Thought leadership is not a buzzword. Developing a thought leadership campaign using your experts can elevate your visibility and value beyond your competitors.
Thought leadership attracts business
A thought leader is someone with a unique perspective and passion about how something can be achieved. They speak with clarity. Their opinion is rooted in knowledge and knowhow so that their ideas can be realised, and their successes replicated.
Thought leaders are engaging, inspirational and motivating. They have a media profile and they attract followers because, within their community, they are visible, valued and understood.
Take for example, Simon Sinek, the leadership and branding expert – his presentations are highly visual, accessible and offer clear, articulate, replicable steps. His message is simple, easy to remember, reference and repeat. As a result, his ideas spread, his profile increases, and he sells more books and his consultancy grows.
Bathe in reflected glory
A business can employ any number of thought leaders – each an expert in their own field, with different communication styles and preferred platforms. Whether you grow your own or employ existing thought leaders, the important thing is that you encourage and support them to capture, structure and articulate their best ideas,. Doing so will add further value to your business’s vision and mission.
It’s worth noting that the process of sharing thought leadership enables you to harness and harvest the intellectual property (deliberate small ‘i’ small ‘p’) which resides in the heads of your most valuable employees – employees who one day may be employed by your greatest competitor. Encourage them to share their brilliance while employed by you, so your business can bathe in its reflected glory.
Passion is persuasive
Don’t talk about things you don’t care about because it will show – it will be dull, and everyone will ignore you. Talking and writing for the sake of it does not make you a thought leader. Don’t write about the same stuff as everyone else, this makes you a copycat and possibly a plagiarist.
Being an expert takes time and commitment as does having an expert opinion. Developing an opinion usually means that you have investigated, considered and formulated different perspectives around an issue.
Few people will invest time and energy if they don’t care about a subject. When people commit some effort, it’s because they give a damn and when you give a damn, your passion shines through and it becomes so much more compelling.
Your business needs thought leadership because it helps your business to grow, it reflects well on your reputation and it showcases your brilliance.
Request our free guide on how you can become a thought leader.
In 2 weeks’ time, the floor at Infosecurity 2017 is going to be buzzing with people. The question to ask now is: can I be doing anything now to prepare/plan my social media communication? The simple answer is yes of course. Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook and Instagram can all provide you with an opportunity to shout about all the exciting things your company is doing. Here’s some top tips that you can be actioning now:
1. Follow, Follow, Follow.
Take a look at your Twitter account and make sure you’re following everyone who you believe can help you get your message out further. Does the event have its own Twitter page? If so, follow it. Also, look at who you would like to connect with on LinkedIn and send out your invitations this week to maybe meet them for a coffee at the show.
2. Decide who will take charge.
Be clear on who is going to be the social media lead during the show and let them take charge on each of the channels mapping out what they can be talking about before and during the show.
3. Use hashtags.
@Infosecurity is the official hashtag for the show. Make sure you use this as part of your own company tweets. Also, with over 13,000 followers have a look at the show’s Twitter page to see if there are any useful connections you can make. Be an active participant in conversations linked to this hashtag and be willing to comment and retweet interesting updates.
4. Give credit where it’s due.
Try to include links to interesting content – this could be from your own website or someone else’s.
5. A picture speaks a thousand words.
Give people a sense of buzz and excitement of what’s happening on the ground either with pictures or short video clips. These could be of your own company stand or the exhibition floor. Smartphone cameras are amazing quality these days so this doesn’t have to be overly complicated with fancy/expensive equipment.
As with any form of communication, always think about what outcome you want from this activity. That way you can effectively measure success and look at ways of doing things differently next time round.
The clock is ticking and there’s less than 3 weeks to go until Infosecurity Europe 2017. So, you should be well on your way to developing your big news story for the show.
Once you’ve got your story, it’s vital that you follow a few golden rules to give your organisation the best possible chance of getting the journalist’s attention. You need to make sure your team has set aside some time to put in place, update or source the following essentials so that you can really make the most of the media profiling opportunity presented at Infosecurity Europe 2017:
1. Named media contacts:
All too often press releases never get to the intended recipient because they are sent to generic email addresses like firstname.lastname@example.org. You need to have a ‘named’ contact to send your press release to because generic email addresses are rarely monitored at busy times, if at all. By personalising your email your organisation comes across as being far more switched on, thoughtful and interested. If you want a journalist to use your story shouldn’t you, at least, know their name?
2. A picture speaks volumes:
Good quality photography, or graphics, which bring your story to life can give you the edge over your competitors. This is because good images provide you with an opportunity to dominate the page and side-line other stories. Magazines prefer to receive images as Jpegs and PNG files so make it is easy for the publication to use your material by sending your images in this format. Images should be sent as attachments to the email, not pasted in to the body of the release.
3. Make it a headline worth reading:
The headline is going to be the first thing the journalist reads which means that it needs to be short, informative and attention grabbing. Remember, news editors will receive hundreds of emails a day – so don’t try and be clever, keep to the point and let the editor jazz them up if they think appropriate.
Three simple things that can provide you with significant marginal gains.
I believe that business leaders should have a media profile so that their customers and colleagues, current and future, can more easily identify and align with their ethos and, by default, that of the business. This is because, in the words of Simon Sinek, ‘people don’t buy what you do, they buy why you do it’. It makes sense for business leaders to clearly articulate their drivers in a way that is accessible to everyone involved with the delivery of their professional aspirations.
This is not a vanity or ego exercise. By clearly expressing who you are, what you stand for and what’s important to you, you are making yourself both visible and accountable. ‘I can do this in the privacy of my own office’, I hear you say, ‘why do I need a public platform?’ A public profile gives you the opportunity to connect with people outside your existing network who share your values and beliefs. A wider community of people offering a richer, deeper source of ideas and know-how that can help you to achieve your goals.
And on the flip side, not only can a proactive public profile help you to develop a tribe of loyal advocates who support and pass on your message, it can create a first line of defence in times of crisis; people in the community that believe in you and are prepared to fight your corner.
Many of us are fearful of the media. We expect our comment or contribution to be inaccurate or manipulated – or worse, we may be made to look foolish. Occasionally, the media get it wrong but in the main, journalists are professionals and they want to get it right. Yet, perception is your reality and this can be hard to shift. But imagine you were telling a child something important and they misunderstood a couple of times. Would you take the time and effort to explain in more detail or would you refuse to engage with them? If your business vision is important; give it a platform from which it can be heard, understood and valued. Think of journalists neither as experts nor enemies but as curious, well-connected people with excellent storytelling skills – isn’t that an opportunity worth grasping?
1. What success will look like – My starting point is always to determine what success will look like, in terms of what do we want marketing to deliver in order to enable the company to achieve its strategic goal(s)? Whatever the desired outcome is, it must be measurable. There should be a communication objective against each business objective such as: To generate #X qualified leads for bespoke vessel design from shipyards servicing the renewables industry.
2. Whose attention do we want to grab? – Knowing what we want to achieve then leads us to the next quantifiable question: Whose attention do we want to grab? We need to be as specific as possible and I would suggest that the starting point for this would be your existing database. Identify who you currently sell to in this industry and use this as a signpost for who to target moving forward. For example: We want to target and engage Technical Designers and Vessel Designers employed by Shipyards (anywhere in the world).
3. What can we say that is arresting? – We need to say something to them to make our audience stop and think in an intelligent and authoritative way – challenge their assumption or inspire their imagination. (Remember: People buy why you do something, not what you do. They engage with your passion**). This is where we, as a company play a role, expending creative energy to communicate in a way that provokes the reaction that you want.
4. What do we want them to do? – Now that we have their attention, what do we want them to do? The call to action is what enables us to measure how successful the marketing communication has been. It needs to be realistic and achievable. It can also provide a clear hand-over point between marketing and business development, such as:We want them to give us their contact details and indicate their area of interest (and possibly what stage of the buying cycle they are in)
Be realistic, business people will not place an order for many hundreds of thousands of pounds off the back of a piece of marketing communication however, they will express interest by following a link or subscribing to a newsletter, or requesting a download. Once this is received, it’s at this point that your business development people should step in and take over the lead while your marketing communication continues to work in the background.
5.Relevance and cost-efficiency – The choice of marketing vehicles, then comes down to relevance and cost-efficiency i.e. how do we get our message to your target audience in the most cost efficient way. When a company is tackling multiple markets there will be a range of vehicles being deployed with some overlap. The important thing is for everyone in your team to be clear about your desired outcome for each given capability and market.
Essentially the better you design and execute, the better the outcome – for those engineers in the audience: does this sound familiar?
** I’m passionate about helping engineers to communicate more effectively with customers, colleagues and the media because I think they’re a remarkable group of people who don’t get the credit they deserve.
Contact me if you would like me to help you prepare an effective communication strategy for 2017.
With 2 weeks to go, now is the time to think about your social media strategy. Promoting your attendance through posts on Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook can provide you with a great opportunity to get your message out, start planning now with the following top tips:
1.Follow and be followed: Prevailing ‘netiquette’ dictates that if someone follows you on Twitter then you should follow them back. So make sure you are following everyone who you want to follow you and on LinkedIn, send out your invitations to connect this week.
2.Spread the word: Include your social media addresses on all your trade show promotional material, as well as on your exhibition stand. Publicise these addresses this week, upload a press release on to your website and send out a link to the press release via social media.
3.Assign a lead: Decide who is going to be your social media lead at the show ensuring they are familiar with the different channels you want to communicate through. Get them tweeting from today highlighting what you’re doing in preparation for the show.
4.Utilise hashtags: Use the trade show’s Twitter hashtags, #Seawork #CommercialMarine and connect with the people who are using it. Be an active participant in conversations linked to these hashtags. Be willing to comment and retweet interesting updates.
5.Plan your tweets: trade shows can be exhausting so it’s a good idea to pre-plan your tweets. Aim to send out 1 an hour talking about the show’s news, highlights and any interesting statistics/occurrences.
6.Give credit: Wherever possible, try to include links back to interesting online content – ideally from your own website, but don’t be afraid of referring to someone else’s brilliance if you think they deserve it.
7.Get your camera out: Take lots of pictures and short video clips providing snapshots of what’s happening on the ground, especially at your stand. Any decent smartphone is more than capable of capturing good quality images/videos if handled well.
As you work through these steps always keep the desired outcome in mind to make sure your communication is super effective.