Clients sometimes tell me that they want to build an expert reputation by becoming visible through speaking, writing articles, getting publicity in the media, etc.; however, they believe that these things can only be accomplished if they are already seen as an expert. Every expert started somewhere, and you can begin building your credibility and expert reputation from wherever you are today.
Be patient. Even if you can’t get on Oprah, deliver the keynote address at your professional association’s annual convention, or get your articles in national publications right now, you can have successes. Target your efforts to the organizations and media where you are most likely to be accepted, then expand outward from that core. Use each success as a stepping stone to the next level.
Where can you start? Offer to speak to the professional associations to which you belong and other local and regional organizations. Provide articles for their newsletters. (Most newsletter editors are starved for submissions. They will appreciate your articles.) Propose a class to a local college or learning center. Start sending media releases to local media about your speaking appearances and other events.
Do a project as a volunteer (or barter your services) to build your portfolio and get a customer reference. Get active in your professional associations. Don’t just go to a few meetings. Get on a committee or run for office. You will meet the movers and shakers in your industry. If you only associate with people who are at the same level as you, it will be harder to get to the next level. Industry leaders are in the position to mentor you and open doors to new opportunities.
Put together a booklet or audio program related to your topic. When you are published, you have more credibility (yes, even if you publish yourself). Be sure to mention your publication credits in your bio sheet and other marketing materials, along with your other accomplishments.
Use the Internet to create awareness. Build a website that mentions your availability to speak to community and professional organizations, and include information for the media, such as your media appearances and the topics on which you can provide expertise.
Publish your own online newsletter (ezine), and/or provide content to other ezine publishers. It is easier than ever to get your articles published extensively through article directories such as http://EzineArticles.com/.
Now, use the fact that you have done these things to get to the next level. Write an article proposal for a major magazine, get paying speaking appearances, solicit that big client and keep building until you can go after Oprah–or better yet, ‘til she comes after you!
There is a Chinese proverb that says, “The journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.” It may seem that credibility and fame as an expert are a thousand miles from you, but in reality they are only a few steps away. Start today with your single step.