I know a lot about my industry but am not known as an "expert." In fact, I suspect I know a lot more than most people who are considered the experts. What can I do to increase my exposure and image?
First, there is a big difference between being an expert and being recognized by others as an expert. Many "innovative" business processes attributed to management practitioners are variations on processes that were already developed and widely used in another forum. Good marketing may not always substitute for innovation and expertise, but you will eventually need to create ideas, information and processes in a new way to be recognized as more than just a practitioner.
Second, given that you have something new and valuable to offer, how do you get for yourself the maximum exposure in your industry? One suggestion is to get the implicit endorsement of your industry trade association by speaking about the state of your industry at annual or regional conferences. Associations are always looking for speakers and if you approach them well before the conference solicitation for speakers is issued, you will have an opportunity to frame a topic to your particular expertise.
Identify several trade or professional associations related to your area of expertise. There are several disciplines that could be directly or indirectly related, just as there are primary and secondary industry associations or business groups. With this list (there may be 10-20 on the list), prepare a white paper on trends in your area of expertise/discipline/industry and identify how these will affect each group on your list. Tip:
Find out when each organization has upcoming conferences and contact them to offer your services as speaker. Manage this so you leverage speaking at one conference with others, indicating that you are scheduled to speak to associations A and B, and you think members of trade group C would benefit from the same information. At the same time, offer to author an article (also desired by associations) related to your white paper or to conduct a member survey. If you are allowed to do these, you can add the data and feedback from the association's members to your portfolio of "expert" content.
Based on this investment in your own education as well as visibility, you will create credibility not only to the association but also to its members. You increasingly become and are seen as an expert.
P.S.Contact associations well before they issue a call for speakers so you can make sure your focus is included in the list of aceptable topics. © 2011 Institute of Management Consultants USA