3 Things That Make You A Quotable Expert

Often people wonder how the "experts" on TV or in magazines got there, and I can tell you from experience, it’s not how you would expect.

As a network news correspondent, I had to find experts to go on-camera for my stories all the time, almost always under very tight deadlines.

Finding the right person usually came down to three very basic things:

  1. Are you the first person on the list when I Google that topic?

  2. Can I figure out what you do/what you know in 10 seconds just by looking at your profile or website?

  3. Can you talk to me about the topic at hand in concise, clear and engaging statements?

Now, when I work with people on branding, I find these same rules apply when it comes to landing clients, a new job or even a date. And since we’re starting a new year, it’s time to do a little refresh on your personal and professional profile to make the best impression.

First…
Let’s talk SEO and keywords. If I Google your specialty, how high up on the list of results are you? Pretend there’s a big story involving baseball and you’re a baseball historian. This is a HUGE opportunity for you to get big buzz. But if the reporters can’t find you, then it’s like you don’t even exist.

In your case, try Googling the keywords that apply to your business, or area of expertise. Make sure your site’s and social media’s SEO (search engine optimization) include specific keywords that describe what makes you special. If you tend to work primarily with women entrepreneurs, make sure “women” “female” “small business” and other type words are part of your Google description. At the very least, your professional website, or social media profiles should be first on the page if you Google your name.

LinkedIn headline: Don’t just put your job title because many job titles are meaningless. Put in keywords that specifically describe your expertise. Instead of “IT specialist,” make sure you mention the coding languages you work with, the tasks in which you specialize, the size of company you work with (businesses with 50+ employees), etc.  

Next...
When someone actually lands on your page or profile, is it immediately obvious what you do or know?

I can’t tell you how many times when looking for an expert, I got to someone’s website or social media profile and found either way too much stuff or not enough. And confusion meant hitting the back button and finding someone else.

Use what we call a lede line in news — a pitch to woo the reader or viewer. Your lede line should capture your expertise or your business in ONE SENTENCE.

Remember, I’m giving your business upwards of 10 seconds to get me hooked. If you don’t hook me, I’m moving on. It’s exactly the same thing with clients, employers or dates. Give me a reason to stay.

So let’s say you’re a content marketer. No, you’re not. You are “Saving the World from Bad Content.” Kudos, Aaron Orendorff, that’s exactly what I’m talking about.

How about a graphic designer? Too boring. Try “Digital Craftsman on Permanent Workaholiday.” In five words, Alex Trochut told me he takes pride in his work and his work is NOT work. That’s a guy I want to hire and get to know.

Simplicity is not easy. It requires taking the time and effort to get to your essence. Once you dig deep enough and discover the thing that makes you YOU, you’ll have a strong foundation for personal and professional branding that will make you memorable and in demand.

Finally…
How knowledgeable are you, really? Can you explain what you do or who you are in a clear, relatable way? Or do you ramble or go off-topic or rush to talk over me?

Here’s what I mean: As a journalist, I needed someone who could take something complicated or unusual and break it down for me and the viewer in easy-to-digest statements or soundbites. Because the moment they said something that made me say, “huh?” they lost me.

If it sounds like doing this well requires practice, you’re absolutely right. But the payoffs are huge. There are millions of chefs in the world, but Rachael Ray makes you feel like she’s teaching her bestie how to cook something easy and delicious. Most physicists speak another language when discussing what they do, but Neil deGrasse Tyson was crowned “America's It Nerd” by NPR for his ability to simplify something as complex as space and make it fun to boot.

When you talk about what you do, are you enthusiastic? Are you able to explain it in an easy, engaging way? Can you get me interested in your personal passions? If you can do this, you’ll ace every sales call, interview and date that comes your way. It’s a rare quality and highly valued.

Apply these three principles to your personal or professional presentation and you’ll see many more opportunities come your way. Potential clients or employers don't want to have to hunt you down. Make it easy on them.

At the very least, you’ll make the experience enjoyable and memorable for the other person...leaving the door open for more.

Diana Alvear was a correspondent for ABC and NBC News, appearing daily on The Today Show. Now she juggles being a mom with branding and marketing consulting, and writing her friends’ personal dating profiles (because...LOVE!). If you want to get to know her or work with her, visit her HERE and send her a message. Please include pics of your very cute pets.  

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