Have you ever wished you could utilize your know-how to become a speaker, a writer or an expert advisor? Professionals in every field, from teachers to nurses to financial advisors aspire to speak at local and national events, to write for magazines, author online articles, get interviews on TV, lecture at seminars or find consulting projects in industry. The idea of seeing your name in print or listed as a speaker can be exciting after years of hard work. Yet, at the same time, what if people write negative comments about you once you enter the public eye? What do you think of becoming a professional expert? Does it sound intimidating, fun or exciting?
If you want to become a well-known professional expert- you are not alone. A recurring question that I have been receiving from doctors, dentists, teachers, engineers and parents about the media: ‘I am a coach and I know I would be great on TV. What steps can I take so that I will be invited for an interview?’ Many professionals in the US and around the world have transitioned into public figures quite effectively. The fact that so many people want to become freelance professional experts is a good thing and a little bit overwhelming at the same time.
There are more tools for people without high-powered connections to establish themselves as experts than ever before- but the competition can scare some great professionals who have promising potential as freelance experts from even trying.
Here are 5 useful strategies for getting your foot in the door as a professional expert:
1. First and foremost, you must decide what you are going to talk about. What do you have to offer that is new, unique and interesting to the broad public?
2. You have to start somewhere. Whether your message is global or local, you can begin by connecting with people who already know and respect you and contributing articles for your community magazine, hospital newsletter or professional association. You can even contact local media and let them know about your interesting material.
3. Network. If you want to find an effective contact, you should reach out to writers of newspaper, magazine or online articles that are complementary to your message and view them as colleagues, not as competition.
4. Build an identity. You could consider starting a blog to attain a geographically wider reach and to be easily searchable in your area of expertise.
5. Accept both positive and negative feedback. Once you get started, you should gauge feedback to help you understand the community’s response and fine-tune your message.
You have almost nothing to lose and you can possibly gain an amazing career transition.
Heidi Moawad M.D. is author of How to Be a Freelance Expert: The steps to becoming a professional expert and Careers Beyond Clinical Medicine.