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Creator's Block #45 [Podcast]: Why the Word "Expert" Sucks

Liz Murphy

Director of Web & Interactive Content, Speaker, Host of 'Content Lab' Podcast

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Creator's Block #45 [Podcast]: Why the Word Expert Sucks Blog Feature

Published on October 24th, 2017

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Every two weeks, Jessie-Lee, Marcella, and I meet to brainstorm ideas for the podcast.

Sometimes, we come up with topics based on questions we've been asked or common challenges we've seen just doing our jobs. But then there are those times when one of us comes to the virtual table and says, "Guys, this is what I need to talk about this week."

(Our podcast can be a little like work therapy for us.)

It was a moment just like that, that inspired this episode. Jessie-Lee came to us and said, "I need to talk about the word 'expert.' It makes me uncomfortable, and I want to get your thoughts on it."

Though Jessie-Lee kept us in suspense until the day we recorded about why she didn't like the word and the story it tells, it was well worth the wait. Because, as it turned out, she wasn't alone.

"Expert" is such a funny word. It's meant to describe someone who is really good at or knowledgeable about something. Superficially, this sounds like a positive, right?

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In the marketing world in particular, however, the word "expert" carries a lot baggage.

It pressures people. It can tell the wrong story about a person or a brand. It can make it harder to articulate -- or even understand -- your own value. Or worse, a perceived failure to develop expertise can stunt professional development.

But if so many of us either don't like the word or don't take it seriously, why do we insist on using "expert" and expressions like it as an industry? More importantly, is expertise -- or a lack thereof -- really the problem?

Enjoy!

Listen to the Episode

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What We Talked About

  • Why the word "expert" really bothers Jessie-Lee. 
  • Do we have to be an expert, or can we be good at a lot of things?
  • Does the marketing industry force people into boxes or declaring an expertise "major"?
  • The marketing buzzwords we hate.
  • How do we express our value and legitimate expertise in a meaningful way?
  • How do you differentiate yourself as a generalist?

Resources We Talked About

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