Thought leadership plays a crucial role in PR by positioning entrepreneurs as authoritative voices within their industries. It involves leveraging expertise, experience, and unique insights to provide valuable knowledge and guidance to others. By sharing their expertise, entrepreneurs can establish themselves as trusted advisors, gain credibility, and attract attention from potential customers, partners, and the media. Thought leadership allows you to showcase your innovative ideas and demonstrate your ability to drive industry trends and shape conversations.
We asked our PR & growth experts to share their insights, tactics, and strategies for thought leadership. Here is their advice on the following questions: What is the role of thought leadership in PR and how does it benefit the business entrepreneurs are building? How to get started with thought leadership, what channels to choose, what is a good strategy?
PR expert Paige Arnof-Fenn, Founder & CEO at Mavens & Moguls, says: "Thought leadership includes activities like hosting webinars/podcasts/speaking at a online/offline conferences/writing articles/building your following on social media to increase your awareness with potential customers/building your credibility.
When your articles/talks become available online send them out via social media to friends/followers/contacts. Don’t let social media drive you crazy, it does not matter which platform you choose just pick one or 2 that are authentic to you.
It should look/sound like you and the brand you have built. Whether yours is polished or more informal, chatty or academic, humorous or snarky, it is a way for your personality to come through.
For professional service firms like mine LinkedIn is a priority. If your customers are not looking for you on Facebook/Twitter /Instagram then find the platforms where you can stand out. Influencers by definition have followers who seek their advice to make decisions on what to buy, etc. and they watch and listen to them when recommendations are made.
Many people call themselves Influencers but I think of a Thought Leader as a true expert in their niche, informed opinion leaders and trusted sources based on their knowledge and reputation not the number of people who follow them online. An entrepreneur manages, inspires and leads a team while to be a thought leader, you have to make an impact in your field, and engage with others, encouraging them to learn from your experience."
Kent Lewis, CMO at Deksia, emphasizes: "The benefits of Thought Leadership as a PR strategy for entrepreneurs is vast and impactful. I've built 6 organizations through thought leadership strategies and helped numerous agencies and clients develop their own programs since 1995.
In my writings, teachings and consulting on the subject of thought leadership, I tend to focus on three primary areas: public speaking as a subject matter expert, authoring and syndicating articles to industry publications and pitching reporters and editors as a subject matter expert. All three legs of the stool work independently and together for optimal impact, depending on an individuals strengths, preferences, goals and resources.
For example, I enjoy speaking and often turn my presentations into articles (or vice versa). I also respond to reporters on a variety of topics with my thoughts (often referencing related presentations, articles and past coverage)."
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Trenice Brinkley, Chief Communications Officer and Publicist at Two Queens Media, encourages founders: "As PR and growth experts, entrepreneurs need to understand that thought leadership plays a pivotal role in establishing your business as an authority in your industry. Sharing your unique insights, experiences and knowledge can help you gain the trust of your target audience and stand out from your competitors, you want to definitely focus on leading to increased brand recognition, improved reputation, and ultimately driving business growth.
To get started with thought leadership by identifying your area of expertise or niche focus and create relevant, informative, and engaging content to distribute through channels like social media, blogs, podcasts, or webinars. Being consistent and producing quality content creation is key to an effective thought leadership strategy, along with engaging with your audience and other thought leaders in your industry.
Simon Sinek is a great example of thought leadership through his famous TED Talk "Start with Why", where he helps businesses develop their own "why" statements.
Additionally, thought leadership can be beneficial to your business in attracting new customers, retaining existing ones, and even commanding higher prices for your products or services. It can also open up new opportunities for collaboration, partnerships, and media exposure, ultimately positioning your business as a leader and innovator in your field, driving growth and success."
To get started, explore the effective strategies that you can adopt to enhance your thought leadership and leverage PR to your advantage.
1. Identify Your Thought Leadership Niche: To begin your thought leadership journey, it's important to identify your niche within your industry. Determine the specific area in which you possess expertise and can offer valuable insights. This will help you focus your efforts and establish yourself as an authority in that particular domain.
2. Develop a Content Strategy: A well-defined content strategy is crucial for thought leadership success. Create a plan that outlines the topics, formats, and channels you will utilize to share your insights. This could include writing articles, publishing white papers, hosting webinars, or participating in speaking engagements. Consistency and quality should be the pillars of your content creation approach.
3. Leverage Social Media: Social media platforms offer an excellent opportunity to amplify your thought leadership. Identify the platforms where your target audience is most active and establish a strong presence there. Engage with your audience by sharing valuable content, participating in discussions, and responding to comments. Cultivate a community of followers who trust your expertise and rely on you for valuable insights.
4. Collaborate with Influencers and Peers: Collaboration with other thought leaders and influencers can significantly enhance your thought leadership efforts. Seek opportunities to engage in joint projects, contribute to industry publications, or participate in panel discussions. Partnering with like-minded individuals not only expands your reach but also validates your expertise through association.
5. Engage in Speaking Engagements: Public speaking engagements are powerful platforms for establishing thought leadership. Seek opportunities to speak at industry conferences, seminars, or webinars. Prepare compelling presentations that showcase your expertise and provide actionable insights to the audience. Speaking engagements can help you gain visibility, build connections, and position yourself as an industry expert.
6. Embrace Thought Leadership PR: Integrate thought leadership into your overall PR strategy. Craft press releases, media pitches, and contributed articles that highlight your expertise and offer unique perspectives on industry trends. Engage with journalists and reporters, providing them with valuable insights and positioning yourself as a go-to source for expert commentary.
7. Measure and Adapt: Regularly assess the impact of your thought leadership efforts. Monitor metrics such as engagement, reach, and conversions to understand the effectiveness of your strategies. Use the insights gained to refine your approach and adapt your content strategy accordingly.
Ultimately, thought leadership enhances a company's reputation by spotlighting the people behind the company-the founders, the CEO, and other team players-and positioning them as experts in their respective fields.
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