Being positioned as an expert in your business niche will help build the credibility of your company and build trust among important stakeholders within their respective fields. Thought leadership is a critical reputation tool that creates unique leadership platforms for members of executive teams. This positioning allows companies to shape their images relating to the key issues impacting their business strategies, current news topics and much more. It is important to note that expert sourcing typically grows organically: once your name is out there, you will be called upon to consult and to provide feedback as the go-to person in your specific niche. There are many ways to successfully position yourself as an expert source, and I have compiled a list of key tips to help keep those interviews coming:
What is Dr. Oz’s specialty? Anyone? He specializes in cardiology. Dr. Oz and his team have done an exceptional job positioning him as a thought leader on not only cardiology- related topics, but all current health trends. It is this type of positioning, as well as his knowledge of medicine, that make him a valuable source. This type of expertise, in combination with the consistent dissemination of information, will put you at your audience’s top-of-mind.
How do you accomplish this? Quite simply, you need to step out of your box. If an opportunity presents itself and it’s not the exact topic you want to speak about, but it is still a topic you can speak about, pursue it. The more times people see or hear your name, the more they will consider you an expert.
Respond directly to reporters looking for expert sources
While distributing a press release is one strategy to gain media opportunities, responding to the requests of journalists who are actively seeking interviews is another highly effective way to gain exposure for your company or organization. Sign up to receive e-mail queries from websites such as Help A Reporter Out (HARO), ProfNet, Reporter Connection and more. Responding to these requests allows you to control and tailor your message to each reporter and outlet, which in turn develops relationships with key contacts that you will most likely be reaching out to in the future.
Contact reporters directly when there is a relevant news hook
Watch and read the news regularly and you will see the same few names providing expert commentary in their fields. If you want to be a part of that short list, however, you need to be proactive in providing the media with what they need in a timely matter. For example, maybe you specialize in family law and you see on the news that Charlie Sheen lost custody of his children – make sure to be in touch with the press to let them know that you are available to speak on this matter and that you have an opinion.
Use social media to your advantage
Social media allows the public to obtain information immediately, so it is important to get your ideas and expertise out there on the various forums available. Be sure to blog about current news topics and to display your knowledge accurately and repeatedly. The creation of professional profiles on social media websites such as LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter will also help develop relationships and gain interest in your niche and company. It is important to remember to actively update, retweet and build friends on these websites to maintain credibility and a thought leadership profile.
Thought leadership is something that can truly define a company or person’s presence in the marketplace. Solidifying a reputation as the go-to expert for industry issues, both new and old, will not only build your credibility, but also intrigue potential new clients and gain you substantial media exposure.