How to Become an Expert & Drive Media Interest
Public relations has many arms and legs beyond just a press release and pitching a story. There are a variety of strategies that fuel opportunities for ongoing, long-term public relations. The most important is expert positioning.
Do you ever wonder how certain people become regular contributors on morning news? Do you see someone in your industry giving tips and advice in the media and think "I can totally do that, in fact, I have new thoughts and ideas to shares."
Becoming an expert in your industry can lead to higher levels of credibility and awareness than most will generate with traditional PR efforts alone. It is a tool that media professionals have cultivated and journalists rely on for new introductions to keep stories and trends fresh.
Expert positioning is a great tactic for just about everyone, today:
1. Professional Services (makeup artist, stylist, financial advisor, contractor, travel agent, accountant, etc.)
2. Medical Experts (therapists, physicians)
3. Retailers that sell several products (kids toys, pet store, home store or boutiques)
7. Anyone who wants to be an industry leader
8. Anyone who wants to be known as a subject matter expert
9. Anyone really...
So, how do you become an expert? I can tell you:
Well, first, let me state that it might not fit everyone’s business, however, it can work for just about everyone from consumer service-oriented businesses to specialty products where owners can position themselves as tops in the industry. The first step is to define the things that differentiate you from others in your field. If looking at your list of differentiators and there isn’t much to distinguish you from competitors, than use this opportunity to define or create a niche. This unique perspective becomes your selling point.
Do you have tips or advice to share with people? Are they truly different and new and will be of interest to media and their audience. Is your thinking novel or contrarian? Next, brand yourself as an expert and verbalize it clearly. Create your new “brand tag” and carry it through on your website, blog, newsletter, elevator pitch, etc. Use your position as an expert with a particular perspective to connect people to you and who you are. Develop a unique hook: What if you don't have novel or contrarian expert thinking in an industry? Get creative. For one client we developed a cleaning advice campaign around the cleaning secrets of maids. These secret cleaning tips were novel, worked well in demonstration on TV and listed out in print.
Article marketing is a great tool along with blogging to establish expert credibility. So many trade media have cut back on staff and are always interested in good content in exchange for promotion. Write where your potential customers are and, while you’re at it, put together a press kit with a head shot that clearly defines you and your business. This is a tool you can send to local and regional journalists to make an introduction – be sure to follow up, especially when their is a timely topic you can speak to! It's also key to build relationships with other media as well. Always start local and regional, but look for those radio and TV programs that cater to your customer. If there aren't any look nationally, but it will be much harder to break through without a true specialty/niche or a book.
Industry trade publications and podcasts are always looking for new voices with fresh perspectives.
Go where your potential customers are or network in circles, associations that will provide solid business leads, and be sure to use your new elevator pitch to tell people why you’re different. Attend workshops, conferences and seminars, networking events, join high-profile committees and boards.
Speaking gigs: Industry events and conferences are often looking for experts to speak on a current trend or teach attendees something new. Submit yourself to speak and watch what happens.
Platforms like freespeakers.org can offer opportunities locally and virtually to practice your presentations and gain a foundation for speaking that may help you land bigger gigs. They only cover a few markets now, but look for it to grow.
Use social media: use the expert content you've created in articles, blog posts and video and follow the media you want to see you as an expert. Boost articles and media that have utilized your expertise to further build reputation, credibility, perception and leads or sales. Pay attention the next time you watch the news or read the paper for people who are quoted as “experts” on a subject and determine how you can do the same for your business.
Whether you have industry expertise and novel thinking or want to create an opportunity to promote your business, expert positioning comes in many ways - direct and nondirect. Understand your objectives and audience and drive your Thought Leadership/Expert Positioning campaign in that direction.