How to Position Yourself as the Go-To Expert in Your Niche
Personal branding is something that every business owner and entrepreneur needs to focus on, as it may be the greatest investment you can make in your professional career.
When you have a strong personal brand you are viewed as the expert and go-to personality in your field, whatever that is. If you exit your company or it’s acquired and you start another venture, guess what? Your personal brand follows you, and you are able to immediately leverage its power.
As a branding strategist, I often see entrepreneurs looking for a PR firm to help them create a strong personal brand, but it’s not something that a “package” can deliver. It’s something that takes time, effort and multiple platforms.
I want to review a very clear and direct personal branding approach that I often suggest to clients who contact my company looking for ways to better position themselves within their industry. It’s a simple, yet highly-effective strategy that you can use to your advantage, helping you be seen as the go-to expert in your field.
Align yourself with local traditional media
Your local media can be a goldmine of opportunities and often you can connect to local TV and newspaper personalities via email or on Twitter, which is the social media platform of choice for most reporters, writers and journalists.
Simply introduce yourself, let them know what you do and what topics you are a subject matter expert on, and tell them that you are available anytime to provide any insight or expertise when needed.
Then, after the relationship has aged a bit and you have communicated back and forth a few times, you can pitch ideas for a story or segment. Many outlets, especially smaller ones, are always looking for new and interesting topics to report on.
Being featured on a local NBC news affiliate provides you with a video clip you can use in your marketing or show on your website that takes your credibility up a notch. When you do this at scale and secure several interviews and features, you become the clear go-to expert in your field.
Be active on social media (Instagram specifically)
Social media provides you with a platform to share your thoughts about what is happening within your industry, and allows you to target those potentially interested in what you have to say by using relevant hashtags.
Create content that positions you as the star of your brand. Create content that engages and disrupts — something that causes your audience to stop scrolling. Check out hashtags in your niche, and start scrolling through the Reels section to see what is hitting the top. You will find that it isn’t corporate, perfectly-produced advertisements. Instead, it is selfie off-the-cuff videos that connect because they don’t come across as scripted. Come up with a plan — a theme on a specific day, for example, where you dive deep into a topic — and then just share from your heart.
Start by posting once a day, using popular hashtags within your niche, and be sure to engage with anyone that follows you, likes your posts or DMs you. Don’t be discouraged by low engagement at first. It takes time to build.
Stay consistent and if you stick to the plan you will see your follower count increase and over time each reply and retweet introduces your profile — and your information — to new users.
Publish a blog and build a subscriber list
Blogging allows you to talk about anything you would like, and when it’s your own hosted blog, there are no editorial guidelines to follow, no subject matter approval, etc. You are free to speak about anything on your mind.
This approach rewards those that have a lot of great advice and knowledge to share. If you take action on the points mentioned above -- aligning with local news and media outlets -- you will have a very welcoming audience who will be eager to read and subscribe to your blog.
If you don’t want to publish a blog on your company’s website, consider using Medium. It’s a great platform and one that can help introduce new readers and subscribers because of its large traffic numbers. Medium also has a built-in feature that allows you to build a subscriber list.
A large list gives you access to a very responsive following that will be welcoming of any news of new products and services. When you become the expert, you will find that those who follow you are the first to open their wallets when presented with an opportunity to buy from you.
Start hosting a weekly podcast
It seems like everyone and their brother has a podcast these days, and that is because people love listening to them. A podcast is portable content that can be consumed anywhere and whenever it’s convenient.
Anyone serious about their personal brand these days needs to consider launching a podcast. You don’t have to fully commit to a daily podcast, as that just isn’t feasible for most, but a weekly recap podcast is manageable.
You can also do it without any costs, so don’t let that deter you from starting. Anchor.fm, which was acquired by Spotify, is a great platform that is free and allows you to host all of your episodes and distributes them to all of the major podcast platforms automatically.
Using the Anchor app allows you to record and edit episodes right from your mobile device. You can even monetize your podcast through Anchor, giving you an additional revenue stream. If your podcast explodes in popularity, you can consider doing more frequent episodes and upgrading to professional-grade equipment.
There is absolutely no downside to starting a podcast. It’s a great way to build an audience and boost your positioning within your industry on an additional platform and content format.
Guest blog on relevant industry websites
Guest blogging is one of the earliest personal branding strategies, and it’s still highly effective today. There is far more competition now so publications are more selective with who they allow to publish content.
Focus on industry blogs and websites, and start small. Use smaller blogs to get experience writing and creating your voice. This also helps you build a portfolio that you can use to level up and secure guest blogging opportunities on larger sites.
The mistake I see many make is approaching the industry juggernaut first, with no prior writing experience, and being discouraged when their pitch is denied. Put in the time and effort to become a great writer and you will see more doors of opportunity open.
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