CALLING ALL EXPERTS     PART TWO
In the last issue of The Insider, we discussed how putting your expertise into
the media is similar to a client giving you a referral. We touched on the idea
that people get their news and information from sources they trust in the same
way they buy from businesses they trust. We also noted that when the media
presents you as an expert, you gain a certain amount of implicit trust from its
audience; in the same way you’re granted a certain amount of trust by the
person who is referred to you, even if they’ve never done business with you
before.

Let’s continue the discussion.


SHARE THE WEALTH, DON'T SELL YOURSELF


Media outlets are looking for experts who can offer advice and share insights
into the “hows and whys” of things. Your role as an expert is to answer those
questions in a way that gives the audience advice it can use, or insight that its
members wouldn’t have as lay people.

One of the best tips for doing this is to answer questions or speak/write about
the topic as if you were answering questions on a licensing or certification
exam for your area of expertise. Your lowest prices, best track record,
longevity in business, etc., don’t matter, because it’s about what you know.

Media outlets are actually very open to giving experts a platform when they
think their audience will benefit. But, they have a low tolerance level for
people who simply try to use the platform to sell their products or services.
From the media’s perspective, the free advertising is already taking place in
the sense that you're being presented to its audience, (and potential
clients/customers), as an expert on the topic.

Helping the media outlet give the audience the knowledge it wants is the
same thing as giving a potential client/customer the knowledge he or she
needs to make an informed decision, which will help you close the sale.


THE BOTTOM LINE


You stand a much better chance of being invited back, contacted again, or
asked to continue writing an advice column if your answers, insights, etc.,
inform the audience, versus trying to sell it. Those repeat invitations will help
you build trust with the media outlet’s audience, which can help its members
choose your business over the competition.



INDUSTRY BY INDUSTRY SUGGESTIONS


Here’s a quick look at some of the industries subscribers to The Insider work
in, and a few ideas for using your expertise to generate press coverage, get
into trade publications and onto websites/blogs:

Note: If you don’t see your industry listed here, have a question or suggestion
about or for your own industry, or a question for someone in another industry
that you’d like advice about, email The Insider…   i
nfo@flmsmedia.com and we’
ll do a Q and A in an upcoming issue of The Insider. We won’t use names… we’
ll use your initials and your industry only.

Real Estate: Monthly home sales are huge economic indicators in the media’s
mind. Gather up the data for your geographic area, write up a paragraph or
two about why the market changed the way it did and send it to local and
regional media, including business news publications.

Home Improvement: Advice columns for the do-it-yourself crowd. Topics such
as an overview of different types of thermal windows, the basics of replacing
the roof, how to build a deck/porch, how to install a drop ceiling, choosing the
right paint/insulation/siding/flooring, how to choose the right contractor for the
job.

Software Development/Content or Database Management: Write reviews of
new software programs that come onto the market. Advice/Expertise columns
for the layperson that explain in plain language what new
technologies/applications are, and how they work. Offer tips and advice on
how to use them.

Accounting/Finance: Tax tips. Target your advice columns at media
outlets/publications that cater to your target client. Outside of tax season, write
advice columns that offer general accounting and bookkeeping tips. Again,
target your columns toward outlets and publications that cater to your target
client.

Business/Social Etiquette: Basic tips about everything from what to wear, to
the proper way to make introductions, to writing thank-you notes, to proper
attire for different occasions. Advice on how to handle tricky or awkward
situations. Other topics might include body language and posture, grooming,
etc.

Public Relations/Marketing: Advice columns that cover the basics. For P.R.
folks with experience in crisis communications, analysis, and comment on
how big/celebrity names such as Tiger Woods or Toyota can minimize the
negative coverage they’re receiving and begin rebuilding their reputations.

Outdoor Education/Team Leadership: Advice columns on everything from
being prepared with the proper gear for your outdoor adventure, to how to
create a shelter, fire, etc. if someone gets stranded in the wilderness.
Sometimes, a wilderness rescue operation will draw national or regional press
coverage… write up a couple of paragraphs of quick tips for people who may
be considering similar wilderness adventures on how to prepare, what
tools/equipment to have, and basic tips on what to do if a bad situation
occurs, then get it out to the press asap.

Online Dating: Advice columns about how to write a good profile… what
information to include and what not to include. Tips on the best types of
photos to post with a profile, or why photos are or aren’t important to include.
How to be safe and protect yourself with regard to information in your profile
and when meeting someone for the first time. Tips for great first dates, flirting,
fashion, grooming, etc.

Health and Fitness: Basic and advanced tips on starting and maintaining an
exercise regimen, how-to advice for performing specific exercises, the latest
trends in new exercises and exercise equipment, how to properly warm-up.
Expand this to include basic advice on topics such as healthy eating, sleep,
and how to begin exercising again after recovering from an injury.

Website Design/Development: Advice columns and how-to advice on the
latest tools for designing and building a website. The hows and whys of
different applications such as flash players or drop-down menus. Which
applications are the best for different situations/design set-ups? Reviews of
different website development tools and products… everything from the latest
offerings by Adobe, to comparisons of do-it-yourself website builders such as
Yahoo’s Sitebuilder and Go-Daddy’s Website Tonight. Tailor the technical
lingo to fit the audience you’re writing/speaking for.

Gourmet/Specialty Foods: Cooking and recipe tips… tips/advice on pairing
foods, desserts, coffees, and wines. Give recipes and suggest coffees,
wines, or desserts that would go good with them. Tailor these according to the
season or when a holiday is approaching. Review wines… offer basic tips and
primers on choosing them, what different terms such as bouquet and aroma
mean.

Branding/Graphic Design/Visual Identity: Tips and advice on the importance of
an organization’s visual branding, whether it’s a business or a local grassroots
effort. Examples include the importance of the concept that the identity goes
beyond a logo to include marketing materials, letterheads, etc. Tips, ideas,
and suggestions for mixing matching colors, how to focus the eye on one
main element of the image, graphic, mixing and matching fonts, how different
fonts/colors can convey a message that varies from warm, welcoming and
receptive, or bold, established and corporate.

Hotel/Travel Industry: Tips and advice on everything from finding the lowest
airfare, to finding family or pet friendly places to stay. What to do and what
your rights are if the airline bumps you, or you arrive at your destination, but
they have no record of your reservation. Advice on choosing the best
package tour of a location or destination, where to go, or tips and advice on
staying safe in a foreign country. What are the inside tips and tricks that the
industry professional know about but the general public doesn’t?


Related articles:

Calling All Experts   
part one
Calling All Experts   part three


Posted on 2/16/10
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