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The five key attributes of the perfect expert

We’ve all seen and heard those ubiquitous media experts. When there’s a news story or issue around their area of expertise they’re inevitably interviewed or quoted.

What makes them so attractive to the media? What knowledge do they have that others don’t?

Here’s five key attributes of a “go-to” expert

  1. They’re good talent. This means having an opinion, showing some personality and knowing the media’s target audience.
  2. They are available. It’s claimed Woody Allen once said “Eighty percent of success is showing up” and while this might be a slight exaggeration in terms of an expert, there’s a lot to be said about being flexible and willing to make some compromises to fit in with media demands.
  3. They know their stuff and stay up to date. This means being across the news, particularly in their field of expertise. They read industry websites and publications and network with the other leaders in their specialty area.
  4. They seek feedback and reflect on their performance. Accepting that a media interview is essentially a performance is a vital and sometimes overlooked part of becoming an established expert. Seeking feedback and taking on media training, if needed, is an essential part of the journey.
  5. They form and nurture relationships with their target media. Staying in touch with producers, journalists and reporters is key to maintaining regular media appearances. This might mean dropping a story to a source before it becomes widely known and forming a connection through social media and LinkedIn.

Becoming a recognised expert in your field is not an exact science. The media falls out of love with those ubiquitous experts very quickly, often when they become over-exposed or in some cases purely because they want a change.  When that happens, another expert will just as quickly fill the void. Will you be ready to take on that role?

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