Thought leadership is a fantastic way to build credibility for an individual and a business. While it might sound like another PR buzzword, it essentially means becoming an influencer in your field and it is a key part of many PR strategies.
The value of being a thought leader
The main goal of thought leadership is to become recognised as an expert and used as a go-to resource. Think Martin Lewis, who has become synonymous with financial advice and is trusted by millions across the UK.
By becoming a thought leader in your industry, you are able to build credibility for your business and develop trust amongs your target audience. Over time this can help drive more people back to the company.
But this doesn’t (and can't) happen overnight.
Thought leadership in PR
You can have a number of thought leaders within one company, who can all offer their own unique insight on a topic. From your CEO to the Head of Data, many people have a wealth of knowledge that can contribute to the industry conversations going on outside the four walls of the company.
When we first start working with a client, we love to have a coffee with the company's key figures to learn about their experience and interests. This is a great way to establish who can become your company thought leaders.
We can then take this insight and explore the wider industry conversations, identifying areas where we feel our thought leaders can really add value.
The most successful thought leaders are ones who understand their audience's motivations and pain points and provide authentic, insightful advice that moves a conversation on. There is nothing worse than someone simply sitting on the fence.
Once you have your talking points and thought leaders agreed, you’re ready to start building their profile!
You can do this through number of avenues:
When there is a big piece of breaking news within an industry, many media outlets are looking for reactions from people within the space and also for advice on what this news means for the general public. For example, when all the offices were told to close because of Coronavirus, many journalists were looking for reactions from business leaders on what this meant for their business and teams.
This type of thought leadership can take the form of short snappy written comments or even interviews on television and radio, but it is competitive, so it’s important you are quick off the mark and demonstrate a strong opinion to get real cut through.
2. Trade opinion piece
A proactive way to position yourself as a thought leader is through in-depth opinion pieces on recent trends within your industry. Many trade outlets are on the lookout for long form advice pieces that can help break down a topic for their readers while providing genuine insight. This allows you to demonstrate your knowledge on a subject and position yourself and your business as a leader within the space.
3. Social media
Social media can be used in a couple of ways to establish yourself as a thought leader. If you’ve been featured in a national newspaper or trade magazine offering your opinion or insight on a topic - then share it! Social media is a great way to leverage PR campaigns and coverage wins, since you’ll be signposting your content to your followers, who might not have otherwise seen it.
Some of the best examples of this are:
An autistic and ADHD activist and content creator.
Co-Founder of Bolt.
Authenticity is the key to thought leadership
The most important thing to remember is to be authentic, both of these platforms are crowded and in order to stand out, your posts need to offer genuine insight and can’t just be another way to share company updates.
If you’d like to learn more about how we can help position you and your brand as a thought leader, get in touch with us at firstname.lastname@example.org.