So you want to be famous. An expert. The person that gets called for quotes when reporters in your industry need help on a story.
You don’t need to have years of experience to get noticed for your expertise and forward-thinking ideas. And even if you’re not dreaming of seeing your name in lights, making a name for yourself as a thought leader in your industry can have far-reaching benefits to your career.
There are two things almost all industry leaders have in common: they learn voraciously, and share generously.
They got to be experts because they are unstoppable in their desire to learn. That new research paper? They’ve read it. That new technology trend? They’re already using it in their department. That latest regulatory change? They can teach you all about it.
That last sentence is key: Industry thought leaders don’t learn voraciously in order to keep knowledge to themselves. If you want to be a thought leader, you need to share your knowledge generously in order to have the biggest impact on your industry, and your community.
Ready to get started?
1. Connect with other influencers. When you’re starting out, pay attention to the biggest voices in your field. Your goal is to be in the crowd with them. Write a list of the people you most want to get to know in the industry, then go about networking them in a open, friendly, helpful, and non-creepy way. Politely interact with them on social media. Introduce yourself at a conference. Drop them an email about how much you enjoyed their books, speeches, and research.
2. Write a book. Writing a book is a great way to position yourself as an expert. Self-publishing is easy with Amazon’s KDP and print-on-demand services like CreateSpace, but if you go that route be sure to have your work professionally edited, designed, and formatted. Writing a book won’t do much for your credibility if it looks unprofessional. If you’re super busy, consider hiring a ghost writer to interview you and get your unique insights, then put it all together in your voice. It will still be your work, just professionally worded and compiled.
3. Volunteer to speak at an event. Speaking at an event or getting on a panel is a great way to show your expertise. Look for a trade association meeting, industry conference, convention or Webinars in your field, and contact the organizers about opportunities to speak. Create a speaker’s page on your website, and include your speaking expertise on LinkedIn – you can even upload videos of your presentations to demonstrate your work.
4. Host an event. If there aren’t any networking events or conferences in your area, why not host one yourself? You could start small, with a happy hour or Meetup.com group for local professionals in your field. If you’re naturally outgoing, this can be a fantastic way to get noticed.
5. Write articles for journals. Most industry journals and blogs accept articles and guest posts by industry experts. Often these opportunities don’t pay, but they do give you a chance to get your name in front of your peers, talking knowledgeably about the subjects you know best.
6. Get written about in journals. If you want to become a known expert, join a web service like Help A Reporter Out (HARO). Here, journalists can post requests for expert sources, and you can pitch them if your area of expertise matches the story they’re researching.
7. Write a blog. It can take a long time to get traction on a blog, but if you’re in this for the long term, it’s a worthwhile to showcase your knowledge. Blogging is also a fantastic venue for developing your ideas and connecting with other in your industry – plus, if you’re wanting to write a book, you can essentially use your blog to work on different chapters and compile it all at the end.
8. Publish on LinkedIn. While a blog requires you to build your own audience, LinkedIn’s publisher feature lets you put your thoughts out in front of a ready-made audience. For more on using it, check out this article.
9. Interview other experts for a vlog, or podcast. Video blogs (vlogs) and podcasts are perfect excuses to email those influencers you want to connect with and pick their brains for the edification of the public. You’ll learn a ton, and you’ll become known as someone who always has their pulse on the industry.
10. Get involved on industry websites. Where do your peers hang out online? Sites like GovLoop exist for almost any industry. To use them effectively, you should become known for being helpful, leaving insightful comments, and starting discussions. A more general-purpose site like Quora can also be helpful for sharing your expertise. Here’s a great article from Social Media Examiner about different sites like Quora and Jelly.
11. Get on social media. On its own, social media isn’t likely to turn you into an industry expert. But if you carefully curate interesting articles and links from others, and insert your own opinions, you can start to boost your profile.