The inside track

Expert? Who, me?

Expert in heehaw. Or at least that’s what my instant reaction was when introduced recently at a client’s board meeting as a “media expert”.

S’funny being called an expert, and brings the self-effacing Scot in me rushing right up to the surface, but expertise is all relative, innit? Compared to the good people around the table at that board meeting, I am a media expert. But compared to, say, Kirsty Wark, I am merely an adolescent apprentice.

Talking of apprenticeships, it’s just less than a year since I set off on my adventure in small business, but in those few short months I have been called an “expert” several times. It’s very flattering and I kinda appreciate the status inferred, but it makes me feel like a bit of a fraud. The way I work is far from fraudulent, but you know what I mean, being garlanded with such effusive epithets makes me come over all “who, me?”.

But I’m getting a whole lot better at accepting the accolade. It’s been a welcome, albeit slowly dawning, realisation that in my particular field of self employment, indeed I am an “expert”. I have 15 years under my belt as a BBC radio producer after all, that must make me kinda expert, eh?

I don’t know if I was the best radio producer ever to roam the corridors, cubicles and studios of Auntie, but I certainly wasn’t the worst. I do know my ISDNs from my LUCI Live. I know about headphones, microphones, sourcing stories, finding angles, interview techniques, research, script writing, editing and managing the talent. And I’ve spent enough time over the years with colleagues from the press to have a pretty good insight into their branch of the business. I am a media expert, dammit!

But it was a chance conversation that cemented in for me that I possess expertise which can really help others who happen to not have that insider know-how.

Earlier this week, a fellow small business owning Scotswoman told me that her son was murdered last year. As the mother of a boy, I can’t even begin to imagine what she must be going through, and my heart and soul goes out to her. But on a practical level, I was really pleased be able to offer her a tiny amount of support thanks to my understanding of the machinations of the media.

Understandably, the media is pretty low down on this bereaved mother’s priority list, but when (and if) the time comes for this wonderful woman to tell her story, a story which might, just might, prevent anyone else going through the devastation she has, I will do my damnedest to keep her away from the sharks and in with the good guys.


PS here’s the hard sell section… For those of you who wish you could get your message out there on the airwaves or in the press, but can’t afford a PR company or some slick marketing, you’d better get your bahookies along to Word Up’s well wicked Making the Most of the Media workshop on Tuesday 26 August in Glasgow. I’ll help you understand how to get your word out there on the airwaves and in column inches, and explain why it’s well worth a wee bit of effort.