Back to the topic of building platform, your goal as a nonfiction writer needs to revolve around becoming the expert on your subject matter. By that I mean that the media needs to see you as an expert. Actually, you don’t just want to be seen as an expert; you want to become THE EXPERT. This needs to happen not just before you write your book, but while you write your book and long after you get your book published (not just for that three-month publicity window you have heard about). You need to become the “go-to guy or gal” for your subject matter from this moment on into eternity. Whenever your subject ends up in the news, you want the media to immediately think of you as the source for information on this subject as well as for great quotes and interviews for their stories.
I spend a lot of my time promoting myself as the expert on practical spirituality, human potential and personal growth from a Jewish perspective. However, I am by no mean THE EXPERT yet. I do this in a variety of ways, including sending out news and press releases that end up in front of the media. One way I do this is through my subscription to ExpertClick.com and the Yearbook of Experts. There I’m actually listed as an expert on my subject matter (as well as in 39 categories). Because of this, I’ve been contacted three times by The Star, once by a regional magazine, once by a podcaster who interviewed me and then signed me up as her monthly holiday and spirituality expert (Conversations with Mrs. Claus is listened to by 85,000 people in 90 different countries each month), and once by a radio show that interviewed me and ran the two radio spots on their news show. I have a small niche, but the media can find me, on this website I’m perceived as an expert. (If you are interested in a subscription, see my discount link below!)
How do you become the expert in your field? Writing a book and getting it published helps, but it’s not the be all and end all to becoming an expert. So, I asked Mitchell Davis, the publisher of the Yearbook of Experts, to write a blog for Write Nonfiction in November offering writers tips on how to develop expert credentials. PR Week called the Yearbook “a dating service of PR.” The following represents his top 10 tips for accomplishing this task and helping you build a really strong platform from which you won’t have to shout, “I’m the expert!” Hopefully, if you take his advice, this fact will be obvious to everyone.
Top 10 Ways to Establish Your Expert Credentials
By Mitchell Davis
Publisher of The Yearbook of Experts
Editor of Broadcast Interview Source, Inc.
- Figure out your “needle-in-the-haystack” uniqueness. Use those phrases as your meta-tags, on your Web site, in your “elevator speech.” It should be two or three word and put it everywhere — from your business cards to your vanity license plate. Use WordTracker.com and KWMap.com. Watch my videos at www.WebHandbook.com to learn how. — Says Mitchell Davis from www.ExpertClick.com — who has published the Yearbook of Experts since 1984.
- Give face time. Make sure people know and see your photo. Do you have an “official” current photo? Have you plastered it as many places as possible? I was flabbergasted at a recent association board meeting when it was asked if you should have your photo on your Web site. You are the brand: People have to know who you are. (GlamourShots.com will even do your hair!)
- Use Skip’s 20-20 media rule. First, make a list of your best 20 revenue customers. Then, figure out which media outlets they follow. Make up a list of the 20 editors or journalists that most influence your 20 money makers. Create a media tip list for those 20 journalists: On an IRREGULAR basis, only when you have ideas or things you know they want, sent it to them. Don’t fall into the trap I saw when I interned at the Larry King Show decades ago. I asked the producer why he was throwing away some of mail unopened, and he said: “I’ve seen stuff with that return address before and it wasn’t interesting.” Send out good ideas, not just about you, but as a “cub reporter” for your list. (Thanks to Skip Weitzen, author of “HyperGrowth,” for his added advice here.)
- Don’t just donate time, stake out a leadership position. At an association that can benefit from your participation, you’ll meet and help others. I’ve volunteered at International Platform Association and will be part of its 2009 Washington, D.C., conference.
- Publish a bio. Make sure it comes up #1 at Google when your name is searched. Make sure when people “Google” you they see your bio and your accomplishments first. Remember this is very different than #1 where you are creating a “search phrase” so that people who don’t know your name can find you.
- Be seen and travel. Take clients, current and former, as well as prospects to dinner. You can listen to what they want, and learn how you can serve them. Even if people cannot make the event, they are pleased they were invited. One on one, the ideas can flow over a bottle of wine. One dinner at the Rainbow Room in New York this year has resulted in so much referral business I can’t believe it. This is just #2 “face time” in person.
- Speak? Train? Consult? Coach? You’ve bottled a lot of information and experience over the years. Are you re-packaging it? Sure that “book as a credential” is what everyone says you need, and that’s a great welcome token, give-away or deal sweetener. I’ve left it off this list, for I don’t think “having a book makes you an expert.” You have to be an expert before you are able to author the book. A book is a fancy business card, as most people never get past the dust jacket. Want to hire a great dust jacket person and write four chapters? Then, be very careful which chapter you run first, for consultants have to listen and come up with the solution. Speakers offer a great overview and insights but often are not responsible for client success. Trainers help you with defined problems and offer programs, and coaches seem caught in a time warp of pay, based on time not success. What are you selling? Solutions, ideas, driving lessons or therapy? If you have a book, it should start conversations which end in conversions and business for you.
- The news media is now everyone who can find you on the Web. Are your ideas being “broadcast” so more people find you? Are you creating new ideas, and moving forward and bringing those who search on problems to find your solutions? Please read that once more: People know their problems; they don’t know your solutions. That’s the commonality, and why a campaign we’ve run for a year on the phrase “disgruntled employees” that was based on an Alan Weiss news release headline — “Creating Loyal Employees” — has had thousands of click-throughs. Have you made a list of your clients’ problems? The blogs, comments and news releases you push via our system, reach the media, the Internet, syndication – and, most importantly, your buyers, the public that search the Internet.
- Have testimonials available and check them. What do people say about you on “the street”? Find out by asking around. Yes, have those mystery shoppers call your business, and report if someone trying to book you for a speech can — ask them to call speaker bureaus and ask about you. Search the Web. What information do they get? What kind of follow up?
- Get inbound links to your URL: ExpertClick.com has 48,000. Test your count by entering “links: and your URL” into Google. Try it with both the “www” and without. Ask for text links with your special words in them. Ask for links from sites that have better rankings than you have; search Alexa.com or DMOZ.org to find them. Get and read the new Bruce Clay Search Engine book. I spent thousands to earn Clay’s SEO training certificate. For $27, you can buy their new book, due out in November. I’ll be blogging about it, once my copy arrives. Read the back issues right now at http://searchoptimizationnews.com/
- Maybe if you have a great idea, I’ll add it as #11 and give you credit and a link.
About Mitchell Davis
Mitchell P. Davis has been helping connect journalists and experts since 1984, when he published his first directory, the Talk Show Guest Directory. Today, his Yearbook of Experts, Authorities and Spokespersons is the “brand” for those in the media seeking swift contact with experts on an extraordinary range of topics. The Yearbook of Experts is so influential, Davis was invited to be on the International Advisory Board of the National Association of Radio Talk Show Hosts.
Davis is a 1984 graduate of Georgetown University, where he won the prestigious Bunn Award for Journalistic Excellence. He holds a B.S.B.A. from the Business School, chosen over his first major of history.
Frequently invited to speak on the synergism of ExpertClick, Davis addresses the best ways to become an expert, his marketing theories of always reaching for best target, about the way the news media pyramid works, and how to maximize results of a news release with a “top twenty” relationship list. Davis often advises clients on getting maximum return on even a single news release. Davis travels extensively attending a variety of trade shows in many industries where he’s found a wide variety of experts from shows as diverse as the World Futurists Show to the Search Engine Optimization show, and Speakers to Coaches to Consultants.
Broadcast Interview Source, Inc.
Save $100 on getting listed at www.ExpertClick.com and in the Yearbook of Experts when you click from my discount link: