How to Become an Industry Expert

Many small business owners feel too modest to assume the title of “industry expert”- even when they possess unmatched knowledge and experience in their field. Such modesty can get in the way of more effectively promoting a business and boosting brand awareness.

By contrast, business owners and CEOs who take on this designation frequently find themselves sought-after on the lecture circuit, in the press, and at prestigious industry conferences and tradeshows.

If opportunities like these appeal to you, it’s time to explore ways in which you, too, can become known as an expert in your field:

Start with your differentiating factor.

As the leader of a successful business, you’re already an expert in your area. To become more widely known, determine and articulate what sets your company apart from the competition. To do this, you must think more deeply about the how and why of that differentiating factor. This way, you start zeroing in on a specific niche, or area of expertise, for which you can become well-known.

Master all elements of your field.

Industry experts are, by definition, supremely well-read and knowledgeable in their area. How do they achieve this status? First, by learning everything they possibly can in this chosen area.  They accomplish this by acquiring knowledge from sources as varied as printed materials, blogs, white papers, webinars and online forums. Absorbing all of this information takes time and effort. But, people expect that when they ask a question of an expert, he or she will be able to provide an illuminating and well-informed answer.  So take the time to amass this knowledge is critical to successfully becoming and industry expert.

Put yourself out there online.

These days, of course, experts are known and followed online–through their own websites and social media platforms.  However, they are also gaining expert status by emerging as a presence on other, trusted sites. Writing a regular blog or hosting an ongoing podcast are currently among the “go-to” venues for spreading the word on a given topic.

Another popular tool is video. It’s easy to establish a YouTube channel, for example, and to start giving short presentations (and slipping in a focused marketing message, as well). With a little preparation and some rehearsal-time, you can make a telegenic presentation with more impact than simple text.

It’s also essential to become more active on social media. As you begin to create new, value-added content to a blog, it’s not difficult to repurpose the material and submit it to sites like LinkedIn, which can dramatically increase your “industry expert” status. Explore the hugely popular world of podcasts. Share industry news and related content on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter and other social media platforms. This is how you gain currency for your expertise.

Boost your profile within the industry.

Experts are frequent guests at industry conferences, tradeshows, and similar events. As your online stature grows, look into upcoming events where your expertise is most relevant, and contact the event organizers. Being persistent is key to eventually succeeding in landing a gig at an important conference. Presenting there, or participating in a panel discussion, will elevate your status and make your next appearance at a trade show easier to claim.

Leverage your expertise for the media.

Local, regional and national media sites and platforms are always seeking an expert who can provide a “hot take” on a specific issue or controversy. If you reach out to the right places, you can become a trusted source that business reporters call if and when a crisis or other situation arises involving your industry.

It’s also good strategy to pitch stories and ideas to reporters and editors (both in print and online).  But remember, the key to getting placed is to be persistent and creative about it. A fresh slant on a “tired” business topic will get their attention and soon you’ll be developing relationships with these highly influential media people. Your status as a well-regarded industry expert is virtually assured at this point.

A great deal of upfront research and work goes into transforming yourself from a business owner to an industry expert. But the next time you hear or see an expert quoted, remember that you could be the next person being asked for his or her views on a pressing industry-related issue.  And that you’ll be able to reap the rewards of all of the prestige and importance that come with it.

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