Leading the thought leadership charge

Thought leadership is a core component of any C-suite’s executive positioning strategy. A well-placed byline in the right publication at the right time can be posted on social media to attract more followers, put in the sales team’s hands to drive new leads or linked via the company website to demonstrate knowledge around some of the hottest topics in any given industry.

Thought leadership is about more than one well-placed byline, however, and needs to work in conjunction with the overall marketing and sales strategy, product roadmap and even the advertising plan, while also taking into account the trends and concerns within an industry. If your company’s CEO is writing about the future of voice-activated banking but your target audience and customer base is still concerned with their digital banking platform conversions, it’s time to re-examine what you hope to gain from thought leadership.

A truly integrated and robust thought leadership platform is no easy feat, especially when that platform is elevating a member of the C-suite who has myriad other responsibilities that consume his or her time and which may seem more important to the brand’s overall health.

Red Fan is constantly building thought leadership campaigns for its clients, and we often see some stall because a CEO or CTO simply doesn’t have time to sit down and do the writing or spend a few minutes per day reading high-level news and providing commentary on Twitter or LinkedIn.

Fortunately, there are several approaches a PR partner can take to make it just a bit easier on C-suite executives.

The more integrated, the better

If your PR partner is working in tandem with your marketing department, the chances of aligning thought leadership topics with product roadmaps and ad buys skyrockets. So, too, do your chances of developing bylines, social media content and more that fits within the company’s vision and goals, but doesn’t necessarily require as much of a time commitment from the C-suite. With PR and marketing pushing content to the top in easily consumable ways, the thought leader isn’t operating in a vacuum and doesn’t have to spend hours researching and writing.

Draw on the C-suite’s institutional knowledge

At Red Fan, we love interviews. It’s the newsy side of PR; we can’t help ourselves. We regularly hold calls or in-person meetings to gain a better understanding of the institutional knowledge our clients have about their respective industries. We then examine it through a news lens to determine what is most relevant at any given time, spin it through the product roadmap and paid advertising plan, align it with target publications’ editorial calendars and turn it back around to the C-suite. The thought leader now has clear, detailed instructions that empower them to package up a piece of content perfectly crafted for a news outlet as earned media.

Use videos

Putting a CTO or CEO in front of a camera to discuss the latest trends in the industry can be a great way to promote a thought leader. The video can be promoted internally to employees, sent to the media to demonstrate that a thought leader can speak intelligently on the record and shared on social media to reach new customers and audiences.

Similarly, if executives are speaking at an industry conference, moderating a panel or discussing the latest trends on a webinar, finding ways to repackage that content and distribute it across channels will make it easier to place earned bylines later down the road.

Outlines can be a lifesaver

Writing from scratch can be a lengthy process. Some executives will prefer it. Others simply don’t have time, and it’s here that something as simple as a few sentences of prompts can go a long way. A PR partner can dive into the latest industry news, pull the most relevant topics that align with the company’s strategic direction, find a new angle to tackle, and deliver it in a nice outline that an executive can run with.

Interested in adding thought leadership to your PR strategy? We’re here to help. Drop us a line today.

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