3 Steps Every Entrepreneur Should Take to Position Themselves as an Expert in Their Industry

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It is a fact that consumers and business owners are more likely to do business with you if they perceive you to be an authority in your industry. It’s why I’m writing this blog post right now. It’s why people speak at conferences without being paid, or contribute content to Entrepreneur Magazine, and hustle for guest panelist opportunities. Obviously, making yourself look smart about topics related to what you sell helps you get more sales and rise in search results. It’s some pretty basic shit and by far the most practical way to stand out in the sea of noise produced by your competitors with minimal paid advertising budget.

Obviously, before you decide to spend time taking control of your reputation and becoming the obvious expert in your industry, you should have a basic idea of how you want people to perceive you and how you’ll evaluate whether or not you’re accomplishing your goals. This really is for internal use only and essentially helps guide your content creation and outreach efforts, and KPI’s going forward. That said, you should understand that you don’t actually have to be the best at what you do to become the go-to expert in your industry. You just need to be the person consistently contributing valuable insight to relevant conversations happening online and in real life.

Here are three fundamental steps every entrepreneur should take to begin the process of positioning yourself as a notable expert and industry authority:

STEP #1: Create high-value written, graphic, and video content that addresses specific topics your target audience needs.

SEO firms will tell you the same thing but we suggest taking it a step further and leveraging this content for more than just having a presence in search results. It doesn’t actually matter where you place it, as long as your target audience is exposed to it in some capacity. Yes, placing your expert content within The Vegas Post is not as big of a deal as placing it within The New York Times, but each piece that lands is another brick added to your brand’s digital foundation. Eventually, if you put in the work, your content will be the only thing your audience can find about you online. That’s called controlling the digital narrative, people. Learn it. Live it. It’s critical to your success.

Some things to keep in mind:

  • Don’t worry about placing your content within high value publications right away. Start by placing it on your own blog or site, then pitch small to medium size blogs on placing it there with a backlink. It doesn’t matter if it’s a video or article, just find the best person and straight up ask them if they will accept the contribution. They need the good content for traffic and you need to look like an industry publication respects what you have to say. It’s a win win for sure. Embrace it and don’t worry about cracking Fast Company and The Wall Street Journal right off the bat. We can help you with that later.
  • Once your content places somewhere online or anywhere else, be sure to put some money and time into making sure people see it on social media, in search results, and potentially on some native networks like Taboola and Outbrain. Yes, content is king but distribution is queen and she wears the pants in this relationship. Start off by spending a minimum of $100/month or more on making sure you content is reaching a very targeted audience. If you write a blog post or make a video about how to market a business on social media, it might be smart to target entrepreneurs with that content. Once they click the link and show interest in what you’re selling, you can pretty much hit them with your messaging indefinitely. In fact, we’re doing that right now with you;)

Step #2: Leverage your digital reputation and expert content to obtain opportunities to provide commentary on relevant news stories, blog posts and social media channels. 

Let’s say you’re a real estate lawyer in Las Vegas and you’ve been successfully dropping relevant content on your own blog and on industry specific sites like Inman or Realtor.com about what agents and brokers need to know about HOA litigation. You now have the reputation ammo you need to put together a solid expert positioning pitch for relevant earned media targets and can use the same messaging on social media and/or the phone if you need to.

You’ll essentially be including your professional bio and 1-3 links to published contributed content samples in the pitch as reference material. It will almost always be assumed that if someone has placed expert content in a few online publications that they can be trusted to now offer commentary on a story about the same topic. Of course, it depends on the publication though. You’ll find there’s a massive spectrum of ethics in online journalism and blogging. Most bloggers and journalists just want to place a solid story and move on with their life.

Now, I’m going to give a you a sample pitch below this copy but keep in mind it will need to be adjusted slightly based on who you’re sending it to and why. Sometimes you’re going to be using it preemptively as a tool to get on the radar of a specific blogger or journalist that might cover a relevant subject in the future. Sometimes, you’ll be using it reactively for “News Jacking” opportunities, which basically means discovering a relevant trending news situation and leveraging it for an opportunity to offer expert insight to the media covering it.

SAMPLE EXPERT POSITIONING PITCH

Subject Line Samples:

  • Experienced Las Vegas Real Estate Attorney Available for Expert Commentary on Relevant Stories (You can get more specific as needed.)
  • In response to your recent coverage regarding HOA litigation in Souther Nevada

Hi Sally,

I’m reaching out in response to your recent coverage regarding HOA litigation cases sweeping across the city to offer my client John Doe, a highly experience Las Vegas based real estate lawyer and managing partner at John Doe and Associates, as an expert source of commentary on relevant stories.

He has handled hundreds of cases similar to the ones mentioned in your recent coverage and can offer some fresh insight into the situation and how it may impact the local real estate market in the next six months.

In addition to the topics mentioned above, John can also speak on the following topics at your convenience: 

  • Nevada real estate laws and litigation topics
  • Contracts and purchase agreement pitfalls and how to avoid them
  • Matters related to real property, from everyday transactions to disputes between parties

If you are interested in speaking with him about the topics mentioned above. I would be happy to arrange an interview at your convenience. Please let me know if this is something you might be interested pursuing further. Thank you in advance for your time and consideration. 

 ABOUT (NAME OF EXPERT SOURCE)

  • Include brief bio of the expert or simply bullet points like… 
  • Board Member of The Las Vegas Chamber of Commerce
  • President of the Las Vegas Real Estate Lawyers Club
  • Contributor to Forbes, Entrepreneur and GlobeStreet (Link samples if you have them.)
  • Click here to read full bio on company site

Cheers, 
Adam

That’s it. There it is. These are the basics of getting yourself quoted in stories, for the most part at least. You’ll want to make updates based on the media target at the moment. Quality is much more important than quantity in this case. Good research can get you placed after one or two emails instead of annoying a thousand journalists with an off-topic email blast. Plus, personalized emails command greater attention from most humans and helps you build long-term relationship with them. That goes for social media influencer collaborations as well.

Step #3: Obtain in-person speaking and panelist opportunities at conferences, professional networking events, and other situations that put you in a position of authority.

Then, document the entire thing from start to finish. Now, take that macro piece of content you just created and chop it up into hundreds of micro pieces of content for use on social media as a way to continuously remind your community of your authority in the industry. One of the most effective expert positioning tactics you will ever execute will be the ones that simply put you or your brand in a position normally occupied by an authority on the subject.

People will naturally perceive you as a respected source of information if they see others treating you as such.

Don’t feel like doing all this work yourself? Contact us today for a free consult.

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