Elevating your brand above your competition requires an approach that will give your brand a clear voice of authority, influence and knowledge in the marketplace. A solid thought leadership strategy will help build this brand reputation, while presenting your organization with opportunities for sales growth.
The goal of a thought leadership strategy is to position an executive or company, as an expert and a leader in a certain area, industry or subject matter. Tactically speaking, this could translate into speaking opportunities in front of industry colleagues or being quoted by a reporter in a publication read by your target audience.
While there are many spokes in the thought leadership wheel, content strategy must be one of them. Authoring content and securing its placement in target media outlets has become one of the most influential and important parts of a company’s thought leadership strategy and a critical factor in building a brand.
One of the leading trends we’re seeing in our space – the convergence of PR and marketing – has content at the center of it all. Content is essential because it builds credibility and when done right, will even contribute to lead generation.
In our current environment, there’s also an increased demand for it. As news organizations grapple with fewer editors and reporters, and demanding, up-to-the-second readers consume online content as quickly as it’s posted, media outlets are hungry for original stories.
Content in action
Apart from the quality of the content developed, the crux of any content strategy is getting it published in media outlets that reach your customers and target buyers. The goal is to identify editors who accept contributed content (some only publish articles written by their editorial staff) and are responsible for reviewing and approving content submissions. This process often requires diligent follow-up and bouncing around between editors until you find the right one. There are a couple of ways contributed content is published:
Bylined articles – as the name suggests, a bylined article typically features a company executive as the author of the piece, instead of a reporter writing the article.
- Bylined article published in Chief Executive featuring staffing and workforce solutions company Synergis: “Are U.S. Business Leaders Ready for Paid Paternity Leave?”
- In this example, Team Everywhere, creator of a collaboration software platform, is published in MarketingProfs: “Staying Creative While Working Remotely.”
In both cases, the company is weighing in on a topic of interest, without self-promotion. The articles are written to share insight, opine on trends and give the readers a takeaway they can implement at their own organizations. This begs the question: How did these companies get their articles placed? A PR agency is typically engaged to manage the process on behalf of companies, or experts reach out to reporters directly to determine their interest in featuring such content.
Guest blogs – Guest blogs are a popular form of thought leadership. There is a fine line between a bylined article and guest blog, as they have similar qualities. One difference is that a blog will only appear online, while a bylined article can appear in print or online, depending on the publication.
- Harvey Nash, a global recruitment and IT outsourcing organization, utilizes blogging as part of its strategy to position its executives as top thought leaders in their industry. Harvey Nash Chief Digital Technology Officer Anna Frazzetto is a regular contributor for industry-leading publication CIO.com on the significant impact digital is having on the C-suite, “Look Who’s Coming for the CEO Role.”