If you’ve actioned Stages 1 & 2 in our last blog HOW TO BECOME AN INDUSTRY THOUGHT LEADER you will be smiling like a Cheshire Cat about the fine piece of valuable content you have in your possession. But how do you get it to be seen and heard by the people & media that matter?
STAGE 3: COMMUNICATION
Prioritise your targets.
Prioritise and work through the list of targets to research the format and tone that similar articles take and where they are being shared (website, blogs, social).
Identify the contact details of the people, editors and reporters, you want to persuade to run your material and approach them on a one by one basis. Ensure that when writing to named contacts you use the research you have carried out on their media outlet and that you can tailor your piece accordingly.
Format your material.
Each channel will need its own appropriately formatted material. I would recommend that you start with one or two media organisations and do your learning and do it well. Remember, as a thought leader you need to produce new and interesting content regularly: Think outside the box!
This could be a White Paper, Comment piece, Short film, Blog, Speech or Podcast.
Approach your Chosen Media Targets.
Approach the organisations you’ve identified, one by one, and offer them a comment, article, opinion, contribution to their media channel – make sure this is relevant to their audience:
Get it subbed and edited by a colleague you like and respect. When they have finished reading, get them to answer the magic question: So what? Let their answer guide you as to what to add or take away. Ensure you chop out anything that doesn’t directly contribute to your idea. Also add as many visuals, photos, graphs, cartoons as you possibly can to bring your idea to life. Use humour to lighten ‘dark’ material.
Make it concise and dynamic but be prepared to vary your pace. Corporate films shouldn’t be more than 90 seconds long, talks no more than 17 minutes (see Ted Talks https://www.ted.com/watch/tedx-talks)
Conferences & forums
Take every and any opportunity to present your idea. If you are not an experienced speaker, start small. In your own office with colleagues, amongst clients, some people find doing a webinar is ok because they can’t be seen.
Ask for feedback.
At every event ask what your audience would like more of – this will ensure you get constructive feedback and will keep you motivated. Don’t expect to please everyone – in fact, a bit of push back suggests you have pushed the boundaries – this is good.
Be prepared to promote the pants off your thought leadership activities. It’s a good idea to get media trained (we can help with this!). Remember that practice really does make perfect. You will make mistakes, so make the bad ones in private, choose somewhere safe to make your mistakes.
Do not expect anyone to care as much about this issue as you.
You will have to be persistent and expect some level of rejection. This is fine – not everyone is as forward thinking as you are!
Be prepared to slice and dice your material for different audiences with interests in different aspects of your idea. Don’t be precious, learn to adapt and give what the media outlet is looking for, as long as it’s still true to your beliefs.
Use whichever social media platform is relevant and appropriate to your audience. Make sure your profile pictures and wording are professional and get yourself a hashtag that people can follow to find your latest pieces. Learn the tricks of the trade, like adding relevant trending hashtags to your posts to help get them noticed, and then get active, because if you’re not then no one else will be.
Now repeat, repeat, repeat!
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