Reputation is Everything: 4 PR Tips to Build Thought-Leadership
“If you just work hard enough, it will happen.” This part of the entrepreneur myth is what drives so many to roll up their sleeves and build a business. And while it is true that hard work is necessary – putting in the additional work to build your reputation through PR and thought-leadership can help ignite your business.
To start, let’s define reputation – especially in business. The Oxford Dictionary defines the term as "the beliefs or opinions that are generally held about someone or something." So basically, your reputation is what people say about you when you’re not there to hear them. A bad reputation can sink your business – but a great reputation can give your brand a competitive advantage. If you leverage PR to build a thought-leadership profile, suddenly, your company is the one to turn to for solutions.
To build thought-leadership for your entrepreneurial company, check out our top PR tips for entrepreneurs.
Craft Compelling Speaking Topics
Want to get noticed? Get on the speaker track. With more events than ever going virtual, geography and travel aren’t an issue – and there is more time to fill to keep people engaged online. That’s why speaking engagements are a top tip for entrepreneurs looking to improve their PR game.
So put together some killer speaking topics that highlight your passion and your expertise. Aim for at least three different relevant topics that both highlight what you do well – AND offer new insight or learning for the audience.
The best speaking pitches include your qualifications, and very clearly lay out 3-5 actionable insights, tips, or learnings that they audience will gain by listening to you. It is also worth investing in a video of yourself speaking. A good videographer can help you put together a reel that builds excitement and shows how you might connect with an audience.
Build Your Media List
What audiences are you trying to reach? (Don’t forget potential partners, employees, referral sources – your audience is more than just potential customers!) Once you identify them, find the publications they read regularly and start researching them.
Your list could include: relevant industry publications, sites, and blogs; local business press; national business press; vertical publications for your prospects’ industries. A strong media list is one of the most important tools for entrepreneurs looking to build a thought-leadership profile through strategic PR.
So now that you know which publications can help you tell your story and build your profile…
Start Reading Regularly
Know who covers your industry at your local business journal. Get familiar with the ways different reporters cover your competitors and partners. Learn which types of stories seem to get the most comments on your favorite news site.
And while you’re at it – start following the reporters you care about on social media – and interact with them. Comment on their stories, respond to their Tweets, show them you are reading their work and are familiar with what they care about. This will help you craft compelling pitches AND position you as a resource. They are much more likely to respond to your pitches if they already have a relationship with you – and you seem engaged, not just looking for a quick hit.
Learn How to Write a Useful Press Release
I actually thought about NOT including this tip – because press releases are tough. Companies come to us all the time and say “we have a press release that we need to get out,” but when we dig in, we learn that it’s not really very newsworthy.
At their best, press releases help reporters do their jobs. They aren’t looking for fluffy marketing language, or a document written by a committee that has massaged the “messaging” so much that the first paragraph is almost indecipherable.
Make sure important information is easy to find – and quickly identifiable. Tie the news to a trend if possible. Include third party quotes. Make it readable. And if you do nothing else well, use the quote strategically.
“We are so happy to be working with partner company X,” is a throwaway. “Our company is experiencing 300 percent growth this year as a result of our move to X new trend, working with Partner Company Y” tells a story and positions the spokesperson as a much stronger player in the industry.
And finally, when it comes to press releases, be ready to accept it if the thing you are really excited about just isn’t press release material. With a strategic PR partner, entrepreneurs can find another way to tell the story!