Many of us, through our career or business choices, can rightly claim to have developed a certain expertise in our particular fields. Some of us may also have become seasoned thinkers about our area of business. But do we make enough of our expertise and our thoughts?
Every business needs to market itself, using advertising and other forms of communication. Advertising sets out the offer to sell, and strives to elicit a buy response. Other channels – loosely ‘public relations’ – educate customers to make informed purchasing decisions.
Expertise (not to be confused with experience) is a powerful marketing tool – and a good hook for a PR campaign. Thought leadership is even more powerful, because it couples ability with understanding.
From personal experience: two clients, one manufacturing bricks, the other, plasterboard. At face value, two relatively boring subjects. No! Both clients were able to showcase expertise in wide product ranges and great technical quality. Both were also able to demonstrate thought leadership in terms of the contribution their products made to the built environment, and the application of the products to solving problems facing building specifiers and contractors. The result: people noticed.
These days, one can sometimes convey thought leadership via articles in the mainstream press, both national and local, as well as consumer and trade publications. Increasingly, however, better results are achieved electronically – especially where you or your PR team control the final output: in your own email newsletters, blogs and online news pages. Get maximum ROI by using the same basic words in as many channels as possible – and remember to use social media to drive readers to your words.
Too busy with the day job to worry about thought leadership articles? That’s where you need help from a PR professional – preferably one who can also demonstrate expertise and thought leadership.
David Goddin was born in the UK and educated in South Africa. He began his career on daily newspapers and trade journals, before moving into public relations consulting. He produced award-winning writing and became an Accredited PR Practitioner, the highest qualification of the Public Relations Institute of South Africa. Since his return to the UK 17 years ago he has also contributed to a number of highly successful PR and marketing communications campaigns for major national and multinational clients. He is currently also President of the Haslemere & District Chamber of Trade & Commerce.