Thought leaders are people whose views on a subject are authoritative and influential.  They write white papers, conduct research, analyze data and offer opinion and commentary.  Their expertise enhances the reputation of any organization — obtaining new customers, engaging existing ones and bringing the media data they can use in stories.

Download PDF of this issue: 5 steps to become an industry thought leader

Take advantage of this gateway to media and influencers.  Develop a thought leadership campaign to showcase what you know.

Step 1: Content Creation … white papers, studies, surveys and reports
Research and data are at the core of an effective thought leadership campaign.  It could start with a research paper.  For example, our firm worked with the USC Marshall School of Business and Professor Linda Hagen this month to get media attention for her study on portion control and weight.  The findings have been posted online by the Journal of Marketing Research, “Rejecting Responsibility: Low Physical Involvement in Obtaining Food Promotes Unhealthy Eating,” and will appear in print in an upcoming issue.

Step 2: Pitch media and influencers
Share thought leadership materials with media and influencers and offer interviews with the expert.  OWC has secured stories in Forbes, “4 Tips To Help You Keep Your Resolution To Eat Healthier And Lose Weight,” and The Wall Street Journal, “To Avoid Unhealthy Snacks, Science Says Serve Yourself” about Hagen’s report.  We use the print stories to reach out to television and radio.  Target bloggers and influencers on LinkedIn and Twitter to spread the word to their audiences.

Step 3: Keep it going
Thought leaders report regularly.  Build a following by publishing quarterly or semi-annually to create anticipation for the next report.  OWC works with EY to position partners as thought leaders on venture capital and IPOs throughout the West Coast on a quarterly basis.  Partners are routinely quoted in the Los Angeles Times, San Diego Union-Tribune, Seattle Times, business journals and on radio and television.

Step 4: Speaking increases your value
Thought leaders are also sought-after speakers.  Speaking, according to Warren Buffett, increases your value by 50 percent.  Speaking brings new customers, referrals and insight.  Thought leadership content can be repurposed for webinars, panel discussions, industry conferences or even within your own organization at other offices or to a sales team.  Alumni groups host webinars and want to spotlight alumni who have become thought leaders within your own organization.

Step 5: Bylines/guest articles fine-tune messaging
The content created can be used for bylined articles for industry trade publications, blogs and newsletters — all published under the thought leader’s name.  Give readers information they don’t know and knowledge they can’t buy.  A recent byline placed by OWC in The Accountant focuses on BEPS, the most comprehensive change in international taxation history.  Write what you know, and share all articles on social media and in the company’s eNewsletter.

As thought leaders on thought leadership, we’re here to brainstorm ideas that will drive revenue for your business.

This Wall Street Journal article reports on a USC Marshall study, expanding its reach and optimizing online searches.