No doubt you’ve heard the idea of thought leadership tossed in conversations with your PR team rather frequently. Yes, us PRs really do love to talk thought leadership, but there is a very important reason why we do.
Having a thought leadership platform can truly make the difference between a somewhat successful PR programme and a phenomenally successful one.
Here are three ways to start building a thought leadership programme:
A Point of View (POV) Matters. In a world where most companies’ products make the same claims such as ‘our super great product can help you do things faster and better’; me-too communication tactics are not enough to cut through the noise and get your target audience interested in your company or its products. But having a point of view about things impacting the industry space you’re in and sharing your insights in an authentic, non-biased way can help you build credibility and prominently position your brand amongst your target audiences to help it stand out. This brand awareness positively influences current customers and can attract the interest of prospects—aka the top of the sales funnel.
Show Them the Value. With more senior and c-level executives engaged in the buying process for strategic company investments, there’s more emphasis on showing the value you deliver. The best way to do this is to establish your company as a thought leader in the market. This will mean these execs may have heard of you before and are more willing to listen to your reasons for working together. When you can show your customers you understand the industry and the challenges they face as well as how your solution can address their needs, you will find them to be more open and willing to work with your company and invest in your solutions and services.
It Opens the Door to Strong Relationships with Important Influencers. Today’s media are savvy, short on time and more interested in story telling versus reporting the facts in a standard company news releases. To engage them, you have to offer compelling content with a broader perspective. For example, you can’t just say ‘my product is so great, it does xyz the fastest’. Instead try: ‘my product helped save commuters five hours of commuting time per week because the rail companies can now digitally and automatically do this brilliant thing’. That’s much more interesting.
And if you take it one step further and provide this information as a contributed article in a top publication where you can clearly show your company’s expertise in the railroad industry and the monumental impact you’re having on the industry’s digital transformation, then you will find your phone ringing, as you will be deemed as a credible source. Key influencers will call you for expert commentary and quotes and ask for follow up articles. This domino effect can have an extremely positive impact on your brand and sales efforts.
Being the authority on what you do is the essence of thought leadership. The good news is you already have the know-how and expertise in your organisation. Now all you have to do is allow your PRs to tap into these resources and help develop the compelling content to support your thought leadership programme.