One of the most challenging parts of starting a new business is establishing yourself as an expert in your field. People need to be able to trust that you know what you’re talking about. If they can’t believe you know what you’re doing, why would they ever hand over their hard earned dollars?
Here is a quick list of easy ways you can grow your credibility and become the go to, all knowing guru in your field. Try and integrate 4 or 5 a week and within a few months you’ll have everyone clamoring to ask you questions and quote you as a source.
1. Look professional. Have a 20 minute photo session with a photographer and get some decent head shots taken. Every professional needs to have professional photos.
2. Guest blog. Contact the top 30 or so blogs in your industry and pitch them on doing a guest post. Keep it relevant and offer 2-3 topics for them to choose from. Make sure to do your homework and write in the format and style they prefer.
3. Contribute to Mashable.com , Yahoo.com, TheDailyNational and other sites. The more people see your work, and see it in places that are reputable, the more they will trust you. Plus, these sites are always looking for new content.
4. Write a local column. Local papers have ever shrinking budgets these days and they’re always on the hunt for free articles. Contact your local paper and offer to write a column related to your expertise.
5. Videos. Record a few “how to” or explanatory videos related to your topic and promote them via your website and social media. People love to watch videos and will trust you more once they’ve seen you’re a real life person.
6. Write an e-book. It doesn’t have to be 50 pages or anything ridiculous, just 20-25 pages telling people something valuable. Bonus if you can include templates or other resources. Offer it up for free on your site and let other bloggers know about your resource.
7. Write a real book. Use lulu.com and self publish your book on the cheap. Being able to say you’re a published author is a huge deal and is usually enough to become an expert in a field. If you only do one thing on this list – do this one.
8. Talk yourself up. Contact your local chamber of commerce, convention centers, clubs, and businesses and offer to speak, for free, on your subject. Get good enough at it and you’ll be able to charge for your speech.
9. Get on a panel. Contact organizers of events and offer yourself up as an expert for a panel discussion. Can’t find a relevant event? Contact event organizers and PR companies in the area and offer yourself up for any future events they might have.
10. Host a radio show. Invite other experts on for an interview, offer to answer questions sent to you via social media, or tackle a hot industry topic. Blogtalkradio is a good free option.
11. Be a guest on a radio show. Sign up to RadioGuestList and get their daily e-mails from radio hosts seeking guests on different topics. Pitch them daily.
12. Host a conference call. Sign up to use Freeconferencecall.com and invite 5 or 6 experts in your field or complementary fields on to chat. Think topics like: simple ways to grow a small business, internet marketing for dummies, etc. You can record and save the talk as a downloadable .mp3
13. Have an opt in form on your website that offers your potential subscribers one of the informational products above. Set up an auto-responder to get that to them.
14. Host a webinar. Put together a little presentation that shows people how to do something they would actually want to know how to do. You can save it for use later on too.
15. Put up a video resume. Record a short (1-2 min) video explaining who you are and what you do. Upload it to YouTube so people will find it when they Google your name.
16. Go on the local news. Pitch your local news station on doing a segment where you can tie a current event to your topic. For example: if you’re a plumber and it’s fall time talk about preventative maintenance that should be done before the first frost.
18. Pitch the bigger morning shows like Good Morning America and offer to host a tweet up or answer questions on their Facebook page for a set amount of time based upon your expertise.
19. Go to events in nearby areas and try to get pictures taken with the speakers and other celebrities in your field. Post them on your webpage. It’s easy to gain credibility by association.
20. Claim your domain. Buy yourname.com for a couple of bucks each year and host a simple blog or site to tell people what you do. That way when people Google your name they have something to look through.
21. Update your LinkedIn profile. Get people you trust and respect to swap recommendations with you and fill out the profile as thoroughly as possible. Try and connect with 5 new people everyday. People with over 500 connections always seem important.
22. Same for Twitter. Grow your following organically by updating 5 or more times a day and interacting with other industry leaders. Search for your key terms and respond to people that are talking about them.
23. Volunteer at your Chamber of Commerce or local Better Business Bureau to give a course or presentation on your topic. They always need good programs.
24. Network. Get involved in local networking groups and participate. Actively try and make new connections for other people and you’ll quickly find people will do the same for you.
25. Get testimonials. Have people you’ve done work for write (bonus points for video) a great testimonial that you can put on your site. Haven’t had a customer yet? Offer your service up to someone you know for free in exchange for a testimonial.
26. Write really sincere thank you notes to the companies that you use frequently. Often times you’ll end up being quoted on their site. Make sure to include a link to your site at the end of your note.
27. Get Google alerted. Set up Google Alerts for industry terms. When you see something insightful or interesting contact the author and let them know that you enjoyed the article and you also have something to offer on the topic for future pieces.
28. Offer a great return policy. The better the return policy the more people trust you and think you must have something great to offer. At the very least make it 100% money back no questions asked.
29. Create sound bites. When talking to reporters and giving interviews keep in mind that they need key sound bites to promote and quote from. The average sound bite is 9 seconds long and will say something either thought provoking, emotional, or ridiculous.
30. SEO. When creating your website make sure to put next to your name in the title “premier expert of such and such”. A lot of times reporters will just Google their topic + expert and contact whoever is at the top of the list.
31. Forum hunt. Find the forums that people in your field are at and contribute. Don’t plug your business, just be genuinely helpful. People will eventually see you have all the answers to their questions and establish you as an expert.
What have I missed? Let me know what other tips and tactics you guys have by leaving a comment below.
While you’re at it, why not start off on the right foot and add a new contact on LinkedIn – Promise I’ll accept :)
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