your routine – because it’s the cumulative effect of answering questions that will help you to build, change, develop or amplify your subject matter expertise.
When you answer questions regularly, you’ll be amazed at how much more findable you become and how you move up in search engine rankings, demonstrating your improved thought leadership.-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
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