5 Steps to Establish Yourself as an Industry Expert

You don't need to be the single most knowledgeable person in your field, you just need to know what you're talking about and be good at explaining it.

learn more about Jacqueline Whitmore

By Jacqueline Whitmore

Bill Gates discusses malaria at a 2009 TED talk.

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Those who are recognized as industry experts have a leg up in the business world. They command higher fees, open doors more easily and are often called upon by the media for quotes and feature stories.

You might think that they put in many years studying the field or obtaining higher educational degrees to get to that point, but that's not always true. Becoming an industry expert could be easier than you think.

Here are a few ways you can establish yourself as a leader in your field.

1. Get deeply involved in your industry.

Become a member of the leading associations and organizations related to your industry. Then go deeper by joining the board of directors, volunteering, speaking or sponsoring various events. You'll engage with other notables from whom you can learn, and you'll establish yourself in a leadership position. Step forward when you have suggestions or ideas. Also, take in as much information as you can and learn from the already-established leaders.

Related: 9 Things True Thought Leaders Always Do

2. Write about your industry.

Look for opportunities to author articles about your industry. Provide articles or news items for organization or association newsletters or publications, pitch focused article ideas to your industry's trade magazines, and scan the news for topics to which you can add information as an industry expert. Editors are always looking for interesting and informative content, so step forward and offer your expertise. Your name will not only appear under the title as the piece's author, you most likely will have an author's bio at the end of the piece, where you can provide your contact information and website and social media addresses.

3. Pitch ideas to the media.

If your industry appears in national news, pitch topic ideas to the editors of online and print publications, or to the news director at broadcast media. Tell them why your topic is important now, why it will impact their readers or viewers and why you are the person who should tell the story. You may be asked to author the piece or a staff writer may be assigned to write the story, but in any case, you will have established yourself as an expert resource for future stories and interviews.

Related: Pitch Perfect: 4 Steps to Capture the Media's Attention

4. Write a book related to your industry.

One of the quickest ways to obtain instant credibility is to author a book. What do people inside -- or outside -- of your industry need to know? What helpful advice can you offer? Can you teach someone how to do something? Nonfiction books can fall into the categories of self-help, how-to, biography, informational and reference.

5. Create an online presence.

Use your website and social media outlets to create a strong and authoritative online presence. Use Twitter to send out updates or links to helpful articles (media often monitor Twitter feeds for the latest news), build a following on Facebook, or create an opt-in newsletter that promotes your speaking engagements, latest articles and interviews, and upcoming books and videos.

The information you use doesn't always have to be your own. For example, you can interview leading experts or thought leaders in your own podcast series or post guest blogs that reach your subject's own followers.

Think of what you know that can benefit other people, then develop ways to disseminate that information through all the technologies and methods available today. You'll quickly be on your way to being an expert in your field.

Related: How to Master the Two Key Parts of Your Online Presence

Jacqueline Whitmore

Author, Business Etiquette Expert and Founder of The Protocol School of Palm Beach

Jacqueline Whitmore is an etiquette expert and founder of the Protocol School of Palm Beach in Palm Beach, Fla. She is the author of Poised for Success: Mastering the Four Qualities That Distinguish Outstanding Professionals (St. Martin's Press, 2011) and Business Class: Etiquette Essentials for Success at Work (St. Martin's Press, 2005).

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