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29 June 2021
Caroline Walker, Director of PR & Content

What does it mean to be a thought leader?

What does it mean to be a thought leader?

Thought leadership PR programmes are an effective way to create a recognisable profile for company spokespeople and raise overall brand awareness. They use an individual’s or organisation’s specialist knowledge to create influential advice and opinion articles for press. 

This approach demonstrates expertise to the press and prospective customers and in turn secures more media opportunities and drives new sales enquiries. It also dovetails with content marketing initiatives, turning ideas that can be used editorially into sales and marketing collateral and social media posts.  

Creating engaging content
Understanding your target audience is fundamental to success. As PR professionals, when we plan and pitch in content, we always consider how to engage several audiences – our clients, journalists and their readers. Our clients want to convey their business’ key messages, the media wants to attract readers and increase web traffic, and readers want to learn something relevant and commercially valuable. 

As with all editorial content, successful thought leadership PR, gets your message across without sounding salesy. It is written in a style and format fitting of the platform it is published on. Online content uses sub headers, bullet points and use images and video to express data. Print journals seek longer form articles written in more formal language written to a prescribed layout, whereas blogs and social media content can be chattier, pithier and make use of abbreviations. 

Choose the right topics 
It’s always best to stick to what you know well and what your target market wants to know about. When developing thought leadership concepts with clients, one of our first questions is: “What do your customers most frequently ask about?” This indicates how your current customers view you as a specialist, what they want to learn about and where there might be confusion or uncertainty. If your customers seek this information from you, it is likely prospective customers will too.  

Potential topics include:

  • Raising awareness of an important industry issues  
  • Developing insight and research 
  • Sharing best practice and offering solutions to specific problems

Alone, this content may not secure editorial opportunities. To make content newsworthy, we give content a media angle. Tactics include exploitig calendar hooks and upcoming key dates, and reacting to the news agenda, positioning our clients as credible commentators on relevant stories. Of course, giving journalists an attention-grabbing headline also helps to secure column inches!

Demonstrate knowledge and expertise
To stand out from competitors and become a go-to media source, it is best to find niche subjects and be ready to own them. Not only will this build a recognisable profile with key media contacts, but it also builds recognition with customers and helps businesses to stand out from the competition.

As a thought leader, it’s vital to providing an original view point or add new ideas. If journalists are looking to add to a wider conversation they want fresh perspectives, likewise if a thought leader wants to introduce a new topic to the media, it needs to have compelling reasons to be given the spotlight. 

To raise your profile as a thought leader, contact Caroline Walker on 01732 779 087.



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