Well… the dictionary says this:
a person who has a comprehensive and authoritative knowledge of or skill in a particular area.
“experts in child development”
But others think that you need to have gone to school for years and years or that you need some long string of abbreviations following your name.
The truth is that you could become an expert in anything that you want to, and if you are reading this right now, then you are most likely an expert in Taekwon-Do!
You don’t have to be perfect at something to be an expert. Just look at the definition above.
You’ve probably been training for at least 5-10 years (most likely more)… and teaching for a good part of that. I’ve been training for 30 years now and teaching for the last 16. That’s longer then all the school I ever attended (grade school, high school and college)!
So it should be clear to you at this point that you are an expert.
However, the real question is…
Is it clear to your students, your family and your community that you are the expert?
When there’s a local news story about bullying, assaults or rapes happening in your area, the local news wants and needs experts to interview to provide important information to their viewers. Are you that expert in your town?
When someone wants to start, or thinks of starting martial arts training, what or who is the first thing they think of? Is it google? Is it the school down the street? Or is it YOU?
Becoming the expert is more than just being one, it also involves letting the world know that YOU are the one!
Many instructors are very humble and are not out to make themselves a celebrity, however that is the exact reason why they should be well known and examples in the community!
Your visibility matters. Parents want their children looking up to you, looking up to someone who is committed to courtesy, integrity, perseverance, self-control and indomitable spirit.
They’ll either be looking up to you or they wind up looking up to the Kardashians and Honey Boo Boo. You choose.
So how do you go about doing this?
The first thing you should do is to create a blog. If you know nothing about that, don’t worry! You can go to www.wordpress.com and set up your own blog absolutely free. You can customize it, design it and add what you want.
The point of the blog is for you to start creating content. Write something short at least once a month (once a week if possible) about Taekwon-Do, about what parents are dealing with, about personal fitness, flexibility, ANYTHING! Even if you don’t like to write, or think you don’t have much to say, you can post other people’s articles. You must get their permission and make sure that you are clear that they are the author and link back to their site where the article originated. No plagiarism! Most articles will have the author’s contact information at the end of the article.
Next, you need to start sending out press releases to your local newspapers and local news stations every time you have an event, when your students win competitions and anything else you can think of that is notable. You can go online and find the email addresses of the producers or editors who receive press releases.
They may run your story, or they may not, but if you are the one putting the information out there, you will be the one they think of and the one they turn to when they have a story about self-defense or martial arts.
Fostering those relationships will get you some amazing exposure.
Another thing you can do is write a book. I know that may sound crazy to some of you, but there are programs out there what will teach you to write a book and get it published in as little as 90 days!
Whether people realize it or not, if they see someone’s name on the side of a book they subconsciously see that person as an expert in whatever field that book covers.
These are just a few ideas for getting yourself out there and when you start thinking about it, I bet you can find many others that may be unique to your area that you can do. Other ideas I’ve seen are recognition from government officials (mayors, governors, etc.) and becoming a contributor for local magazines and publications that your target market reads.
Oh! And I almost forgot about SOCIAL MEDIA!
This is critical because hardly anyone goes to the phone book anymore to look for people or businesses. How do they do it? They google it!
Search engines can find almost anything and most prospective students have already done an internet search for your school and YOU as well. They can find out massive amounts of information just by typing your name, or the name of your school into a search engine.
They’ll get all your social media pages, find reviews and much more.
If I were to visit your facebook page, does it convey that you are an expert in Taekwon-Do? Does your school or club have a facebook page? Website? Twitter account? Instagram? Pintrest? Linkedin?
Before you say that you don’t have time for all that, know that even just setting up a profile and posting something once or twice a week in a few of those will get your name out there and help you and your school to show up higher in search results.
I recently googled “johnny karstadt” and happily discovered that the first two pages are almost entirely things that I’ve created to manage my online presence.
I even found a site I don’t remember creating a profile with called stik.com in August of 2011. I’ve done nothing with this site and have been getting great reviews there as recently as February! I’m glad I discovered this because some of the information was out of date, but now I can start taking advantage if the great reviews I’ve been getting! (www.stik.com/jkarstadt)
All of these tips are here for you to help you to, first, get your head straight about the expert you are, and second, help you get the word out about yourself and the amazing resource that you are for your community!
Finally there will be those who say that all that activity doesn’t produce immediate results, it doesn’t pay the bills.
Well, indirectly it does. Someone may not jump in their car and run to your school because they saw you on television, stumbled across something you tweeted or liked an article your wrote.
But when then they are thinking about training for themselves or their family, or are in a conversation with someone who is, you’ll be the first one that comes to mind. Then when they search for you and see pages of search results and great reviews about you and your school, they won’t be walking in wondering if you are the right school for them, they’ll walk in ready to sign up.
That’s enough to get you started and you can expand on it from there!
Let yourself know, and let the world know who you are and the difference you are here to make!
About the Author:
Mr. Karstadt is the founder of 1 TKD Consulting and owns the longest running ITF Taekwon-Do school in Arizona, Karstadt Taekwon-Do in Phoenix, AZ with his father Master David Karstadt. He has been training since 1984, earned his Black Belt at the age of 8 and is currently an internationally renown intstructor teaching the culture, discipline, leadership and business skills of Taekwon-Do in classes and seminars to Instructors around the world. He has been a member of eight U.S. Taekwon-Do Teams and has traveled to 14 different countries competing in Taekwon-Do. He has won numerous medals at the World Championships and in international competition, most notably winning the 2004 World Championships in South Korea with two gold medals and the Men’s Team All Around Trophy. Mr. Karstadt currently resides in uptown Phoenix, Arizona with his wife and three children. Mr. Karstadt can be contacted by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org