Latest > Why does thought leadership matter?

29th Jan 2024

4 min read

Why does thought leadership matter?

Thought leadership is a tactic that PR professionals use to elevate their clients’ media relations strategy from simple news stories to impactful commentaries. But what exactly is it? And how can you use it as part of your PR strategy? We explain all.

It’s no secret that a great PR strategy can do wonders for your brand, building strong relationships between a business and its target audience. But it takes a range of tactics to improve trust, build brand advocacy and increase credibility, with thought leadership being one of the most powerful.

What is thought leadership? 
Thought leadership is the process of delivering insightful, authentic content that offers readers value. In essence, it’s all about creating a conversation around a particular topic. Often, thought leadership revolves around a subject matter expert within a business and positioning them as an industry leader, whether through expert comments, guest posts or social media content.

If you’re focusing on an individual as your thought leader, their name should be synonymous with the sector they are involved in, in that the media and other industry professionals will want to seek out their opinion. Think Bill Gates as a perfect example– he’s one of the biggest names in tech and has always shared his views on different areas in the industry, whether this be on X to his 54 million followers or on a well-known podcast.

Always keep in mind, though, that a thought leader is someone who is always credible, well-trusted and provides value to their audience through several different avenues. The keyword here is ‘value’ – the information they share is usually new and not recycled, allowing their audience to learn something and gain insights on a specific topic or industry.

Why is having a thought leader in your business so important? 
From a PR perspective, nominating a thought leader can bring a huge boost to brand visibility and trust. With media mentions of both the organisation and the individual, the trust that the public has built for your thought leader will soon be directed towards the business too.  It’s also important to note that having a thought leader who is an industry expert creates a valuable USP, differentiating the business from its competitors, which is key to standing out in any market.

The end goal here would be that this newfound brand awareness and trust can generate more sales, enquiries or website visits for the overall brand or business.

So, how can you use thought leadership as part of your PR strategy? 
The first step sounds simple, but it’s quite possibly the most important – talk to your client and find out what makes them different. Becoming a thought leader is all about standing out amongst your competitors, so it’s key to determine these points of difference as early in the process as possible. For example, perhaps the CEO or senior leader of the business has a different way of thinking or can provide a solution to a problem that other brands haven’t solved yet. This is a great starting point.

Once this unique point of view has been identified, you can capitalise on it and use it as part of your PR strategy. For example, one easy way is to keep a close eye on what people within your industry are talking about, and then put your client forward to provide expert comment. If this is done consistently, your spokesperson will build a relationship with the media and eventually be the number-one contact for journalists when they require an expert viewpoint on specific topics. They might even begin to secure speaking opportunities at key events and industry roundtables, which will create many exposure opportunities and meaningful press for your client.

Social media is also a crucial tool when it comes to seeking out potential opportunities and inserting your thought leader into the conversation. Of all the social media platforms, and particularly for a B2B audience, LinkedIn and X are the perfect places to not only find opportunities but also post thought-provoking content on relevant industry topics, increasing the chance that you’ll be contacted directly for comment or insights. Keeping active on social media, either as a business or an individual, is a great way to build trust, while ideas shared on these platforms can also be used in blogs and email newsletters to widen your reach.

Creating a thought leader in an organisation can take time, but with the correct strategy and research, it is an extremely effective route to help achieve your PR goals.

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Written by

Kyle Lynch

Journalism graduate who specialises in finding newsworthy hooks. Kyle manages the admin tasks that are the foundation of our slick account structure and also writes and creates engaging, clickable content for both media and social media.

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