Making a Thought Leader

By Chris Ilcin, Account Superintendent, Sonnhalter

“Free advertising,” who doesn’t want that? One of the best side effects of the boom in content marketing is the growth of brand-neutral trade magazine articles. Pay-for-play has been relegated to the back burner as more and more publications see the benefit of offering knowledge-based problem solving articles.

That’s also an offshoot of the lack of skilled workers, as more and more knowledge retires, there’s an increased need to transfer that knowledge. With less opportunity for direct, apprentice-based, transfer, white papers, problem solving articles and general knowledge pieces gain added importance.

So, how can your company benefit? Create thought leaders. A bragging title most people would reject, it can still help you promote your business and create a knowledge warehouse.

How to Create Thought Leaders

  • Identify candidates. Most people view their jobs as a daily grind, but look at it from an outside (editor’s) perspective. Who’s working with customers to resolve issues? Who’s developing new processes (and therefore products)? And who’s “forgotten more that you know” about your business? Those are the people within your organization who are thought leaders.
  • Put it in writing. Write up bios on these candidates. What’s their background, what outside recognition have they received, and what industries do they have experience with? It’s your team’s training, experience and knowledge that make them experts.
  • Let people know. Have your PR partner share these bios. Look at the editorial calendar of relevant trade magazines, usually published well ahead of time. Internally, you can feature your newfound experts on your website, newsletter and blog.
  • They don’t have to be ready their close up. Most editors will conduct a preliminary interview and look for quotes or examples to pull for the article they’re working on. This means you don’t need to have a polished presentation right off the bat; you just need someone who can speak knowledgably on the topic.
  • Re-Share. When you are included in a brand-neutral article, share it. Website, Facebook, LinkedIn (especially within industry groups.) e-blasts to clients and so on. Wherever you can, as much as you can.
  • ReShare. Not a typo. If a brand neutral article came out and you’re not quoted, still share. Just have your Thought Leader share their perspective or additional comments on the topic, then link to the article. Most of your audience will read your content, and skip the article. So even if you’re not used, you can still benefit.

You probably already know who within your organization would be a great thought leader, but you may not be comfortable moving beyond the “Identify” step above. That’s okay!

Engaging with a media relations partner, such as the PR team here at Sonnhalter, will help you work painlessly through the process to get your voice out in a helpful, credible manner. Our pros have the resources and industry relationships to establish your organization and thought leaders as the go-to resource in your field.

Contact us to find out how we can help.