THE BLOG

How to Become a Go-To Expert for the Media

12/06/2013 05:27 EST | Updated 02/05/2014 05:59 EST

How to position yourself as an expert with the media...and become their "go-to" authority

As an entrepreneur or expert in your field, you need to stay ahead of the competition. It has never been more true than in the economic environment we have been experiencing. While there are a number of marketing tools that can be of tremendous use, publicity is one of the most cost-effective and quickest ways of raising your public profile and getting your message out to your audience.

Journalists are constantly seeking experts in a wide-rage of fields to be their "go-to" authorities, to provide comment on current affairs or on industry stories they are writing, or simply to help understand complex issues that they are covering. So, get on their radar screens!

Following are some ways you can position yourself as an expert and become a "go-to" authority for the media:

1. Develop key messages: what top 3-4 key messages best describe you and your business/products/service? Identify them and use them in all your media materials. Have them on-hand when conducting media interviews -- and use them whenever possible. Be consistent and do not waver during interviews.

2. Sign-up with sources directories and services: Consider signing-up as an expert source with online services that connect reporters with experts (e.g. HARO www.HelpaReporter.com). Also, there are a number of directories that journalists use to find leads, such as Sources and ExpertClick.

3. Develop media relationships: Reach out to key media covering your industry. Regular contact and offering them value to help them with their stories will help keep you top-of-mind (but do not be a pest).

4. Take stock of your image and credibility: Get independent advice or opinions from people not close to you (i.e. friends, clients) about your public image. Conduct an informal survey with people whose opinion you respect. If you receive negative feedback, do not take it to heart, but rather use that to change it and fuel your drive for success.

5. Engage in social networking: The era of the Luddite is long over. Be really active and strategic with your social media. All media are on social networks, especially Twitter. You never know what media opportunities may come your way by being engaging.

6. Prepare for media interviews: The best interview is the prepared interview. So you need to be prepared for all media interviews -- big or small. Mistakes can be costly. Consider media training from a PR or media expert. You can also research expert advice and free resources on the Internet.

7. Do not close doors on an opportunity that may seem too small: You never know where some of the small media opportunities may lead.

Shannon Skinner is the executive producer and host of Extraordinary Women TV, as well as an author and media coach/trainer.