‘Thought leadership’ – getting yourself known as an authority on a particular topic – is not new in PR. However, digital platforms are providing more opportunities than ever before to showcase the expertise within your organisation.
The right topic at the right time
Be prepared to act quickly if your area of expertise suddenly becomes topical. Be sensitive though – people will notice if you try to turn a tragic news event into a commercial opportunity for your business. Try to bring genuine insights, an alternative viewpoint or a local angle to current issues. Avoid being overtly promotional and instead provide something genuinely useful, ideally that people won’t get elsewhere.
Awareness days, weeks and months also provide hooks for topics, including health issues. It is worth setting aside a couple of hours to research these and put together a plan of the events you could link to. There are a number of websites that list them, but we particularly like Awareness Days, which has a free calendar that is easy to navigate.
Building thought leadership into your SEO strategy
If your business has experts on particular topics then you already have a great source of online content. Producing regular high quality informative and useful blogs can form a central part of your SEO strategy. Ensure blogs are relevant and accessible to your target market. Using tools like Moz Keyword Explorer will help you identify the keywords that will help your content get picked up by search engines. Don’t limit yourself to text – consider video as a more visual means of explaining complex issues or showcasing the real people in your business.
Pitching to other websites
Research external websites that run expert or advice pieces. For example, freshbusinesthinking.com and Minutehack.com, as well as gaininbusiness.com down here in the South West, run articles from external experts on topical business issues. Get to know these sites, and their editors, as they all have different requirements: none of them want promotional material and most of them demand unique content.
Using social media to promote your content
If you’ve published a new blog or video, make sure you have everything you need to present it in an engaging way on social media. LinkedIn is the most obvious social media platform for thought leadership pieces. Does your company have a business page? To drive readers to your website, you can create a post, with a link to the piece on your website. If you are the author of the piece, you should also publish this – or do another post – from your personal account. This is a great way of showcasing your expertise to your connections, and potentially changing perceptions about what you and your company can offer.
Although perhaps not as ideally placed for thought leadership, consider promoting your thought leadership content through your company’s Twitter and Facebook accounts. These posts can be a good way of positioning your business to your existing followers, as well as attracting new ones.
Think carefully about your words and try to summarise the essence of your post, while including a link to drive traffic to the blog on your website. Research has shown that content with relevant images gets 94% more views than text alone, so it is worth commissioning or sourcing quality photography for your posts.
When subjects are topical, don’t miss opportunities to join in with social media conversations or campaigns. Include relevant Twitter hashtags – most awareness events will have these and they quickly become established as news events unfold.