Developing a voice in your industry
Developing your voice is the process of forming, expressing and promoting your own ideas and opinions; and it’s essential to building a public profile in your industry. Here’s where to begin.
How many times have you read or heard something and thought, “I was only thinking that myself the other day.” Zeitgeist counts when it comes to building a public profile. If you don’t carve some public profile space in your industry using your insights, someone else soon will.
So, how can you find your voice and ensure it’s being heard?
Find your voice
Start by identifying subjects or issues you feel strongly about that are related to your industry. My article “How to get your expert opinions flowing” provides some questions to help you develop your own ideas. Go through these questions and note the ones you answer most easily. These are the ones to work with. Brainstorm whatever comes to mind and write your answers to a few questions. Focus on the one that ‘positions’ you and your business best; that is, the opinion that establishes you as an authority in your industry. When you speak with authority and originality on a subject at the heart of your work, you’re positioning yourself as an expert.
Once you’ve chosen the best angle, it’s time to develop the concept and use it to market yourself and your business.
"When you speak with authority and originality on a subject at the heart of your work, you’re positioning yourself as an expert."
Write your voice
Now you have your opinion, it’s time to write it down in the form of an email newsletter, blog post, or perhaps an article for an industry website. An 800-word article is room enough to explore your ideas and short enough to keep people’s attention. It’s enough space to set up the context for your opinion, introduce your ideas and then argue them.
Want more articles like this? Check out the Public relations, PR section.
Get it down in black and white while it’s still fresh and exciting for you. A good tip is to write in short bursts. It might take a week or so – perhaps three sessions of one or two hours – before it feels right. When you think it’s compelling and ready to share, take it for a test drive. Ask three trusted people what they think. And remember, they don’t have to agree with you, they just have to find it thought provoking.
Share your voice
So, the test drive went well and everyone loved what you wrote. You’re excited about getting it out there. It’s time to share your article further. Pop it on letterhead and get it looking good on the page. Email it to clients, referrers and prospects. Submit it to the editor of that industry website you had your eye on. Load the article on your website, then share it on social media. Let people know you have something to say. Give them something to say about you.
Your voice travelling further
Thinking and writing like this once a month is a powerful way to build a public profile. Continuously coming up with ideas and commentary helps to establish you as an industry expert. If you have a direct line to other industry or business media and you feel your ideas could have wide implications, ensure your journalist and other contacts know you have something to say. Or if you’ve wanted to present at an industry event, but were never sure what you would talk about, now you have what you need.
The benefits of thinking, writing and developing your voice in your industry for business are almost as endless as the number of possible ideas. I encourage all business owners and consultants who want a public profile to step up and find their voice.
What are your tips for developing a voice in your industry and becoming an industry expert?