In our second installment of thought leadership campaign tips, we focus on what to do once you’ve identified your topics and subject matter experts and prepared them for their role as a thought leader. Click here to check out our first four tips from our previous post.
1. Prepare your subject matter experts: Develop a bio showcasing their expertise on the topic and take a headshot of them for use with future articles. Provide the subject matter expert with a list of resources to monitor for topic ideas (and monitor them yourself). For example, have them sign up for RSS feeds from the top five blogs covering the topic area. Get them online subscriptions to key industry publications covering the topic. Identify and help them get involved in industry associations or attend events, seminars or conferences that address the topic. Remind them that the purpose of your outreach is not to talk up your products or services, but to provide helpful tips and advice.
2. Make it easy for your subject matter expert: Set up Google Alerts on the topic, so you can stay up to speed and help the subject matter expert identify timely news about the topic. Schedule regular meetings to discuss potential news angles and to ensure your subject matter expert has time set aside to download their thoughts, opinions, advice and tips on the topic. From there, you can put together initial drafts of thought leadership pieces for them to react to.
3. Secure opportunities: Online and traditional media are starved for helpful tips, advice and commentary from industry experts. So, start by pitching guest posts on blogs with existing traffic (think industry associations or trade media outlet’s blogs). Identify editorial calendar opportunities related to your topic and pitch your subject matter expert as an information resource. Trade publications have small staffs these days, so offer to write a bylined article. Move on to pitching speaking opportunities, starting at the local or regional level and building up to national opportunities once your subject matter expert has more experience under his or her belt. Conduct polls to help give your content and pitches more timely fodder. Offer to do articles for industry associations’ newsletters. Remember, add to your subject matter expert’s bio when they are published in trade publications and been a featured speaker at industry events.
4. Promote the campaign internally: Promote the campaign’s success within your organization, which will encourage others to come forward with new thought leadership topics. Also, be sure to recognize the subject matter expert for their efforts to encourage others to volunteer. One organization was so impressed with the extra effort a subject matter expert put forth that they promoted her, which was a great incentive for others to sign on as future thought leaders.
Remember, it takes many organizations about a year to establish a reputation as a thought leader on a particular topic. However, you’ll know it’s worth the investment when the media, industry associations and prospects start seeking out your organization for insights and advice.
Has your organization encountered any challenges while developing your thought leadership campaigns? What have you done to make your thought leaders successful?