“A thought leader is someone with proven expertise and experience who isn’t afraid to share it with the world without direct compensation.” ~ Jay Baer
Mr. Baer makes a fine point. The best thought leaders don't expect compensation for contributions to their industry. However, it certainly doesn't hurt to know that you're gaining compensation in the form of credibility and notoriety.
If you haven't yet arrived as a thought leader in your industry, what vehicle can you take to get there?
Lately, I've been talking about how you can make your PR campaign more effective. The best PR campaigns contain clear-cut deliverables that ensure visibility, boost leads, and build thought leadership. However, it's all too easy to let the success of your campaign become short-lived.
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So today, let's talk about how to extend the life of your PR and, at the same time, use it to build thought leadership.
Insert Yourself In Conversations
In real life conversations, it's certainly bad manners to butt in and offer your opinion. However, it's perfectly acceptable if you've been asked for it.
Sites like Quora offer you the chance to jump into conversations and offer your expertise. For instance, not long ago I answered the question, "How does public relations help in building a brand?" My answer received hundreds of views, building my reputation as a thought leader.
"The more information you can give, the more likely people will come to view you and your company as useful, trusted sources of information." ~ Kelsey Jones, Social Media Examiner
Additionally, following bloggers that are popular in your industry will help you to keep a sharp eye out for industry trends and challenges people are facing. Check blog comments frequently to see if you're able to reply to any questions or offer a professional point of view.
Use your recent press as the basis for responding to questions that will build your thought leadership. Include a direct link to your press in your response. Ideally, you'll link to your press in your online newsroom.
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Include Your Press Mentions in Your Bio
Hopefully, you've already included a well-crafted bio in your "About Us" page on your website. If not, get started on that right away!
Prospects want to know that you're an authoritative figurehead in your industry. To that end, include your press mentions in your online bio.
You can also include press mentions in your company bio, or feature them prominently on your home page (as seen in the New York Times). Particularly if you're just launching a startup product is this useful. Prospects don't know you, but they recognize the Wall Street Journal, the Today Show, and other well-known media sources as reputable. Your mentions or appearances lend to your credibility.
Use Articles as Speech Outlines
If your PR campaign landed you press in a trade magazine or other publication, use the article as the basis for a speech. Not only will you already be very familiar with the topic, but your brand messaging will come across as familiar and stable to those in your industry as your press gains visibility.
Trade shows are a perfect arena for such speeches. Carefully craft your presentation and make sure to apply as a speaker months, or perhaps a year or more, before the trade show. Podcasts are also an excellent arena for displaying your expertise.
If public speaking makes you cringe, try turning your speech into a webinar or a video.
Pump Up Your Sales Presentation with Your Press
You may not be a fan of making sales pitches, especially when they involve you selling yourself as a brand. However, this is somewhat necessary if you're going to build yourself up as a thought leader and an effective force for innovation in your industry.
Let your recent press do the talking for you. Include screenshots or picture-based quotes from your press in your sales presentation. Avoid antiquated slide presentations filled with graphs and small print. Instead, use a platform, such as SlideShare, to communicate your pitch.
(If you are a small business and would like to know how to empower your PR with thought leadership, click here.)
PR campaigns take months of behind-the-scenes work. Don't let all of your success become short-lived!
- Get busy answering questions that relate to your recent press
- Include your press mentions in your bio
- Use your article as the basis for a speaking engagement
- Include screenshots of your press in sales presentations