How to build your thought leadership platform
Shining a light on your thought leadership
If you sell products or services to other businesses rather than directly to the consumer and you are serious about growing, your PR campaigns need to consider five key communication elements:
1. Form and Function: Succinctly and accurately describe your product or service’s functionality and capability and get that information out regularly and repeatedly to your potential customer-base, both directly and through trusted third parties.
2. Business Benefits: Convey to that target audience the business benefits that your product or service routinely delivers to its customers.
3. Evidence: You must prove both your product’s features and business benefits by developing and promoting the evidence. That’s where customer case studies, testimonials, award entries and endorsements come in.
4. Show your human-side: Finally, buyers, like all humans, buy people as much as expertise or products. Be sure to show that you are human! Charity fund-raisers, employee away-days, hobbies and personalised profiles of employees can help to break down the stuffy, unapproachable side that companies sometimes convey on their websites and business documentation. Social media public relations is ideal for this.
5. Build Thought Leadership Fortress: Most importantly, in an increasingly competitive world – in which companies’ offerings are copied and re-offered in the blink of an eye – you must build a ‘fortress of thought leadership’ around your products, services, sector knowledge and pools of expertise.
How then do you build your thought leadership fortress? You have two options, depending on whether you are technology or domain-led. If the former is the case, then your tactical route must be technical white papers, reviews and IT award entries – proof that your approach has the technical edge over the competition.
This works well if your decision-maker is highly technical i.e. a CISO for cyber security offerings. However, if he/she is a business department head, financial director or CEO, then business benefits of your product or service must be the focus.
How Agility PR can help build your thought leadership platform
Agility PR will help you showcase your market sector knowledge and the business benefits your product/service delivers through PR campaigns including a range of content all designed to meet communications channel requirements, from specialist trade media placement to marketing automation mailers, social media posts or your website’s Insights area.
To achieve this, we’re likely to be writing your opinion articles, blog posts and creating video pieces (vlogs) which showcase your understanding of current market developments – putting your interpretation on what they mean for market participants. Thought leadership marketing often showcases your vision for what the markets you serve might look like in a few years’ time.
You may be commenting on regulatory, legal or market developments or wider economic changes. The key is to pick topics which the decision-makers of your prospects and existing customers are likely to want to hear or read about. Put yourself in the centre of a topical debate through thought leadership campaigning.
If your offering can be hard-wired into a specific market requirement (e.g. compliance with new regulation or increased efficiency in the face of declining sales margins), which is aligned with the abilities and expertise of the company, then you have the basis for a very strong thought leadership campaign which can integrate highly effectively with sales and be measured based on the leads it generates – not just trade media column inches or Google rankings it harvests.
Thought leadership pieces should communicate your understanding of market trends and changes. If this change demands the product, service or expertise of your company, you’ve hit the jackpot.