Thought Leadership


Think Thought Leadership is too time consuming? Let a technical author do the hard work for you

Think Thought Leadership is too time consuming? Let a technical author do the hard work for you

Think Thought Leadership is too time consuming? Let a technical author do the hard work for you

Are you one of the 90% of marketers whose top marketing priorities is brand awareness?

If so, then a thought leadership strategy is probably not far from your thoughts. It’s one of the most effective ways you can set about securing share of mind, promoting your brand’s authority, and attracting valuable sales leads into the top of your sales funnel.

Can’t find the right time to do thought leadership? A technical author can help…

If your company is successful, then your experts are probably busy working on client business and if your business is going through a difficult period, then your specialists are probably focussed on working to generate new contracts. Thought leadership needs expert input, so to you, this may feel like a catch-22 and a game you simply can’t win. This is where a technical author can step in and do the hard work and heavy lifting for you.

What is a technical author?

A technical author is an expert in writing. They may be an independent freelance journalist or an employee of a tech PR agency; but they are someone who has the skills and experience to investigate, draft and finalise thought leadership on your behalf. They will have spent years fine-tuning their interview and writing skills.  And, while they do require a brief and some input from your subject matter expert, they do not require hours of hand-holding and the material they produce usually requires very minimal editing.

Pros & cons of a freelance technical author

A journalist in the role of a technical author will be highly objective in their approach. This means it’s essential you provide a detailed brief in terms of your key messages and expectation for the white paper or article. A journalist is trained to seek out the most interesting angle and their skills are in story telling – not brand building or reputation management. Providing you keep your brief tight, this should not create problems and you should reap the rewards of insightful, compelling thought leadership, positioning you as the leading experts within your industry.

Initially, a freelance writer is likely to cost less than an agency, and they have the added benefit that you can commission them on a freelance, piecemeal basis. However, a technical journalist will rarely conduct media relations on your behalf, so you will need to arrange to place your thought leadership articles in the press separately – or you can employ a PR agency to do this for you.

Pros & cons of a tech PR agency

A tech PR agency can provide you with a comprehensive service, including technical authorship and placement of the thought leadership in relevant publications, but of course the costs are higher. The ideal approach to your technical thought leadership, assuming it’s an article based on expert insight, not an original piece of research is as follows:

  • Develop an ideas bank of potential thought leadership angles
  • Agree which target audience you are prioritising
  • Document overarching messages and key messages
  • Identify the subject matter expert
  • Develop your angle into an article synopsis
  • Conduct media relations to place thought leadership
  • Placed in the media, conduct an interview with your subject matter expert
  • Draft article and submit for sign off
  • Source supporting imagery, graphics etc
  • Submit for publication.
Once placed, your thought leadership should be optimized across media channels before conducting your evaluation. All of this should take very little of your time because the heavy lifting and time-consuming tasks are shouldered by the agency.

So, you see, it’s perfectly possible to undertake a Thought Leadership strategy even when your experts are very busy bees. You have various options that deliver phenomenal results, you just need to decide what factors are most important to you and what resources you can commit to securing this valuable, brand building asset to your company.

At EC-PR we are passionate about B2B communication. We believe your work is amazing and we want to help you tell the world how extraordinary it is. Get in touch.

Join our #B2BPR tribe:

If you’ve found this article valuable, you can get more useful insight here:

Download our guide: How to become a Thought Leader

READ our thought leadership Tech PR case study: SELIS – creating a compelling narrative

look at this Infographic: “10 Principles for a Successful Thought Leadership Strategy

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10 Principles for a Successful B2B Thought Leadership Strategy

10 Principles for a Successful B2B Thought Leadership Strategy

10 Principles for a Successful B2B Thought Leadership Strategy

If you’re considering a B2B thought leadership strategy, you will understand the value of being acknowledged as a credible and authoritative industry spokesperson. You will also appreciate the competitive advantage of being at the top of the tender list because of the inherent leverage of being the recognised industry authority.

The benefits and influence that a successful B2B thought leadership strategy delivers will be appealing across your entire business. After all, it’s not just marketers who see its importance, 60% of C-Suite Executives believe that thought leadership is a critical element in their decision-making criteria.

So, how do you become a successful thought leader?  Here are 10 guiding principles to help you become the go-to authority in your industry:

1. Authenticity:

Let your personality and passion shine through.  Don’t talk about issues or challenges that you don’t care about. Be genuine and authentic.

2. Data:

Include robust data from a reliable and credible source.  This was cited in Coleman Parkes research as the most valuable quality of thought leadership.

10 Principles for a Successful Thought Leadership Strategy
3. Fresh thinking:

Explore issues or challenges from new and different perspectives.  It’s not enough to simply regurgitate issues and challenges that have already been discussed at length.  What new thinking are you going to offer?

4. Own it:

Have an opinion.  Don’t sit on the fence or give a woolly response.  Or worse, give a Politician’s answer.

5. Messages:

What are you trying to say? Do you have a communication strategy?  If not, what elements do you have and what needs to be developed? Share any research that you have regarding message validation.

“Thought leadership is not about being known.  It’s about being known for making a difference.”

(Denise Brosseau, CEO of Thought Leadership Lab)

 

6. To the point:

No one wants to read a version of ‘War and Peace’.  Research has highlighted that the number one most engaging format for reading thought leadership is blog posts of around 300-500 words.

7. Use your network:

Don’t let your LinkedIn simply become your business Facebook.  Proactively engage with your network and ask them direct questions in relation to your thought leadership.

8. Avoid a narrow approach:

Don’t disregard those whitepapers or research reports as they do still have a role to play.  And, do not forget podcasts and video, but don’t do them unless you can make the content compelling.

9. Win-Win:

Remember, not only does thought leadership provide you with an opportunity to be a credible and insightful leader, it also enables people reading it to make better business decisions.  They are better informed after reading it.

10. Brand awareness:

An engaged leader who provides insight and opinion will improve brand awareness.  Leading Insurtech, Concirrus are only too aware of the benefits having gone from an industry outsider to part of the insurance community.  Read more here about their story.

Our Insight 2020 report revealed that 60% of UK Chief Marketing Officers believe thought leadership to be one of their top 3 marketing priorities. 

Leaders need to take the time to think about the issues and challenges they want to champion.  Don’t hide behind your Marketing or PR team and expect them to write it.  Brief the team, yes, but don’t leave it to them to formulate your thoughts and insights.  Remember: it’s your thinking that can help to deliver a better future.

How to develop a thought leadership strategy for your B2B business

If your B2B business would benefit from successful thought leaders – and we’ve identified nine compelling reasons why it would – the next step is to reach out to our specialists.

If you’d like to read more about thought leadership, download our PR guide for business leaders “How to Become a Thought Leader”; read how EC-PR helped position Socura executives as thought leaders in the cybersecurity market; and print out this infographic: “10 Principles for a Successful B2B Thought Leadership Strategy”.

Or, if you’d just like to stay in touch – sign up here to receive regular insights on how to make your PR work harder.

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Why your business needs thought leaders

Why your business needs thought leaders

Why your business needs thought leaders

Thought leadership is not a buzzword. Developing a campaign using your STEM experts can elevate your visibility and value beyond your competitors.

Thought leaders attract business

Thought leaders are those with a unique perspective and passion about how something can be achieved. They speak with clarity about industry problems, ideas and potential solutions. 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.

Typically these experts have a media profile and they attract followers because, within their community, they are visible, valued and understood. Consequently, they become trusted sources of information for the wider media and their audiences.

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. Therefore your expert does not need to be a sales-person or automatically comfortable in the limelight. Confidence in front of the media comes with skills to be learned, and it’s why we run services like our Media Training.

Your business needs thought leaders because they help your business to grow, which reflects well on your reputation and showcases your brilliance.

Add thought leadership to your marketing toolkit

We’ve identified no less than nine ways thought leaders can benefit B2B businesses, so it makes sense that CMOs looking to build brand awareness should identify potential thought leaders in their business and form a thought leadership strategy. Reach out to our specialists to discover how we can elevate your business executives into thought leaders, as we did for Socura, a growing cybersecurity firm.

If you’ve found this article valuable then download our PR guide for business leaders on how to become a thought leader; read our blog on how to develop your own B2B thought leadership strategy; and print out our infographic showing the ten principles of succesful though leadership.

This article first appeared on LinkedIn. and was revised in July 2021.

 

Five characteristics of a great thought leader

Five characteristics of a great thought leader

Five characteristics of a great thought leader

Insight 2020 identified that thought leadership is a key priority for marketers, it also appears to be a bit of a sweetheart subject in the marketing press right now so I thought it would be useful to provide some insight into the ‘how’ and ‘who’ of great thought leadership.

 

Over the years, we have written hundreds of pieces of ‘thought leadership’ on behalf of clients, in the role of technical authors. Every article we craft is written from interview with a subject matter expert and we follow a process to ensure it’s interesting, relevant and strategically aligned.

The angle for each article is developed with one eye on the communication strategy, with a target persona in mind. If you speak clearly and concisely to a single persona, you are infinitely more interesting than if you speak more generically in the hope of catching the attention of everyone.The angle will often be refined and promised to an editor on an exclusive basis before the full article is written. Our client’s time is valuable and, we don’t want to be producing a piece of thought leadership which only appears on our client’s website or LinkedIn feed.

A focussed, recorded interview with the subject matter expert provides us with the source material which we then craft into an article which meets the requirements of the business, the editor and the reader. [Occasionally, the editor chooses to take the source material and draft the article themselves].

The success of the article will depend on the subject matter expert; the best articles will invariably be from engaged leaders – business leaders or field leaders – who display the following attributes:
  1. They don’t care about being a thought leader, but they care deeply about their subject, vision or mission.
  2. Their knowledge is profound. They take every opportunity to learn about every evolution or development which may impact their passion. Their capacity for assimilating new information is enormous. They are great thinkers.
  3. They can clearly articulate why any aspect of their topic is important – building out its commercial, social, political or environmental relevance where appropriate. Never boring or boorish, they are always interesting and engaging when talking about their subject.
  4. Great thought leaders are willing and able to pitch their communication at the right level for their audience. They are passionate and persuasive to the point of evangelism. They are constantly engaged in their topic.
  5. As with all successful story tellers, great thought leaders have logical, yet creative minds and they enjoy sharing their opinion and ideas. As a result, they are prolific writers, speakers and communicators.

EC-PR How To Become A Thought Leader

Do you have thought leaders in your business?

We are practised at helping CMOs identify and elevate business executives into thought leaders in their target markets. It’s given us great insight into why businesses need thought leaders, the commercial benefits they bring – we’ve identified nine compelling advantages – and how to develop a thought leadership strategy.

To start forming a thought leadership strategy for your B2B business, reach out to our specialists now, and download our White Paper ‘How to be a thought Leader’ today.

 

Concirrus – Fintech PR Case Study

Concirrus – Fintech PR Case Study

Concirrus - Quest for Success

Fintech Concirrus worked with EC-PR to elevate its brand awareness and launch a new Insurtech platform to the marine insurance industry with exceptional results.

Context

UK Fintech enabler Concirrus came to EC-PR to supercharge its brand awareness and launch its Quest insurtech platform to the marine insurance industry. The Quest platform accesses and interprets wide-ranging datasets, combining them with historical claims information to reveal the behaviours that correlate to claims. The results enable insurers and brokers to more accurately quantify risk; reduce losses and boost profits.

Challenge

The issue Concirrus faced was complex. They needed to persuade the marine insurance industry that there were better working practices available and that Concirrus offered a more efficient, effective, and more profitable, way of doing business.

They needed to change working practices that had been in place since the 18th Century and there was a real fear of change. For this campaign to be a success it had to not only engage c-suite level insurance stakeholders but also the hearts and minds of an established marine community. It was time to do things differently.

Approach

Before starting the PR outreach, a communication strategy was developed to ensure that external communications had focus and purpose. Target personas were developed and activated, as well as compelling messaging created for each persona with senior leadership engagement a must. The messaging was then embedded into the business and the PR outreach began.

The campaign was 90% earned media and 10% owned media.

This balance was vital as we needed third-party validation and credibility to win over our target audience. The tactics we employed were:

“Having EC-PR as our PR partner gives us a huge amount of confidence that our successes are being communicated and our industry voice is being heard over our competition.”

Andrew Yeoman

CEO, Concirrus

“We are now recognised as a market leader within the marine insurance market and we have established a strong foothold into other sectors as a result. I am blown away by the response we received on the Blueprint – we never anticipated so much engagement from senior leaders and influencers who were keen to contribute their knowledge and insights.”

Caroline Hurst

Marketing Director, Concirrus

Results

Fintech PR downloads

Over 200 downloads of the Marine Insurance Resilience Blueprint

Fintech PR coverage

168 pieces of media
coverage in target publications

Fintech PR share of voice

Dominant share of voice
against top two competitors

Fintech PR website traffic

Website traffic increased by 30% over the campaign

Results in detail

The thought leadership campaign displayed real empathy with its target audience. It demonstrated Concirrus’ value to the market as well as its understanding of the critical challenges facing its target buyers. Concirrus successfully elevated its brand position, credibility, and authority as the go-to expert.

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Engagement

The Marine Insurance Resilience Blueprint – over 200 downloads. Senior-level industry engagement from AEGIS London, IUMI, SMIT Salvage, Swiss Re, Whitespace, AIMU (American Institute of Marine Underwriters)

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Awareness

168 pieces of media coverage in target publications including national press coverage in the Daily Telegraph with dominant Share of Voice against top 2 competitors – Concirrus 50%, Competitor A 33%, Competitor B 16%

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Brand awareness

In independent research, 51% of respondents cited industry coverage as the top source of brand awareness.

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Website traffic

Increased by 30% over the course of the campaign.

Tactics

Fintech PR White Paper

White paper

The cornerstone piece of content for the campaign. This whitepaper enabled Concirrus to collaborate with key opinion formers and deliver real hard- hitting insights for the sector. The launch of the whitepaper saw the Concirrus leadership team embark on a series of 1:1 media briefings that gave the research expert thought-leadership commentary.

Fintech PR thought leadership

Thought leadership programme

This allowed Concirrus to increase its credibility in a market where they previously had limited traction.

Fintech PR Social Media

Social media

The creation of a bank of assets including social videos, images and infographics that allowed Concirrus to maximise exposure of the Whitepaper via social channels.

Fintech PR Ideas generation

Ideas generation

A bank of thought leadership ideas which closely aligned with the pain points and challenges of our target personas, whilst ensuring that they would have maximum appeal to its target trade media.

Fintech PR News Drumbeat

News drumbeat through the press office

Monthly announcements on new client wins, industry partnerships and new funding to ensure Concirrus was seen as a dynamic force within the industry.

Fintech PR press interviews

Press interviews

Monthly interviews between tier 1 publications and the senior leadership team (mainly CEO, Andrew Yeoman) to discuss and contribute to evolving market issues and challenges. Contribution from Andrew Yeoman is regularly sought after, positioning him as a go-to expert.

Maritime PR

Maritime PR

EC-PR is a B2B PR agency specialising in Technology PR, with a proven track record working within the Maritime and Defence industrues. Read more about our Tech PR offering here.

 

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Thought Leadership Case Study: SELIS – Amplifying Success

Thought Leadership Case Study: SELIS – Amplifying Success

Selis - Amplifying Success

Thought Leadership Case Study

BACKGROUND

SELIS (the Shared European Logistics Intelligent Information Space) was a three-year €17 million flagship European Commission-funded research project and part of the EC’s €77 billion Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme. Bringing together 37 partners f rom across Europe, including research organisations, SMEs and large industry players, SELIS delivered an open source, cloud-based intelligence platform for logistics collaboration. The project hopes to motivate faster, more efficient, flexible and sustainable supply chain ecosystems in Europe.

Challenge

After three years of research & development, during which time the SELIS project team’s own efforts to promote the project had had limited impact, and the logistics community, which was set to be the main adopter and beneficiary of the project’s innovative platform, remained largely unaware of the strides the project was making.

SOLUTION

EC-PR proposed an intensive three-month PR outreach programme aimed at celebrating the successful conclusion of the SELIS project and promoting the commercial benefits of adopting SELIS’ logistics collaboration models. The programme consisted of a proactive media outreach, including profiling key journalists and influencers from across Europe interested in the subject, securing story placements, arranging media interviews and developing news announcements, combined with building thought leadership by means of articles and blog posts.

OUTCOME

After an intensive and brief ramp-up period the programme swiftly generated the first tangible results, including press coverage in tier 1 media outlets, such as Forbes and Intelligent CIO, and leading logistics trade publications, including Logistics Voices, Supply Chain News and JOC.com.

Dr. Takis Katsoulakos and Makis Kouloumbis of Inlecom Systems (the SELIS project coordinating partner) were positioned as thought leaders on innovative new logistics models through article placements in JOC.com, Logistics Voices, Computer Weekly and TechTarget.

The results of SELIS ‘Living Labs’ (real-life testing environments) were communicated through press interviews with key Living Labs partners from the industry and academia who endorsed the project’s outcomes.

“EC-PR have quickly grasped the complexities of the SELIS project and managed to transform them into a compelling media narrative. By building strong connections with our project partners and bringing them into media activities they have strengthened the credibility of our story which is important for future commercialisation of the project’s innovations. The results generated have been impressive.”
Dr. Takis Katsoulakos

MD, Inlecom Systems, the SELIS project coordinating partner

SELIS Project at a Glance

Intense ramp-up of PR programme

2

News releases

4

Press interviews with SELIS project partners

3

Feature articles placed

15

Pieces of coverage in tier 1 business and trade publications

1

Speaking opportunity secured

Intense ramp-up of PR programme

2

News releases

4

Press interviews with SELIS project partners

3

Feature articles placed

15

Pieces of coverage in tier 1 business and trade publications

1

Speaking opportunity secured

Intense ramp-up of PR programme

2

News releases

4

Press interviews with SELIS project partners

3

Feature articles placed

15

Pieces of coverage in tier 1 business and trade publications

1

Speaking opportunity secured

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Being in the right place at the right time… We will deliver feature length coverage to your target press… or your money back.