How would you feel if every time there was an emerging food trend, change in the law, or something new happening in the food industry, journalists CAME TO YOU for a quote because you’re the go-to expert?
You’d be pretty happy, right? So how do you become this amazing go-to expert for anything fabulously foodie? It’s all about raising your profile in the right places with the right people, so get your teeth stuck into these suggestions to get you started…
Building your reputation as the go-to expert
Getting your name out there as the go-to expert brings loads of benefits for you and your brand. In the example above, it’s a win, win situation for both parties. For you, it’s an easy way to get PR without having to lift a finger, whereas the journalist can jump on a trending food topic and quickly create a story backed up with quotes from a credible industry expert.
But wait, there is loads more good stuff to be had!
It’s not just journalists who will notice you. The more you do, the more benefits will roll in such as:
* You’ll continually gain credibility each time you’re featured
* You create deep relationships with the media as a well-known trusted source
* You’ll be seen as a successful example of a small brand done well
* Your name will be referred to others in the food industry and media
* You’ll gather a tribe of followers that you can convert into customers
Who wouldn’t want a piece of that delicious pie?
If you fancy a slice, now’s the time to slip out of your invisibility cloak and started tarting your knowledge and expertise to the masses. (Yes I said tarting!)
You can do this in lots of different ways, and some things, in particular, will give you a big bang for your buck when it comes to investing time and energy in enhancing your go-to expert status.
* Write regular blog posts *
Include a mix of:
* Content marketing (answering your customers most FAQ for example)
* Behind the scenes of what’s going on in your brand
* Interesting industry news – things that affect business owner
* Case studies
* Food trends that your audience are interested in – low sugar, high protein, food waste etc.
Write both short pieces and long reads to show that you can, and make sure they’re easily scannable by chunking your content into short paragraphs and headings (kinda like this post! 😉 )
* Share your posts on email *
Never send out an email just because you think you should or because it’s been ages since your last one. Make sure there’s something really juicy in there that your list will find interesting / helpful / surprising / amusing / useful. You don’t have to include loads of things to read – one engaging blog post story is enough. You never know who has signed up for emails other than your customers…
* Stick it on social *
You can use the same content on your social media platforms but make sure you add an engaging spin to it. For example, is there a question you can add to encourage responses? The popular thought is that social media should be a mix of roughly 80% helpful and entertaining stuff, and 20% selling of your product or services, so send out interesting posts that your followers will want to interact with and share with others.
* Post your content elsewhere *
Places like LinkedIn, Pulse, Medium and Huffington Post are all great platforms for sharing your thoughts with other industry people. They all have links for the posts to be shared in various social ways, making it easy for complete strangers to leave comments and share it with their audiences.
* Be a guest blogger *
My blog is packed full of posts from guest bloggers, sharing their knowledge to help start-up foodies in my Big Cheese Expertise section. Offer to write posts on other relevant websites to show off your knowledge.
You may find publications that are business focused are a good choice as it’s more likely to be read by other thought leaders in the food and drink industry. It also creates juicy SEO links back to your own website, which keeps the Google Gods happy. Huffington Post is also a great platform for sharing your content as the article doesn’t need to be original, as long as you leave a link to where the piece was first published.
* Pop up on a podcast *
If writing isn’t your natural thing but chatting is, pitch yourself as a podcast guest. There are lots of them out there that are focused on topics like food, start-ups, small businesses and entrepreneurs.
* Offer your speaking services for free (at first) *
Still raring to talk to bigger audiences? Local, regional, national and international events of all sizes always need guest speakers to cover a wide range of topics. Look for those kinds of opportunities with themes similar to the podcasts as a starter. Once you’ve done a few, you might start getting invites from the people running conferences that recognise you as a go-to expert in running a small business or, as someone knowledgeable about the food industry.
*** BONUS! ***
If public speaking makes you jump up and down with excitement, check out this great post from Famous in Your Field ’21 Ways to Find Speaking Opportunities.’
* Multi-tasking mayhem *
If the thought of talking and cooking doesn’t faze you, do a food demo. These might be in your local community or at a big trade or consumer food show. I booked my PR client Hedi Pavelcova from hedihearts.com into the Love Natural, Love You show kitchen, to demo her gorgeous clean eating granola recipe while answering questions from the audience.
* Ask people to say nice things about you *
Investing your time doing any of these things gives you the opportunity to ask for a testimonial from the people you were working with. If they say good stuff about you, share it so that others see it and know you’re up for more public speaking opportunities. You can also add testimonials to your website (on your blog or press page if you have one) and of course, get recommendations on LinkedIn.
* Use some spare cash *
Sponsor events where your brand is a good fit, whether this is your local Race for Life or an industry show or event. Throw in the offer of being a food and drink consultant or speaker on the day too. Expose yourself and your brand to new crowds of people, both in the build-up and at the event itself.
* Run a ‘borrow my brain’ session *
Start-up foodies continue to dip their toe into the market and often need plenty of guidance, so sharing your journey and experience as a free resource encourages others to see you as a go-to expert. For those of you not afraid of a little bit of tech, a free webinar is a great way to virtually introduce yourself to lots of people, and you never know which influencers might be watching you!
* Get yourself published *
It’s never been easier to whip up an e-book and offer it as a freebie, so decide what would be most useful in showing off your go-to expert credentials: is it showing off your brilliance for creating recipes? Being a mentor and sharing useful tips for start-ups? Figure out your strengths and what you want to be seen as an expert in, before creating your content.
* Be a networking ninja *
There are so many ways to meet and help people these days that you don’t need to spend hours after work, standing around with strangers, eating nibbles for your dinner. Invest your time selectively so that people see you around and start to recognise your name.
There are loads of foodie Facebook and LinkedIn groups you can nip in and out of when you have 5 minutes. Look at networking events as they pop up and see which ones genuinely interest you and are worth a couple of hours of your time. Visit trade and consumer shows for a couple of hours to chat with people if it fits in with your schedule.
* Be that nice guy/gal people are always talking about *
People are always asking questions about running food businesses, so don’t be shy about offering your opinion if you can help. Sharing your expertise freely with others builds a know – like – trust relationship which will repay itself in the future. If you don’t know the answer but know someone who does, refer others as your generosity will be reciprocated at another time down the line.
* Final food for thought *
There are so many things you can do to become a go-to expert in the food industry, and these suggestions should give you a great starting point to build your credibility. Whether it’s speaking or writing, find your niche, start sharing your knowledge and build those useful relationships!