Winter is upon us. We got a little snow here this week. Maybe you did, too.
This got me thinking about snowballs, or more to the point, the snowball effect of thought leadership. With PR efforts, sometimes one small win can lead to more wins.
Let me give you an example.
The Evolution of a Thought Leadership Post
For a client in the manufacturing sector, I suggested we write a year-end thought leadership blog post featuring industry trends to keep an eye on in 2022. As part of the effort, I told the client it could potentially be pitched as a contributed article to garner earned media coverage.
I interviewed the CEO, ghostwrote the piece, and the client published it on their site. Then, I pitched it to an editor that the CEO had met recently at a meeting I arranged for the client at an industry trade show. The editor expressed interest. I shared the post – and she published it as a bylined article that same week.
Next, the article ended up as the publication’s most-read article that month, resulting in another article featuring its top five most-read articles of the month.
But it didn’t stop there. Another industry publication saw the piece and asked if they, too, could publish it. While sharing the exact same piece wasn’t allowable, I quickly ghostwrote a new article – and they published it.
Then, we heard from yet another editor of a publication who saw it – and now wants the client to contribute there.
The takeaway here is – momentum is real. But – you have to start somewhere.
Where to Start With a Thought Leadership Effort
Where could you start if you haven’t done much of a thought leadership or earned media push as part of your digital marketing or B2B PR efforts? Here are a few ideas:
- Local news outlets: Your local newspaper or business journal is a great place to start.
- Industry trade publications: These are often overlooked but often the best way to begin getting your name out there.
- Podcasts: There are many to choose from and surely some that your audience is following.
- Trade shows or events: Publications usually send editors and reporters to these, making it an excellent opportunity to pre-arrange a few meetings. Meeting face-to-face with an editor or journalist can make a difference in whether or not they remember to call on you when they need a source. This works well when trying to do manufacturing PR – and in other industries, too. (While I realize this may not be an ideal time for in-person events, if you do have the opportunity to try this, I highly recommend it.)
- Self-publishing: Of course, you can self-publish on your blog, LinkedIn or Medium. Share that via social media once it’s published.
- Look for opportunities to contribute to others’ work: If someone is looking for a comment for a piece they’re working on or looking to speak with an expert in your field, don’t turn it down. You never know who may be paying attention.
Anytime you score an earned media hit, be sure to share it via social media, in your online newsroom, in your newsletter, and perhaps in other vehicles as it makes sense. (For more on this, read my piece on how to make the most of your earned media coverage.)
Once Momentum Is Created, It Feeds On Itself
In the beginning, things may move slowly, but once you build some momentum, it sustains itself to a degree. You may be invited to contribute your opinion to articles, through speaking opportunities, and so on. All of these opportunities feed off each other, leading to more opportunities – and greater visibility.
Digital PR efforts can drive your B2B marketing funnel, bringing in new prospects and customers. Why? Because sharing your unique point of view helps you stand out and distinguishes your brand from all the others.
If people follow you on social media, read your blog posts and contributed articles, and like what you have to say, that adds to your credibility and can motivate them to learn more about you – and eventually buy from you.
Demonstrating authority through thought leadership helps earn the trust of your audience, as B2B marketing expert Doug Kessler of Velocity Partners points out. And trust can make all the difference in a business relationship.
Need help getting your momentum started? I work with B2B clients – including those in the manufacturing sector – to build effective PR programs.
About the author: You’ll find Michelle Garrett at the intersection of PR, content marketing and social media. As a public relations and communications consultant, Michelle’s articles and advice have been featured in Entrepreneur, Muck Rack, Ragan’s PR Daily, Attorney at Work, Freelancers Union and more. She is the co-host of #PRLunchHour on Twitter Spaces and is the founder and host of #FreelanceChat. In addition, Michelle was named among the top 10 most influential PR professionals by Commetric in 2021 and ranked no. 3 on the PR Measurement Twitter Influencer Index in 2021. She was named one of The Most Influential Tech PR Professionals in the World 2021, and a Top Digital PR Leader in 2020.