Helping your clients prove their expertise

By Seamus Byrne in Marcoms News on
It’s not uncommon to be pitched offers of quotes about news, or interview opportunities or guest articles (increasingly common, which is its own thing) where a company wants one of its executives to say something about things that are going on in the news.
It definitely fits into an important vein of pursuing a place of thought leadership in an industry. But quite often these pitches are coming in very cold, so it’s hard to say yes when you just don’t know what the person actually has to say on a topic.
If you want to help those clients build that position in the industry, they need to be more proactive about offering interesting things to say not only in response to a ‘moment’ that may be happening in the market, but also at other times of the news cycle.
In fact, being willing to say interesting things at times when a company isn’t launching something and also when there isn’t much else going on in the news would be the ideal time to speak up. It’s more likely to catch the eye of a journalist looking for something worth writing about.
So how do you do that? One is to work harder on those internal blog posts to give executives the space to genuinely say what they’re thinking, and to offer advice and insight to both your direct customer base and to anyone else on the hunt for valuable information. But part of that is also to not be afraid of letting them push their thoughts into a space that is a little controversial or a little provocative.
I’ve been doing some thought leadership work this year, ghost writing to help executives to express their ideas in a form that both captures their most passionate thinking while also making it readable to those without technical expertise. And I’ve realised that using the interview format to help them convert ideas into helpful and interesting first-person articles can be a great way to help them get that job done.
But after doing some of this kind of work, it does become valuable to offer up regular quotes to journalists in response to what’s happening in the news.
I’m reminded of the Scimex daily alerts, where academics across the country offer canned quotes in response to some of the biggest science news of the day. More tech leaders should be doing a paragraph comment about the big news out there. Remember that journalists are ridiculously time poor today. Making an offer of a comment is not enough. If they have to reply and then wait for a further reply to then arrange a time for a call? They’ve already moved on because it’s too many delays. But a few meaningful lines in that first email? There’s a good chance that someone out there will find a use for that.
I emphasise ‘meaningful’ there too. Too many times I’ve been offered similar comments which have turned out to be nothing but standard corporate words that don’t really say anything. 
Never forget that if you’re chasing thought leadership cred, you need to offer thoughts that show leadership. And leadership means being willing to stand apart and be noticed.

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