We would all love to be experts in everything, but sadly that’s not possible. However, there is always room to become an expert. If you’re interested in becoming a subject matter expert, here are some steps you can take.
1. Choose Your Specialization
Your topic should be unique enough to minimize competition, but also general enough that it appeals to a good portion of your target industry.
Evaluate your prior working experiences and find the commonality between them. I have experience in digital media, old-school marketing, and PR for various fashion, beauty, and lifestyle companies; but I don’t want to only be known as a marketing or social media expert because there are already too many people who are experts in those areas. After giving it some additional thought, I realized that the one thing they all had in common was luxury. But even that was too broad of a term. So then I decided to tie it to a specific location- China- and narrow my focus down even further to eCommerce. And that’s how I became known as an expert on luxury eCommerce in China.
If you aren’t sure which topic to choose, think about the one issue that intrigues you most. Once you’ve selected your focus, read everything possible on the subject and try to narrow it down from there.
2. Be Confident in Your Convictions, Even if They May Be Unpopular
If you want to be noticed, now is the time! But make sure that your contrarian views are honest and not just for show. People will take notice if you have opposing opinions on popular topics. If you want to be quoted more often by journalists, try being balanced in your opinions and article topics. If you want people to listen to and understand your opinion, make sure you sound passionate but also ready to compromise. Try not to be too emotional about it- let them see that you’re thinking objectively as well.
3. Get the Latest News
Set up Google Alerts: By setting up Google Alerts for terms related to your industry, you can stay on top of the latest news and be considered an expert in your field. If you find an article that is especially intriguing or well-written, you can reach out to the author and offer them suggestions for future articles.
Use Source Tools: There are plenty of free resources available that can help you get noticed by the media! Websites like HARO (Help a Reporter Out), Bottlesource, MediaKitty, MediaSpot (apply via LinkedIn), and ExpertEngine (Beta version) are all great places to start. Journalists and other members of the media are always in need of sources for their articles—so this is the perfect opportunity for you to get your name out there!
SEO: Placing your name next to keywords like “expert”, “source”, and “topic” in your website’s title and the content will make you more visible to reporters. Reporters often Google a topic along with the word “expert” and contact whoever is at the top of the list. If you have a particular niche topic, this can be very beneficial for you.
4. Start With Your Local Community
Having a variety of goals is important, but remember it’s okay to start small and work your way up. But at the same time, don’t overextend yourself with too many local commitments that you can’t handle. It is more advantageous to write a single, high-quality article than five shorter ones, even if the latter is for smaller publications.
Try these out:
- Choose a topic you know well and write for a local newspaper column.
- You can become an expert panelist for events by simply reaching out to the organizers.
- Consider giving speeches at universities or schools. Teachers always need real-world speakers for their classes.
- By giving presentations on your professional area of expertise at the Chamber of Commerce or Better Business Bureau, you can volunteer your time and reap the benefits.
- Host your events and invite influential people in your industry. Once the event is over, write a summary of the main points that were discussed and submit it to a blog as an article idea.
- You can write for free on many websites.
If you want to get noticed by the top bloggers in your field, reach out and suggest a guest post idea. Don’t just shoot them over a generic pitch – make sure it’s personalized and tailored to each person or publication, showing that you have done your research. Along with some old favorites, extend some new and innovative ideas too. By positioning yourself as an expert in your field, you’re much more likely to catch their attention.
Interview Real Experts:
Although you may be an expert in your field, some people know even more than you. Use this to your advantage! You can act as the middleman between a media outlet and the expert by pitching both sides to each other. Many experts love being quoted but might not want to write the article themselves, which is where you come in handy. In this situation, everyone wins!
How do you become an expert in your field? Let us know below!
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