Have you ever seen an expert on a television news program and said to yourself, “I could do that,” or “He has it all wrong and doesn’t know the facts”? What qualifies one person over another as an expert? Let’s take a look.
Books: More often than not, the person that is used as an expert on television or quoted in the newspaper wrote a book. This could be a self-published book, but it is a book and they’ve worked hard to promote it to the media.
Speaking: These people spend a large amount of their time speaking at conferences, trade shows, and industry events. How do they become speakers? In short, they’re involved. They have exhibited at conferences, they’ve written an industry-specific book, and they are involved in the success of the organization by serving on boards and sub-committees.
Writing: Public figures do a lot of writing. You’ll be hard pressed to find many people used regularly as experts that don’t have a writing gig, either a personal blog or an online column. They position themselves online as the expert.
Persistence: It all takes time to become an expert. It also takes them, as I like to say, “politely pestering” media outlets to use them as a resource for their area of expertise.
Focus: These people aren’t experts in everything. Specializing in a niche market makes them special and will ensure their use as an expert in their field.
Awareness: These people have their ear to the ground. When breaking news happens, and they are the experts, you can bet they are immediately contacting the media to pitch themselves as the expert. They also make themselves available via live feed from the local syndicate or by phone to the print media at a moment’s notice.
Why would you want to go through all this work and preparation? Positioning. When you are an expert, you elevate your organization to another level, which, in turn, brings you more business.
There is prestige to being called upon as an expert, but go in with your eyes wide open. It includes a lot of work. This is all on top of your day job!