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  • Attila Gursel

Star Expert Program

I have mentioned the benefits of being a Star Expert, about how it can attract customers and what tools and methods are used by those that qualify as a Star Expert in my previous articles. And in this article I will explain how we can implement these tools and methods. First of all, what we need is a plan. There are seven steps we need to follow:

1. Identify Candidates: The first step is to select our company's star expert candidate or candidates. The best candidate does not necessarily have to be the most experienced or senior expert. The most ideal candidate is the one who can carry the Star Expert qualifications on a balanced basis.

2. Evaluate the candidate's status: What is the candidate's current status? How much recognition has s/he achieved so far? What are their strengths and weaknesses along with visibility? The characteristics that should be taken into consideration when performing situation assessment can be listed as follows:

-Expertise and reputation: What subject is the expert known for? What are her/his thoughts about the market? Has s/he been mentioned in the media, in any book, review or reference?

-Visibility: How well is s/he known? Does s/he often write articles or give presentations? Are her/his articles or presentation videos easy to access? Can they be easily accessed when potential customers call? How many appear in search engines like Google, Yahoo?

-Skill level: As seen previously, the Star Expert must have skills in public speaking, writing, utilizing social media effectively and blogging. How knowledgeable is the expert in these capabilities and in which areas does s/he need development?

-Business impact: How does her/his visibility and expertise impact work? How many new deals did s/he make for the company? Was s/he able to attract new strategic partners to your company? Has her/his expertise contributed to the company's brand?

-Basics: Does s/he have basic tools and marketing materials? Is the material and infrastructure ready to nurture the expert's brand, such as a sophisticated web page, media tools, resumes?

3. Develop a strategy: The candidate that has been selected for a position among Star Experts has to develop a good strategy. For this purpose;

-Special expertise: First of all, it is necessary to specify a niche subject. Which subject is the expert well known for and how can the awareness of the expertise be increased if this subject is to be dealt with in more depth? For example, narrowing down the specialty subject of someone who is an expert in patents to someone specializing in automotive industry patents will make them more recognizable. It is then necessary to analyze competitors, to identify who the competitors are, to analyze what they do differently, determine whether or not the things they do differently are for their advantage or not, and eventually figure out how the specialist will be distinguishable from them. Finally, it is necessary to carefully position our specialist in comparison to other specialists in a short paragraph.

-Identify the followers: Who are we trying to influence? What is their topic of interest? Where do they meet, online or offline? Defining the audience allows you to identify the remaining part of the strategy. Do you need to find a way to catch the interest of a specific target audience? Do other experts know the expert? Do journalists and authorities know the expert? It might be necessary to list the subject headings that the followers may be interested in and then mentioned in their articles and speeches.

-Identify the necessary tools for visibility: The main purpose of this program is to make the Star Expert the most visible and recognizable for the potential audience determined by their expertise subject. For this purpose, it is necessary to use content marketing and promotion tools such as blog, seminar speech, social media that I have shared before.

-Identify promotional channels: How are these channels identified? Will the expert have a website of her/his own or will s/he be utilizing the company website? Will s/he conduct video conferences or be a speaker at seminars? The answer to all depends on the choice of the potential customers of the expert. If the target audience uses Facebook, the expert should be on that channel. If the target audience is at an industry-specific conference, the expert should also make a presentation there.

-Identify resources: It's not possible to be a Star Expert single-handedly. If the specialist needs to develop certain abilities or get help in preparing content, then outsourcing may be the solution.

4. Build Infrastructure: Every Star Expertise strategy needs a strong infrastructure. Basic marketing materials and online tools should always be within their arm's reach. We can list these as follows:

-Profile: Should include professional career, biography, client list, awards, articles and books

-Website: Whether or not you have your own biography or blog or under the company’s website, it must be a sophisticated, professionally designed website. The expert's page should be readily available on search engines and integrated with other social media, blogs and vlogs.

-Resume page for presentations: The specialist must add a resume section on presentations to the web page in order to increase the chances of giving speeches at various events. This section should include video and downloadable media materials (logo, brochure, CV, etc.) of one or two past presentations.

-Promotional video: In addition to the presentation videos, a promotional video explaining who the expert is can prove to be very useful.

-Social profiles: Social media channels change according to the preferences of potential customers. It is necessary to create a profile in channels that are suitable for these preferences, to make it as sophisticated as possible and to integrate them into the web page. It is necessary to put clear links to all social channels so that those who follow the expert can easily access and share the content. It is important to protect brand contents such as logos and graphic designs on all platforms.

5. Improve your personal abilities: Skill development is not a phenomenon that should be done once and then forgotten. On the contrary, it needs continuous learning, practice and development. The best solution is to start from a basic level. It is important to apply a skill in daily life after learning; for example, delivering a speech effectively. The expert should be able to analyze her/his weak points skillfully.

6. Develop the brand of the expert: Congratulations; The Star Expert candidate now has a strategy and an infrastructure supporting this strategy. Now it is time to put this strategy into practice, that is, to create content. For example, one can write a blog post, post a video or share a presentation. While preparing the content, one should pay attention to the Search Engine Optimization (SEO) keywords in order to attract searches. They should not be ashamed to republish a previously published content, since this increases the chances of reaching people who cannot be reached. The articles shared on the blog can easily be turned into a book with a few finishing touches. There are even experts who have edited and written blog posts for this purpose.

7. Watch and fine tune: When trying to reach the top, people may sometimes forget to stop and observe. One of the most important parts of this job is to look back and correct mistakes. Examining criteria and analyzing personal tactics and key strategy every month or every two months can make a big difference without putting in much of an effort.

The only obstacle to being a Star Expert is the candidate's own doubts. To address these doubts, let us answer the possible questions that may arise in the candidate's mind:

1. Can the Star Expert program teach someone who is not an expert to be famous?

No. The first condition to becoming a Star Expert is to be an expert on a subject.

2. Will the Star Expert undermine or overshadow our company’s brand?

Don’t forget that companies with a Star Expert have a substantial increase in revenue and customer traction rates. It's a partnership where both parties will benefit from each other. However, relying only on one Star Expert, may leave a small business in bad shape if the star leaves the company for any reason. So it is wise to have a program and create multiple Star Experts.

3. Does being a Star Expert mean getting stuck on a subject for life?

As we have already mentioned, specializing in a niche subject makes the expert more visible and recognizable, but this does not mean being stuck on a niche subject. Star expert can easily change and improve her/his subject. Moreover, this change is much easier after becoming a Star.

4. How should you choose candidates for the Star Expert Program? Wouldn't it be unfair to choose one candidate over another?

Please don’t forget that there is no such thing as a Star Expert surplus. Anyone who fulfills the necessary conditions can be a Star Expert. So the program should be open to everyone. The important thing is transparency. Issues such as what type of program should be prepared and what it covers should be clearly stated. In this way, the ones that are ready for such a program, and the ones that are content with their position will come to light.

5. Is it true that only the smartest ones can become Star Experts?

Research has revealed that none of the Star Experts see themselves as the smartest or as the most distinctive in their fields. They regard strategic behavior and hard work as their most important virtues in becoming a Star Expert. At the same time, they describe themselves as good communicators and as people who can facilitate difficult issues for their customers.

6. What if I have no time to become a Star Expert?

The best staff of a company are always the busiest ones. The Star Expert program should also provide a special time organization. A candidate who is committed to this program should definitely be able to take time to develop their skills, prepare content and share them on social media.

7. Since everyone wants to work with our experts, wouldn't it make matters worse if they became a Star Expert?

Everyone will want to work with Star Experts and this is an excellent reason for developing work. In line with the demand for Star Experts, the credibility of other experts can be increased by adjusting their fees and through the help of the halo effect.

8. Can the role of a Star Expert change over time? How should we plan for the future?

As we have previously seen, the role and focus of the Star Expert will change with each level of expertise. The Rising Star will now deal with fewer customers, but can devote more time to strategy, planning, large-scale promotional activities and training other teammates.

9. What if our company trains Star Experts and they leave us?

Employees come and go. This is inherent in nature, but in order to reduce this risk:

-Select new employees from among those that care about their careers.

-Create opportunities. Employees prefer to work in places where their careers can develop. Such a program will show how much the company attaches importance to the careers of its employees.

-Losing a star expert is not the end of the world. You won’t have to be concerned about this if you have more than one Star Expert.

-Take advantage of the halo effect. As your company's brand awareness increases, the risk of losing the Star Expert decreases.

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