Presenting yourself–or someone in your organization–as an expert can be a critical aspect of your public relations strategy. However, there are some fields where just about anyone can say they’re an “expert”–or worse, a “consultant.” The media, and even the general public, has become increasingly skeptical of such claims. However, there are ways to overcome this skepticism, add credibility to your claims of expertise, and pull off a public relations coup.
Join the major associations and professional organizations associated with your field.
If you are marketing yourself nationally, join national professional organizations. Likewise, join local chapters if you’re focusing on a local market. Shoot for well-known and well-respected professional organizations or associations specific to the area in which you claim to be an expert. In other words, if you claim to be an expert in marketing professional services, join the Society for Marketing Professional Services.
If being a member of a professional organization is beneficial, being an involved member is doubly beneficial. Become an officer and join committees–preferably providing a service akin to what you do professionally.
Do pro bono work.
Public relations means building goodwill. Donating your services pro bono offers many benefits. You position yourself as committed part of the professional community, not just someone passing through to make a buck. You are also able to demonstrate your professional abilities and create good relationships with potential clients or sources of referrals. Getting involved in a high-profile charity or cause may also get you some very valuable publicity.
Even if the certification isn’t well known in your field, it will boost your credibility outside your field. Again, at the very least, it will demonstrate that you are involved in your field and not just “passing through.”
Make press contacts.
Your public relations goal is to become the first person a reporter thinks of when he or she needs a quote from an expert in your field. This is not an easy accomplishment; you can’t simply make cold calls to potential press contacts, claiming that you’re an expert. There is a delicate balance between making your press contacts aware of your expertise and corrupting your appearance of objectivity.
Keep your press clips.
Once you start getting quoted as an expert, incorporate copies of your press clips or quotes into your press releases and press kits for situations in which your status as an expert is relevant. Being quoted in an objective news report will be the ideal support to claims of expertise in your press releases.
This article, written by Ben Silverman, originally appeared in PR Fuel (http://www.ereleases.com/prfuel), a free weekly newsletter from eReleases (http://www.ereleases.com), the online leader in affordable press release distribution. To subscribe to PR Fuel, visit: http://www.ereleases.com/prfuel/subscribe/.