(The following is the first of a two-part blog on Thought Leadership PR/communications campaigns. If you like this blog, please share it. Thanks!)
To emerge as an in-demand Thought Leader within the IT industry, it’s essential to communicate the unique value proposition that your company brings to its niche. Blazing a path toward distinguished innovation, after all, describes what leaders – not followers – do.
As we get to know new clients, it takes time and effort to define, identify and then craft clear messaging points about their unique value statements. These statements often involve an IT solution which truly brings to market something that never existed before – a new source of efficiencies, systems visibility, cyber-security defense, etc. We always reach this point, but only after what many would consider an exhaustive deep dive into commanding a firm grasp of this value. We have substantive conversations with the company’s leadership, and conduct extensive research about the client, its competition and its overall tech industry segment.
At our high tech PR agency, we’re happy to do this.
It serves a critical function when we take the client’s story to the press, as part of our comprehensive communications strategy. When journalists see that we’ve gone to these lengths to validate clearly mapped, distinct brand qualities, it establishes instant credibility. In an age in which media outlets are steering away from product profiles and toward Thought Leadership, we’ve found that such credibility will go far. Thought Leadership requires more than coming up with a pithy quote about the latest news story or trend. If we don’t maintain our integrity with editors and writers, it will cost us – and our clients – greatly in the long run.
Frankly, during initial conversations with a prospect, we’ll occasionally have executives resist these efforts. They don’t want us to take on this level of due diligence. We’ll do our best to present our perspective and rationale for this approach, but if we get the sense that we can’t work around this resistance and/or there’s really no innovative distinction behind the company’s IT solutions, we’ll politely decline to move forward.
Unfortunately, this approach is not universally practiced within our industry. There are plenty of firms which strain to “rise above the noise” by resorting to smoke-and-mirror tactics, to land a fast but ultimately cheap headline. But when you peel away the curtain, you’ll quickly observe that there’s nothing there.
We’d never even consider pursuing that style of messaging strategy. We aim higher– to the long-term benefit of our clients. In part II of this blog, I’ll reveal a step-by-step process for creating a winning Thought Leadership plan.
Tony Welz is Principal and Co-Founder of W2 Communications.