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April 28, 2023

How to Become an Expert Source For the Media

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.

Do you have a skill, talent, or area of expertise that you would like to share with the world? Would you like to be called on by journalists, podcast hosts, authors, and event organizers to offer your take on various subjects that are near and dear to your heart?

Remember the adage “Those who can, do. Those who can’t teach.”? What if we turned that statement on its head to realize that if you can teach something, then you know how to do it? Once your work is out there in the world in a broader way, you are establishing yourself as an authority.

The first step is to make a list of your interests and skill sets, even if you haven’t done them professionally. One example is gardening or landscaping. If you spend hours a day cultivating your land, you can teach others how to do it. Another example is that you learned how to balance/juggle raising a child and running a home-based business and can help other intrepid entrepreneur parents to do the same.

The next list to make is of publications, websites and podcasts that speak to an audience that you want to reach. Listen to the shows, peruse the websites, and read some of the articles to get to know what they are looking for.

Create a pitch letter that touts your talents. Be shamelessly self-promoting! We’re taught to be humble and not blow our own horns. If you have a gift to offer the world, what good does it do if no one knows about it? Share your resume, bio and/or One Sheet that includes what you have done thus far, that would be of interest to the person who could interview you and to their audience.

Each time you are quoted, share the article, podcast, book with your circles via email and social media. Write articles as well, for publications and websites, such as Elephant Journal, of course, that are in alignment with your interests and skills. You will accumulate quite a list after a while and chances are, someone will see it who could offer you even more opportunities. (I was hired for a well-paying, albeit, short term job, as part of an editorial team for a company because my eventual supervisor read some of my articles on various websites).

If you have a TEDx talk under your belt, that is an ideal entre’ into the world of being a source to speak about your topic. It is a wonderful ‘business card.’

In case you feel nervous about being a source and Imposter Syndrome kicks in, remind yourself of what you have already accomplished. Google your name and see what comes up. The longer you do this, the more times your name will pop up. Be willing to be amazed…wow, that person is really busy!

If you are not a comfortable public speaker, practice, practice, practice. Work with a coach who can help you polish your presentation. Check out Toastmasters, that teaches public speaking in a supportive environment. I went to a meeting several years ago, since, although I am a comfortable public speaker who loves being center stage, I wanted to see what all the hullabaloo was about. These people knew how to have fun in the spotlight. It was ‘backward day,’ and some of the participants had their clothes on backward and the agenda went in reverse order.

Unless you are a medical professional, don’t make medical claims. As a therapist, I make it clear that I don’t prescribe medication or dispense medical advice. I speak about my own professional experience and what I have read on various mental health related topics.

Sometimes interviewers will want a phone or Zoom interview. Sometimes they will send you questions that you can answer on your own. Be courteous and do a quick turnaround if they send questions, since they operate on a deadline. If they do voice interviews, some will want you to simply answer their questions and some will want a conversation. Don’t be surprised that a 20–30-minute interview may only yield a few lines or paragraphs. Some may want a photo, bio, and URL from you, so it is a good idea to have a professional head shot. Also, polish your bio so that it riffs out like a brief elevator speech about what you do.

Ideas and Resources

https://insight.ieeeusa.org/articles/got-expertise-become-an-expert-source/

https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/10-ways-reliable-source-journalists-rolli/

HARO https://www.helpareporter.com/about/  This is a good source for people to pitch journalists.

Need A Guest FB page https://www.facebook.com/groups/264636544981623 This is a page where podcast hosts and podcast guests post for opportunities.

Writers Helping Writers FB page https://www.facebook.com/groups/27659251025

Wellness Writers, Editors and Experts https://www.facebook.com/groups/2276301335739285

Binders Full of Writing Jobs https://www.facebook.com/groups/1983851761839133

This group is for women and gender non-conforming writers of all backgrounds to share freelance, remote, part-time, and full-time PAID opportunities for fellow writers/editors.  

As you build your portfolio of quotes and articles that you have written, you will build credibility. The world awaits your wisdom!

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