Randall Payleitner


Become an Expert


Readers assume authors have a certain amount of credibility. With few exceptions, authors must be experts on the topics they write about. By “expert” I mean that they have put in the time/energy/effort to know whereof they speak.

They don’t need to know everything. They don’t have to have a PhD. In fact, it helps if they admit where they are lacking. But they must prove their worth as an expert.

Authors must do three things as they write, and after they publish, to keep their street cred intact on their subject matter:

(1) Become an expert

This is the best option—to actually know what you are talking about! We don’t start out this way, it’s a long road to get there, and the next two points help before we become experts.

(2) Know when expertise is lacking

This has regularly been one of my own problems. I tend to speak even when I don’t know what I’m talking about. On this point, don’t do as I do, do as I am trying to do… which is realize when you’re not an expert and ask for help.

(3) Build a trusted source list

You can save yourself a ton of time by knowing who to ask what you should read next, or by knowing where to look for the answers to questions you receive. Rely on other experts.

In the age of the Internet, it is not the know-it-all who is king—it is the one who knows where to look.

Eventually, you may be the one on other people’s resource lists and the one making YouTube videos. The world needs more people who know what they are talking about.