By Jessie Peng
Reporters need experts, and vice versa. Being quoted as a reliable subject matter expert, or a thought leader, brings more exposure to you and the company behind you, helping to build up a long-lasting reputation that nurtures the business in many ways: boosting brand awareness among customers, strengthening trust from partners, and bolstering confidence from investors.
It’s quite challenging to be recognized and accepted by reporters as a thought leader, and this is especially true for startup founders, international entrepreneurs, and professionals in emerging industries. You’re not just judged by the thoughts you provide, but also by your speed, personality, and manners of presentation.
To speed up the build of thought leadership, here are some practical tips to help you stand out from the crowded competition.
Chime In Quickly
Breaking news provides media-friendly but fast-moving opportunities for thought leaders to chime in. In these cases, timing is everything – reporters are under extremely tight deadlines, so the earlier you share your thoughts, the more likely they’ll quote you. While providing quick comments is challenging, don’t lose faith if you miss a deadline. Always send over your thoughts, because for many developing stories, reporters and editors are likely to update published stories with fresh third-party perspectives.
Use Statistics, Charts and Citations
Always be resourceful and back your opinions with facts – numbers, charts, infographics, and if possible, citations. You’re not just making your arguments more powerful, but also aiding the reporter’s own fact-checking. This extra research is worth the effort because it shows both your ability and willingness to help the reporter write solid stories, rather than just trying to insert your name into the news. As a result, you’ll be rewarded with increased odds of being quoted.
Pursue Regular Commentary Opportunities
Don’t limit yourself to breaking news; regular opportunities should also be part of your thought leadership game plan. Many reporters, such as those who cover the financial markets, are on a continuous search for experts who can share views on a regular basis – daily, weekly, or even monthly. By connecting with them and offering a stable stream of commentary, you’ll be able to earn both coverage and long-lasting relationships. Not sure about how to reach the right reporters? Seek out the experts at a PR agency for help.
Use Existing Materials in Various Ways
While it’s crucial to stay on the lookout for media opportunities, it’s not uncommon that your sent materials don’t end up securing any coverage. Don’t toss your messaging away; instead, repurpose it into commentary pitches or self-published pieces. By posting blog articles, short and notable quotes, social media updates or bite-size video clips, you can still publish your views and build up a strong digital portfolio. From an SEO perspective, this may help you stand out on Google and other search engines.
Let’s talk more about your online portfolio. For those looking to obtain broadcast interviews, a wise first step is to start your livestreaming career. This can help you feel more comfortable speaking in front of a camera, and these streaming sessions also enable producers to discover you as someone knowledgeable and immediately presentable on TV. Again, you do their research for them.
There’s one more bonus for going live on social media: you can impress and interact with your followers. As many platforms reward livestreamers with additional exposure, building up your social following can establish and enhance your reputation as an expert.
Be Present On Social Media
Being a social-savvy thought leader can reap numerous rewards.
It’s all about relationship-building. Many reporters are very active on social platforms such as Twitter and LinkedIn. By following, and then connecting with them, you’ll be able to see their latest stories in the works. If you can help, it’s an instant way to reach out. Also, as you post articles, videos and interviews, you may pop up in their social feeds, so they see you as someone helpful for their future stories.
Leverage Company Social Channels
In most cases, thought leadership is not just about one person, but supports the entire company’s overall PR and marketing efforts by building trust, authority, and awareness among target audiences or customers. Therefore, as a thought leader, you should make frequent appearances on your company’s social pages to incorporate the expert identity into the brand.
This strategy can easily be implemented by sharing the media coverage you’ve secured, as well as quotes, sound bites and video clips curated with these stories. To further boost these posts, you can either conduct paid social media advertising campaigns or ask your employees to share, like and leave comments. Behind every thought leader, there is a team.