5 Steps to Building a Company Thought Leader

Establishing company thought leaders is an important aspect of building a brand. Whether you’re in marketing tech or the insurance business, there’s bound to be some topics other similar businesses want to learn about from a trusted industry leader. And you can ensure your team is the one to bear that knowledge.

A great thought leader doesn’t just appear out of the blue — but there are a few simple steps you can take to define a thought leader and break into the industry conversation:

     1. Choose titles with credibility.

While businesses work to hire knowledgeable individuals for every role in their company, there are some titles that come with a bit more clout for outsiders. When it comes to choosing a thought leader, a good rule of thumb is to look at executives first. If your brand wants to speak about a more niche topic, a director in that specific area of the business — such as a brand advocacy director — may also be a great pick.

     2. Make sure they have an opinion.

Before your thought leader can make a splash in the industry noise, you have to first make sure they are comfortable with taking a stance on industry topics. It’s likely that a current event will happen where you can step into the conversation — but if your spokesperson isn’t sure of their views, it’ll be hard to have a timely response.

     3. Brainstorm out-of-the-box ideas.

While PR professionals are great at brainstorming topics for commentary, it’s important to take time to let your spokesperson in on the planning conversation — after all, everything that’s going out will be under their name. You may have a good grasp on the industry, but your spokesperson will be the one who’s truly the expert, so it’s vital to make sure their voice is heard so those deep-dive topics, for example company data reports, are included in your thought leadership toolbelt.

     4. Pick the right outlets.

One of the worst mistakes you can make when helping your thought leader break into industry chatter is targeting the wrong outlets. By carefully curating a list of publications — and specific media contacts — who would be especially interested in your thought leader’s knowledge topic, you’ll better your chances of breaking through the noise. Whether it be a piece of content or an interview opportunity, you want to make sure the topic is a perfect fit for the contacts you’re reaching out to in order to gain real interest — and ultimately media coverage — in the space.

     5. Tweak and repeat.

Once you’ve started your initial outreach for a company thought leader, you’re bound to get some feedback from media contacts. This can be everything from specific topics they’re interested in hearing commentary on, why a certain subject may have been interesting to them or how you can make your spokesperson’s thoughts more appealing. Take all of this feedback and run with it! Not every topic is going to be a hit, and you’ll find that some types of commentary work over and over — building a company thought leader is about finding out what works for their audience and giving it to them in fresh ways again and again.

Want to work with BLASTmedia to build a thought leader for your company? Contact Lindsey Groepper to find out how!

Lydia Beechler

About The Author

Lydia Beechler

As BLASTmedia’s Director of Learning & Development, Lydia contributes to agency growth and expertise by creating opportunities for professional and personal development for BLAST’s employees. With a background in media relations and a passion for people, she leads the charge on training around everything from diving into new media relations tactics and exploring developments in the world of SaaS, to keeping up-to-date on agency tools. When she's not at work, you'll likely find Lydia out for a morning run or spending time with her husband and son.

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