Expert Branding Made Painless: How to Create a Media Site That Showcases You as an Expert

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Whether you are a newbie just launching or a business veteran with decades of experience, there is one thing everyone can use: good publicity! And, let's face it, what is the best way to get your name in the media? By being the recognized industry expert, of course. But how? How can you leverage your Internet presence to invite the media onto your site with open arms and give them everything they need to showcase you as that expert? Simple—set up a place just for them.

By creating a page on your site that contains everything a journalist will need to write about you and your business, you make yourself a fast, one-stop shop for critical information, nearly ensuring they will return at every opportunity. Of course, you should be sure items such as your mission statement, company logo, and biography are prominent and easily accessible, but that's not all you need if you want to lure more than just print media.

Articles



You need five solid, well-written articles on various topics within your industry written in your individual style that showcase your unique perspective and expertise. What's that? You already work 60 hours a week and can't fathom the idea of sacrificing more sleep? No problem—get a ghostwriter to be your "voice"!

Although it is always better if you can write articles yourself, you can find cheap, highly talented people at places such as eLance, Guru, or iFreelance to do this for you. All you need to do is talk to them on the phone and do a "brain dump." A good writer can turn that call into an attention-grabbing article in no time flat.

After your articles are written, you'll need to find places to post them, such as WebArticles, Featurewell.com, or DivineCaroline, where they will be entered into searchable databases and get your name out there, identifying you as a knowledgeable person within your field. I use an automated article submission engine to do this part for me. Once you have signed up with all the sites, the next article is a snap!

If you are really feeling industrious, you should know that the engine that drives all of these article repositories is called ArticleDashboard...and it's FREE. Why not have it installed on your domain server and be the central repository for articles about your industry? It's a quick and cheap way to draw more traffic to your site, improve your search engine rankings, as well as give you free content to use on your site. And when the media is looking for information, you'll be the top-ranked spot for them to visit.

Tips

Don't stop at just writing articles. It is a good idea to repurpose the content you've already slaved over to create tip sheets. You can reduce your article content to five or 10 crucial points and then send those to newspapers and magazines unsolicited. By giving them permission to use your content as they wish, you increase the likelihood that it will get published. Editors are always looking for short, useful tidbits to fill in spare column inches, and besides making you look brilliant for coming up with such witty tips, it will get your name, website, and contact information in the resource box!

Quotes

Create a section called "Quotables"—these are short, written quips from you on any and all subjects on which you want to comment that the media can come and grab when on a deadline. Because you are an expert in your field, you probably read your industry news daily. If there is a breaking story or scandal in your industry, you can have your statements prepared. This saves journalists time when looking for an expert to quote. Another option is to have a blog on your site that serves to showcase your quotes.

Radio Interviews or Podcasts

If you want to be on the radio, you have to show the producer how you will sound on the radio. Do you speak without tripping over your own tongue? Do you efficiently present information in 10-second bursts? Do you make the phones light up and the host sound great? Post those files, baby! What's that? You've never been on the radio? No problem—do your own podcast! No, no, it is not as complicated as people make it out to be.

You can easily create your own podcast series by plugging a microphone into your computer and signing up with podOmatic.com. It's free, it's easy, and you'll be up and running in minutes. But beware; as on YouTube, what you upload you give them a non-exclusive license to.

Therefore, if you want to get more serious about podcasting (and keep your intellectual property under your control), get a program like WebPod Studio for less than $100. With it, you can add music at the press of a button while you are recording, create the proper RSS (Real Simple Syndication) and iTunes feeds, and publish your podcasts in seconds. The icing on the cake is that you can announce your new podcast series to all the podcast directories with one step.

Now that we have the technical side under control, what about the content? The key to a good podcast is good information. Make it interesting and fun, and people will respond. Short also takes a prize for most valuable quality, with five to seven minutes being on the long side. Take a look at Grammar Girl. She's been doing short, pithy podcasts for years, got a book deal, and appeared on Good Morning America, The Today Show, and Oprah...all because of a podcast.

TV or (Again) Podcasts

As with radio, you've gotta show 'em what they'll get! You don't have to be a beauty queen, but you do have to be appropriate for the show and the topic. Are you neat and well presented, or do you need a tissue? Can you speak as intelligently as you look? Then show the world by putting those recordings up there for everyone to see! What's that? Never been on TV? (You know what's coming, don't you?) No problem! Look up your local cable-access center. Call them and get on a local show or book some studio time and create your own show.

If that's still too much time to squeeze into your Palm Pilot, you can always create a video podcast using a simple $30 webcam, and you don't need any special sets, lighting effects, or high-tech graphics. Just have fun and be your personable self who has some great info to share with the world! Breakfast with Todd is a fantastic example of a guy sitting at his desk talking into a webcam. He's brilliant, and although the production value of the podcast is low, the intellectual value is priceless.

What subject could you talk about once a week, or every day, for a few minutes that would add value to your customers and their friends? Having your own "show" is another way to spread the word about your business using viral marketing. If one of your clients likes what you have to say, he or she will pass it along. Soon your subscriber list will be overflowing, and all the while, these videocasts will show television producers what you would be like on camera.

One-Sheet Pitches

Everyone is looking for a unique angle to a story. How are you going to be different? Why would viewers care about what you have to say? Come up with five or six catchy hooks. Think of seeing the news anchor right before going to commercial and saying, "Coming up, we have a guest here to tell us why it's a great idea to teach squirrels how to water ski!" Okay, so maybe you are not a fan of water-skiing rodents, but you get the idea. What will make someone feel like he or she needs to tune in to hear you?

Headshots

No, we are not talking boxing here. It's time to cast aside that self-conscious, are-my-teeth-green-or-is-my-belly-hanging-over-my-belt type of camera shyness and invest in yourself! The media want to know who they are talking to, so you have to show them.

If your last portrait was taken senior year, it's time to spend an afternoon getting some good-quality headshots taken by a professional. And I don't mean Glamour Shots. Your headshots should look like you, not the retouched-cover-of-Cosmo you but the you who is going to show up on the couch talking to Oprah or Barbara.

So now you know the basics of what you will need, but are you ready to execute? Perhaps, perhaps not—but it's best to be sure, right? You need to do two things to be successful: prepare and practice...and practice and practice and practice.

When you boil it down, this is the key to everything you want to do well, and it is essential when dealing with the media. You have one shot at being great, and if you blow that shot, you are not likely to get another one! So be prepared, and when the media come to see your press page, they will see that along with your ample expertise, you have experience and will make a great guest.

About the Author:

As an award-winning filmmaker and author, Adryenn Ashley was no stranger to media publicity. But when she developed her marketing plan to launch her new book, Every Single Girl's Guide to Her Future Husband's Last Divorce, she realized that her approach and unique format could teach others how to do the same thing. Wow! Is Me is the "shameless art of self-promotion." Ashley teaches you how to brand yourself as an expert in your given field and then develops a strategy for you to implement your media plan and launch your path to the national stage.
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