Bland to Bold: A Consultant’s Guide to Thriving Online by NOT Competing with Influencer Content and Pushing Against the Status Quo
The rise of influencer marketing has completely shifted the digital space and… it’s got a lot of us scratching our heads.
Prefer to listen to the audio essay? Tune in here.
How much time do you spend trying to decode what the digital gods want from you? You’re bursting with knowledge and hard-won experience as a consultant, but you wrestle with how to communicate your standout expertise and philosophies on social media and beyond.
What’s worse is witnessing all the virtual stages (and actual physical stages) occupied by others who seem to effortlessly draw in crowds while their message feels, well, superficial.
It’s like they’ve cracked a mysterious online code to gain followers and rake in the big bucks, but their mediocre content isn’t giving you any clues as to how they solved the puzzle. Frustrating, right?
You’re in the right place if you want to solve this once and for all.
Today, we’re talking about a specific “messaging model” that is perfect for results-oriented consultants. It’s a system you only have to learn once because it moves and evolves with you . . . as you expand your knowledge, your consulting practice, and the platform you’re building for yourself online and off.
The year I graduated from high school, things started buzzing about the world entering into a new digital era. I headed off to college with my fancy new Brother word processor with a detached monitor feeling pretty tech-savvy.
Little did I know that it was the same year that Don Tapscott’s book, ‘The Digital Economy,’ came out. The whole world had this shiny new toy called the Internet, and suddenly, everyone was setting up shop online.
Seemingly overnight, the world became this small place where you could have breakfast in New York and a business meeting in Tokyo before lunchtime, all without leaving your desk.
No need to break the bank on marketing. With a laptop and some digital savvy, you were in the game.
Unfortunately, consulting didn’t move as swiftly.
Were the doors closed to you too?
For decades, the consulting world was a fortress, with its secrets guarded behind closed boardroom doors, privileged networks, and exclusive golf course meetings.
As a woman, and more so as a woman of color, I found those doors closed to me.
The networks were inaccessible. Despite the fact that more women than men were graduating with advanced degrees (supposedly a sign of expertise), the power in consulting remained dominated by the ‘old boys club.’
So, the thought of the many opportunities that the digital economy could bring felt like a breath of fresh air to me. Suddenly, the gates to the once-exclusive consulting party that few were invited to attend were open.
It’s like we had all been handed a shiny VIP pass, promising access to a vast world of online opportunities.
The rules have changed for consultants now.
Back in the day, having the right credentials was pretty much your golden ticket.
Now? Not so much.
Credentials alone carry less weight now that we’re decades deep in the digital economy. In fact, we can safely call it a revolution at this point.
And the digital revolution has shaken things up.
More types of people can embark on their entrepreneurial journeys and share their ideas with the world. This is a great thing, and it’s long overdue.
It’s also challenging our conventional ideas and understanding of what defines expertise and credibility, which can be problematic in the consulting world.
Gone are the days when titles and advanced degrees alone garnered attention.
The rise of influencer marketing has completely shifted the digital space and is reshaping the offline market as well. It’s got a lot of us scratching our heads.
Sure, Influencers are successful at racking up ‘likes’ and status online, but does that mean it’s the one-size-fits-all blueprint we need as consultants to become more successful in our business journey?
Broad Appeal vs. Deep Impact
If you take the time to carefully scroll through your feed on any social media platform (yes, including LinkedIn), you’ll likely notice a pattern.
Influencers seem to gravitate to topics that have a certain universal appeal. From the latest celebrity-promoted products to exotic destinations in Tulum or Santorini or the newest health craze, these subjects, undeniably glamorous and ‘in,’ are the low-hanging fruit that gets the masses talking and double-tapping.
Remember the popular kids in high school? (You may have been one too.) They had the trendiest shoes and the latest tech. Like today’s influencers, they were in the spotlight, not just because they had style, but because they were echoing what was hot.
But if you’re in the consulting world, your playbook’s a bit different. Okay, it’s actually drastically different.
It’s not about hopping on the latest trend.
Instead, you’re out there sparking epiphanies, challenging norms, and sometimes introducing concepts that, let’s be honest, won’t always make the trending list on X (the platform formerly known as Twitter).
You’re offering a journey of transformation, bespoke strategies, and a detailed grasp of nuances in a specialized industry. Insights like these demand more than a quick skim; they need a deep dive.
Consultants navigate a distinct terrain. Unlike influencers, who aim to sell low-cost services to a vast audience, consultants seek to resonate with a niche group willing to invest in premium services.
It’s not about simply chasing vast attention but instead zeroing in on a select, high-quality audience. We’re playing a deeper, more targeted game.
And this is where the challenge comes in.
How can your message resonate with a more discerning audience?
It’s one thing to cast a wide net, hoping to snag whatever you can, influencer-style. But as a consultant, you’re looking for something that’s more elusive.
Think of it as the difference between grabbing a ready-made outfit off the rack and having one tailored just for you. The ready-made outfit is sold wholesale, but the tailored outfit requires skilled craftsmanship.
Although we may recognize that these differences exist, it’s not how we often approach our day-to-day work. In the midst of all of the digital frenzy, we are blurring the lines. In our race to resonate and build audiences for digital street cred, we are simplifying our rich, layered messages to fit them into 15-second sound bites.
By taking this approach, what essence, what depth, might we be leaving behind?
And here’s where things get even more interesting. If the influencer model isn’t the perfect fit for consultants, what other messaging models are there?
The Messaging Matrix: One-Size-DOESN’T-Fit-All
In a space that can either amplify transformative insights or distort them into likable bite-sized formats, understanding the different messaging models becomes more important than ever. Each model not only has a unique approach but also a different way of engaging with an audience.
There are five messaging models that we commonly see used in the digital space. They create a matrix of sorts in the sticky digital web. So, let’s unpack this:
1. The Influencer Messaging Model: At its core, this model isn’t about products or services but aspirations. It sells a lifestyle. It paints a vivid picture of a dream life—sun-drenched vacations, perfect home decor, and the ideal morning routine. While it thrives on portraying authenticity, ironically, much of what you will find in this model of a “perfect life” is staged. It works for those who desire to attract you by showcasing the things you desire to attain (and they want to promote and others sell), but can true, profound insights really be found in surface-level perfection?
2. The eCommerce Messaging Model: This model relies heavily on instant gratification. It speaks to a digital marketplace where the narrative of needs, wants, and desires sells products that can be obtained in most cases by a simple click. But in consulting, solutions aren’t always instant or tangible, so how does one convey value in a marketplace driven by immediacy?
3. The Provider Messaging Model: This is the world of services for sale that offer straightforward promises to meet a specific need. The common equation is “You have an issue; we provide the solution (faster/cheaper/with bells and whistles).” There’s an innate simplicity, a directness. But in a digital space where users are bombarded with pitches all day, how does a consultant avoid being considered a commodity and communicate depth and complexity in a world that often values quick fixes?
4. The Affiliate Messaging Model: It’s like having a well-informed friend who always has a recommendation up their sleeve. There’s an implied trust. Yet, in the background, commissions change hands, and endorsements might not always be as impartial as they seem. For consultants, the challenge is authenticity and conflicts of interest. Can one maintain integrity and genuine client advocacy while also benefiting from affiliations? How does this impact our reputation?
5. The Expert Messaging Model: This is the domain of the thought leader, the pioneer, the deep diver. Here, knowledge isn’t just power—it’s currency. The emphasis is on depth, research, and genuine expertise. However, in a digital landscape peppered with self-proclaimed ‘gurus,’ how does one prove genuine expertise? And more crucially, how does a consultant, armed with profound insights, ensure they’re not perceived as just another voice in an already noisy market?
Alright, so we’ve seen the lineup, and it’s clear the Expert Messaging Model is the gold standard for consultants. But it’s not just about recognizing it. It’s about diving deep and REALLY understanding it.
To truly thrive with the Expert Messaging Model, there’s a certain mindset – a belief system, if you will – that we need to hone that will differentiate us from the swarms of so-called “gurus” and instant experts.
Time for some myth-busting:
1. You don’t have to live online to compete online.
If you’re a consultant feeling the pressure to be always “on,” it will give you comfort to know that you don’t have to live online to make your voice heard. It’s not about frequency; it’s about potency. It’s not the sheer volume of your posts but the value within them that matters. The more meaningful and impactful your message is, the longer it will live in the digital space. It becomes evergreen rather than easily discarded.
2. Attention is currency, but the right attention matters.
For many, the allure of digital fame tempts them into a frantic chase for likes, retweets, and follows. But for consultants like you, it’s not just about having a million followers—it’s about quality over quantity. Every ‘like’ doesn’t carry the same weight, and every follower isn’t a potential client. Instead, it’s about zeroing in on those who truly resonate with your message and genuinely benefit from your expertise.
When you meticulously craft your message to appeal to a specific audience, the ones genuinely seeking your consulting services, you’re laying the foundation for lasting relationships. These aren’t just fleeting digital interactions; they’re deep-rooted connections built on trust, mutual respect, and shared goals. It’s the difference between an audience that passively scrolls past your content and a community that actively engages, values your insights, and, ultimately, seeks your services.
3. If you’re tired of mediocrity selling, you have to change the narrative.
The consulting world doesn’t need more noise; it needs voices that matter, voices that echo depth, wisdom, and experience. Your distinct voice, shaped by unique experiences and insights, has the strength to rise above the noise in the online space. It’s more than just having a unique perspective—it’s about understanding the power of your individuality – your experiences, your struggles, your triumphs, and your wisdom is something no other consultant can replicate. By leaning into your authenticity, not only do you captivate your ideal clients, but you also craft a narrative that’s unapologetically genuine and builds deeper relationships instantly.
In a market filled with noise, standing out requires more than just attempting to scream louder. You also need to increase the intensity of your message. It needs amplification.
Unveiling the Expert Messaging Model™️
What if your path to being on the stages you want to be on, and in the rooms you want to not just exist in, but own . . . is a new model for how you approach messaging?
What if we could build a roadmap tailored just for you as a results-oriented consultant who has unique ways to solve client problems?
Allow me to introduce you to the Expert Messaging Model™️.
A framework that keeps you from watering down your message or sharing common advice in an “influencer” way.
A framework that helps you become the sought-after voice, igniting demand and commanding investment from clients who value the relationship from start to finish.
So why is this a game-changer?
This model ensures your voice isn’t lost in the echo chamber of the online world. It sets you apart as an invaluable authority in your field. It completely redefines the game we have traditionally played in the consulting industry. Here’s how it works.
The Expert Messaging Model™️ amplifies your message using four foundational pillars:
- Personal Code: Think of this as your essence—the core beliefs and values that define your individuality.
- Philosophy: Your distinctive lens for deciphering problems and solutions that sets you apart in your approach.
- Proof: Beyond mere testimonials, it’s the tangible evidence that demonstrates you know your stuff.
- Prescription: Your one-of-a-kind solutions, crafted specifically for those you serve.
Let’s dive a little deeper…
Your Personal Code:
At the heart of every memorable consultant, leader, or influencer lies an authentic identity. It’s your compass and the unique signature that defines you. It’s a culmination of your experiences, your beliefs, your values, and everything that makes you the person you are.
This isn’t about what you do or how you do it, but rather the ‘why’ behind every action and decision. It’s the driving force behind your professional persona. When others attempt to mimic your styles or strategies, your Personal Code remains distinctive and irreplicable.
But how do you translate this code to content and conversations? To presentations, pitches, and calls where you close clients?
I’ll tell you about a private online event in a second that’s training for just this.
While many might be working in the same field, what differentiates the good from the great is often not knowledge but perspective.
Your philosophy is the unique lens through which you interpret challenges, process information, and formulate solutions. It’s the approach you take to situations, the way you connect dots others might overlook, and the fresh angles you introduce.
It’s not just a way of thinking; it’s your intellectual fingerprint.
And you can start creating content that leaves this fingerprint everywhere. In the upcoming 2-day event I’m hosting, I’ll share with you prompts and content “formulas” designed around your intellectual fingerprint.
In a world saturated with self-proclaimed experts, genuine credibility is a prized asset.
Proof isn’t just about showcasing glowing testimonials or endorsements—though they have their place—it’s about the tangible evidence of your expertise.
Think of it as your professional showcase, a living portfolio that speaks volumes about your abilities and achievements. This can include projects you’ve led, challenges you’ve overcome, milestones achieved, or transformations you’ve spearheaded.
It’s the real-world validation that you don’t just talk the talk but walk the walk, offering undeniable evidence that you’re a master of your craft.
You already know that proof is important, but when you go to create this “proof” content, you’re at a loss for what to share other than the same few client quotes.
We get into 7+ ways you can share proof as a consultant during the upcoming workshop I’ll invite you to shortly.
While the market is filled with one-size-fits-all solutions, true value lies in customization. Prescription is your ability to offer bespoke solutions tailored to the specific needs and aspirations of those you serve.
It’s an affirmation that you don’t see clients as mere numbers but as unique entities, each deserving a solution crafted with precision. This is where your depth of expertise shines, allowing you to design strategies, advice, or solutions that resonate deeply with your clientele.
It’s the promise that when clients come to you, they aren’t getting a recycled answer but a solution crafted with care, insight, and a keen understanding of their unique challenges and goals.
So, if all your prescriptions are so customized, how can that possibly translate to articles you can write or content you can publish on social media?
I’ll share a system for exactly how to do this in a way that shines (and seems so obvious once you know it) inside the 2-day experience I talk about below. In addition to the system, I’ll also invite you to use a series of prompts I’ll be giving you as well to kickstart your creativity.
When the four elements above combine, you create a cohesive message that transcends the online space.
It’s a message and framework that simplifies decision-making, boosts confidence in sales conversations, increases perceived value (and compensation for) your services, and is nearly impossible to replicate . . . which insulates you from your competition.
And the best part is that this framework is not static but a dynamic, ever-evolving cycle. With each cycle, you gain further clarity and confidence, your message grows stronger, it resonates further, and your business grows and scales as a result.
Now I want to let you in on one last secret…
The Expert Messaging Model isn’t simply a tool or a strategy; it’s an invitation to embark on an extraordinary journey. This journey isn’t just about elevating your consulting business to new levels; it’s about transforming your message into a revenue generator using the digital landscape.
Now, your success as a woman, especially a woman of color in consulting, is not about “if” anymore—it’s about “when.”
Want to learn more about mastering this model so you can change the game? I’d love to invite you to the Amplified Messaging Workshop, a live, 2-day virtual experience for consultants who are tired of fighting for visibility and growth online and want to land more qualified clients and lucrative contracts without relying solely on referrals.
This is the intimate event for you, and it’s happening soon. Read all the details here.