21st January 2015
Whether you intend to establish yourself as your business’ figure-head, leverage yourself as a service provider or raise your profile for commercial success, becoming a thought leader in your field can be key to meeting those objectives.
Competition has never been more ferocious. Social media has made it easy for anyone to present themselves as a master of their craft, but once that initial engagement is in place, the wheat are separated from the chaff by the quality and substance of the advice and guidance being shared.
As a Publicist/founder of PR agency JHPR, we’ve worked with brilliant unknowns, notorious household names, and everyone in between.
The mission is always the same. To extract the lessons from their wealth of experience and journey, communicate this guidance to their target audience and make these individuals renowned for their excellence for ultimate commercial or social benefit. We do this through a series of steps which combined, result in a profile which has media and commercial appeal, then set to work on capitalizing on the opportunities which visibility creates.
We know first hand how powerful PR can be as a tool in establishing thought leadership. We also know that not everybody has what it takes to rock this role. If you have the commitment and confidence to become a visible force within your sector, then there are six steps which help to mould a great thought leader;
1. Establish your area of expertise
Experts come in different guises. Those whose training and academic prowess equip them to speak from a position of expertise, and those whose journey make them compelling and inspiring to learn from. Often the most engaging thought leader’s are a combination of both approaches. Ask yourself what is it about your offering or methodology as a service provider or personality that makes you exceptional? What is the remit of your expertise?
2. Once you can easily answer these questions create a content distribution strategy
Dedicate time within your diary which is purely for the creation of content. Content like this very article which advises your audience on how they can develop or improve in an area important to them. Keywords pertinent to your sector should be implemented into the articles you write for search purposes.
Your content should be shared not only on your website blog, but via the key publications, website and blogs which service your industry. Establish who the key trade publications are within your sector and provide them with an article each week. Your online presence will thank you for it.
3. ‘Speak’ to your audience
The clearer you are on your target audience and customer, the more effectively you can communicate with them in the language they understand and care for. Don’t just spout advice, share your brand values and give insight into why you do what you do. Clarity on your audience is crucial, as this insight will help to inform your whole PR & marketing strategy.
4. Capitalise on your brand
As your following begins to grow, its time to question which products you can create to leverage this growing profile and step up engagement.
E Books, workshops and targeted public speaking events should be viewed as a platform for the most powerful PR opportunity of all – face to face interaction.
Click here for pointers on writing your first E book.
5. Develop your public speaking skills
It’s reasonably easy to secure public speaking opportunities once your PR & marketing machine is in motion and you are working steps 1 – 4, getting paid to speak publicly is an entirely different animal. Unless you have built your profile to the degree where you have become renowned within your sector and need no introduction, view public speaking as an extension of your marketing and not a commercial exercise.
Explore the industry events within your sector which present an opportunity for you to deliver a keynote, and ensure you have the skills to deliver an engaging and informative presentation before embarking on this step. Be clear on your objectives and how you can capitalize on these opportunities so you extract maximum value from the speaking opp.
6. Invest in PR
Hiring an expert with the relationships, track record and experience in their field is always going to be the best ideal, but if you don’t have the budget to engage a PR agency then this is no reason to neglect PR.
If you are clear on your brand, key messages and target audience, and are articulate enough to communicate (thought leaders must be!) Willing to commit time to securing media coverage for your brand? Then you are capable of taking baby steps in starting to do your own PR.
You’ll need tools, time, dedication and a strategy, but with consistent effort, the results will propel your overall mission to becoming an industry thought leader.
To purchase a Do Your Own PR Kit which includes;