Vice President, Digital at Clearbridge Branding Agency, overseeing clients’ digital and social media efforts.
Many of us go about our daily work routine, putting in long hours, addressing problems, delegating tasks, growing our company and feeling accomplished that a solid day’s work has been done. Some of us go even further and utilize our social media pages, like LinkedIn, to engage in groups, share relevant posts, or create our own posts with industry insight to help others. We usually do not even realize it, but by doing this, we are developing thought leadership within our field.
But what if you could take your LinkedIn posts and craft them into something bigger? What if the content you’re sharing could turn into a press release, a television appearance, or a newspaper article?
While a Ph.D. is helpful in establishing your authority on a subject, do not underestimate the impact of years of experience. While higher education is always important, you may not have a master’s degree but have 15 years as an active certified public accountant, which gives you plenty of experience. Maybe you are retired after a long career as an electrician and have accumulated a wealth of knowledge on safety and installation that could be shared beyond social media.
Many times, current events dictate the need for an expert. For example, with the onset of the pandemic, the press asked medical experts and epidemiology professors to discuss their thoughts and opinions, forecast trends and expectations, and provide safety advice.
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But it usually doesn’t take a worldwide pandemic to create a need for experts. Let’s use our electrician as an example. May is Electrical Safety Month, and knowing this, you can craft a press release discussing key safety tips for home or business, offering your expertise for interviews on why electrical safety is important and how to implement safety measures.
While sending press releases and reaching out to general media for interviews is a great idea, be sure to not neglect special media within your industry as well. For example, reaching out to websites and blogs that cover your industry, offering to write an article or conduct an interview on a specific topic, is also a great way to bring your insight to the forefront.
But why do all this? If you have a passion for what you do, then you should share that passion. There are educationally hungry people in your line of work who understand the value of continued learning, and sometimes there is no better way to learn than from someone who has the experience and has walked the same path that they are heading.
It also helps to create your image as one of a thought leader and increases your personal brand as more people see and read about you. Thought leadership does more than help you; it also helps to raise awareness about your business and the services and products provided, as well as your company’s reputation. According to one survey, 82% of business decision-makers reported that thought leadership increased their trust in an organization. And as business leaders ourselves, we know that we do not typically do business with those we cannot trust.
So, how do you put this all together? Start with identifying your line of expertise. What have you found not only success in but that you enjoy as well? If you don’t enjoy what you are talking about, it will come through.
Learning how to write a press release, or hiring a company to write the releases for you, is a great way to get your foot in the door with media. However, if writing a press release sounds too daunting, a well-crafted introductory email that introduces not only who you are but your expertise in a given field will help to pique interest. If you are forgoing a press release, be sure to include the reason you are reaching out to offer your expertise, such as having 15 years in flood insurance and offering to discuss preparations homeowners can undertake before a big forecasted storm.
Be sure to always include your contact information — both a phone number and an email address that you check often are important. You should include your LinkedIn profile or other professional profile as well to help verify the validity of your profession.
Next, identify the media that you would like to offer your services, whether that’s general media or industry-specific. Most marketing or public relation agencies will have an updated list. However, if you are handling this yourself, take the time to visit local media websites, which typically list their reporters and the fields they cover. Do not forget local or regional radio stations, too. You can add them to a media list, but be sure to occasionally update that list because many reporters and writers move on to new opportunities, and you do not want your press release or email to fall into an inbox that is no longer checked.
Once you have sent the email out, you can send a follow-up email to anyone who did not respond. You can even give the newsroom a call to reiterate the offer.
Finally, when you get coverage, be it a newspaper, online blog, radio or TV interview or even a podcast, be sure to promote it on your personal and professional social media channels. Share with friends, family and colleagues, and let people know when, where and how to listen. After a while, if things go well, you won’t have to send emails; they will reach out to you for interviews!
Forbes Agency Council is an invitation-only community for executives in successful public relations, media strategy, creative and advertising agencies. Do I qualify?
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Author: Rebecca Kowalewicz, Forbes Councils Member