No one knows your expertise better than you. Whether it be a cause you have been passionate about since childhood, a cause that made you want to pursue a career in your industry, or something you have become involved in professionally because of a previous case or client, chances are there is an organization outside of the courtroom you are invested in. Now let the world know about your cause.
You can become an advocate for anything, but just because you know all about it, doesn’t mean everyone does, too. There are several ways to get your voice to be heard, but timing is everything when it comes to maximizing impact.
While there is no right or wrong time to start sparking interest in your chosen cause, you can really get people fired up by relating it to pop culture and recent events. This is when people are the most eager about making a difference. Remember, there is strength in numbers.
Has there been a recent string of robberies? Negligent security and personal injury lawyers can use this to urge for a change in policy and to pass laws requiring more security guards, cameras and lighting. Was there a tragic construction site accident? Workers’ compensation specialists can make a push for reformed contracts, insurance policies and support given to workers’ unions.
Take advantage of day- and month-long observances. January is National Slavery and Human Trafficking Prevention month, June is LGBT Pride month and October is National Bullying Prevention month. For education and literacy advocates, World Book Day is held every April 23. World Food Day is Oct. 16, and human rights activists are always working to raise awareness of social issues as such.
While sometimes devastating, natural occurrences such as hurricanes, floods and earthquakes are inevitable. Property damage lawyers and insurance experts will be needed to help people get back on their feet.
Now that you know you can do this, the question becomes how are you going to do this? There are a few ways:
Take a stand. Be prepared with an opinion editorial piece. A quick 150-word piece hitting the who, what, when, where, and why, add in a fact or two, and take a standpoint. There you have it, an op-ed that can be submitted to your local newspaper.
Be an expert. Reporters are always looking to supplement their articles with expert sources. Law school wasn’t easy or cheap. Let the world know you know your stuff.
Start writing. Instead of getting quoted in an article written by someone else, you can be your own author. Bylines are articles that you write yourself. Take a solid standpoint and discuss, in detail whatever your topic is. You can give advice on post-hurricane legal tips, what insurance steps to take after a car accident, or what to do if you are injured on the job. It’s another chance to show you are an expert in what you know.
Get specific: Know your trade journals. Chances are, you already know about your chosen expertise’s various publications. This is the best way to reach your desired audience. The more you can relate, the better people will respond.
Know the facts. Find something shocking. Evoke some emotion. “Every 98 seconds, an American is sexually assaulted. Every eight minutes, that person is a child. This is despicable, and the world needs to know about this problem. We need to do something about it.” Get readers to want to become involved and help put an end to this. Show people why it matters and convince them why they should care.
You’re not done yet. Now that you’ve got this great written content, you need to make sure people see it. Take advantage of social media. Whether an op-ed, byline or feature article, share your article across social media channels.
Craft a well-thought out caption. Encourage others to participate. Ask for their opinions and ideas. Instead of captioning “Bullying is becoming an epidemic. Read my opinion piece.” Try “Bullying is becoming an epidemic. Did you know how bad the problem really is? What new laws do you think we need to pass in order to put an end to it?” You want to invite people to comment to get the conversation going. If someone seems to be passionate about the topic as well, invite them to lunch or coffee and figure out how you can collaborate to spark change.
Don’t be afraid to have your voice heard. Join in on a trending topic. Use an already established hashtag to maximize visibility. This is a way to network with other people with the same mindset and goal. Consider the #MeToo movement as an example. It started with one 140 character tweet. Soon, it went viral. People all over the world were joining in about how they, too were victims of sexual assault. Celebrities, both male and female began sharing their stories, letting other victims know they are not alone and it’s ok to speak up. As more and more people began coming forward, light was shed on the ugly truth, and people across the world are coming together to make a difference.
What are you waiting for? Start brainstorming your commentary. Office chat might spark an idea. Talk with co-workers around the coffee pot, water cooler or even in the elevator. What kinds of questions do they get from clients? Collaborate. If you all specialize in different topics, ask them what they wish they knew about your expertise. Can you answer their questions? Start churning out that thought leadership and making a difference. It’s not about capitalizing, but about providing expert insight.
Julie Talenfeld is the president of BoardroomPR, an integrated marketing and PR firm based in South Florida. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.