How to raise your profile as an expert or thought leader in your field
Step aside, cringey self-promotion fears. We know you're great at what you do, but you might feel a bit shy about showcasing your expertise. If you are resolved to shine brightly this year, then you're in luck. Alison Shadrack Brown, Founder and CEO of Adia PR, has shared some great strategies for getting your name out there whether you're most at home at a keyboard or in front of an audience.
You’re an expert in your field, you’re doing great work and getting great results and up to now you’ve been getting enough work, clients or orders to keep you going. But you can’t help but wonder why other experts that you know, or who are on your radar, are constantly in the spotlight getting all the glory.
They’re getting themselves quoted in the newspapers, magazines or business publications. They’re getting nominated for awards. They’re being asked to do keynote talks at live events. They’re getting interviewed on podcasts and webinars.
But what about you? Why are you being overlooked? When are you going to get your turn?
Whether you’re a business growth strategist, a HR professional, a mindset coach, a financial advisor, or a yoga instructor, you no doubt have expertise in your subject matter that you can share with others and advise them on what you know and how they can do things better. In which case, you can absolutely look forward to:
- Being featured by the media
- Being nominated for awards
- Being invited to do keynote talks at events
- Being interviewed on podcasts and webinars
Here are some ways in which you can start to position yourself in order to be considered and recognised by others as a go-to expert or thought leader in your field:
Speak at events
You may already attend business/industry events but how ready and willing are you to speak at one? Do you have a point of view that hasn’t been covered? Do you have particular experience that differs from the usual speakers? Make the first move and contact the event organisers to put yourself forward as a speaker at one of their future events. Be sure to do this well in advance before they have their finalised speaker line-up.
Write thought leadership articles
Identify business/trade publications that your ideal customers are reading. Consider what you can provide insightful comment on. What is making headlines right now in your industry? What topics are these publications focusing on? What challenges are your ideal customers facing?
Use the answers to these questions to draft a thought leadership article that gives your opinion, shows off your expertise and imparts advice. Contact the editorial team of relevant publications and pitch the title and summary of your article to see if they will publish your complete article.
Write a book
I appreciate you may think you don’t have time to write a book but by blocking time out in your diary every day to write 800 words (an article like this), you will get there sooner than you think. Don’t wait for a publishing deal. Don’t wait until you have a big following. Don’t wait until you feel ready someday. If you believe you can sell 10,000 copies of a book in six months, then try to get an agent and major publisher; otherwise go down the self-publish or hybrid route. It’s a popular option these days and you have full control over everything, not least the timing.
Connect with the right journalists
When journalists are looking for an expert comment to add to their news story, be it in print, radio or TV, they often reach out to those they know already. That’s why you need them to know who you are. You want to be front of mind when they need an expert in your field.
Do some research and find out which journalists or presenters are writing/talking about issues that you can comment on. Connect with them and introduce yourself, letting them know that you’d be happy to comment on your given topic(s) – give them two or three interesting angles on subjects they have written about to pique their interest.
Use social media
Think about where your target journalists are going to be most active – depending on your business sector it may be Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, etc. Make sure you’re following journalists who write for the press most relevant to your business or industry sector.
Engage and share their posts – you want them to notice you. Post about any important activities or news in your business or industry sector and share your views. Share any press coverage you’ve had too and post any blogs or articles you’ve written and ask for comments. Make sure you tag in others who you think would be interested to encourage them to share and comment.
This isn’t a process that happens overnight. You will need to be consistent and regularly provide your thoughts, ideas, opinions and vision on your subject matter. But by doing so, you will build a network or following of people who will recognise you as an expert in your field.
Alison Shadrack Brown is the Founder and CEO of Adia PR, the leading PR agency for entrepreneurs, the PR partner of The Great British Entrepreneur Awards, the vice-chair of the Institute of Directors in Essex, and has been recognised as one of the Top 5 PR Experts in the UK. Alison also coaches experts to do their own PR via her successful online programme.