How to Become the ‘Go-To’ Person
in Your Community for Comments, Insights
By Deb Legge, PhD, CRC, LMHC
Don’t miss the chance to put your expertise to work for you and for your community. There are times when television stations, radio stations, local and regional newspapers,
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local magazines, schools, churches, and other places that provide information to the people of your community need you!
Let’s say one area of your expertise is “bullying.” Clearly you would have a lot to offer your community when it has questions or concerns about something related to bullying. You can become your community’s “go-to” person by following these six steps.
- Write up a bio that lets readers and reporters know why you are the one to call when it comes to your area of expertise (remember to write it from the perspective of how you can benefit them. Include a professional photo when possible.)
- Identify the key people for the local media, police, schools, newspapers, magazines, churches, etc. Find out who is in charge of securing expert opinions and information to support news stories; who is in charge of finding experts in cases of emergency or community concern.
- Send a cover letter with your bio expressing interest in helping out when you are needed.
- Follow up with a phone call to ask how you can best help.
- Be available! Since many of these opportunities are last-minute (in response to a big news story or crisis), your ability to rush to the station for an interview or make yourself available for a video interview in your office right away is as important as what you know.
- Be inquisitive and creative. When it comes to local newspapers, journals, blogs, and magazines, you’ll want to talk to the managing editor to find out how you might best serve given your area of expertise. Do they need a “mental health column”? Would their readers benefit from a Q & A feature about issues you are able to address? Ask what they need, but be prepared to give them some ideas of what you have to offer as well.
Becoming the “go-to” person in your community will make your referrals skyrocket. Your credibility and trust will increase with each interview or story you do.
There may come a time in your career when you are so busy you’ll have to let go of this work; until then, use these opportunities to let the community know: Why you—why now?