Start by ensuring that your message is relevant and differentiated. What specific areas of your expertise do people consistently draw on? How is your approach or philosophy different from that of your closest competitors? Once you’ve refined your unique positioning, boil the value proposition down into a succinct elevator pitch. If you can’t explain the “brand of you” in ten seconds, your message isn’t strong enough.
Now that you have your positioning solidified, start building your platform. Platform refers to your ability to reach and resonate with people. Just like a physical platform, it serves to elevate. In this sense, it’s elevating you and your message over the clutter.
Building your platform requires content, and here’s the key to strong platform messaging: Don’t lose your content! You need every bit of it to redistribute and heighten your platform. Keep a record of your newsletter tips, blog posts, radio and TV interviews, lecture recordings, etcetera. Devise your own system to tag your content by subject area to come up with a messaging matrix for easy syndication.
Once you have your content arsenal ready to go, there are a number of ways to get the most use out of it. A few suggestions:
• Write a book. Writing a book makes you instantly credible. There are publishing options available to meet every author’s goals, but do your homework to make sure you’re not publishing under a model that could hurt your reputation.
• Syndicate. Take pieces of content from your book, newsletters, blogs, etc and get them out there. Offer to post regular content for relevant newsletters and websites. Submit articles to article directories and as news releases. Get your video clips on YouTube. Post your most helpful content as responses to questions on professional social networking sites like LinkedIn. All of it helps to build your authority.
• Speak. Research speaking engagements inside and outside of your industry where your message might resonate. If you’re new to speaking, start by offering to moderate panels at local conferences. You’ll soon graduate to breakout sessions, and if you’re good, you’ll eventually land lucrative keynote addresses that generate tons of word of mouth.
• Brag. If you’ve been featured in national print, your website should mention it (“As featured in…”). Same goes for awards, TV and radio interviews and high-profile speaking engagements. Also be sure to share the good news with your client base and incorporate it into your sales collateral.
Establishing your authority as an expert may seem like a daunting task, but bear in mind that the explosion of media channels means more talking heads are needed to fill programming and content needs. Strategize on the front end to be sure you’re filling an unmet or under-met need. Then, put a team in place to help you execute the bullet points above. In a perfect world, you’ll be too busy juggling demands for your expertise to deal with those things. Finally, maintain your platform. Strive to stay ahead of the curve and remain the enduring thought leader in your space. It’s hard work, but the benefits are priceless.
About Clint Greenleaf
Clint Greenleaf is the founder and CEO of Greenleaf Book Group (http://www.greenleafbookgroup.com ). GBG, an Inc 500 Company, is a leading publisher and distributor with several NY Times and Wall Street Journal bestsellers. Clint (a CPA) sits on the University of Texas Libraries Board, blogs for Inc.com, and has been featured in the Wall Street Journal, Inc magazine, Fox News, MSBNC, and Entrepreneur. Clint speaks about publishing and entrepreneurship across the country at conferences, seminars and schools.