An increasing number of B2B businesses and their leadership teams are seeking to establish themselves as ‘thought leaders’ or the ‘go-to’ organisations for commentary and opinion-forming within their niche of the short-term rental industry.
To be a clear specialist and leader in your company’s segment of hospitality technology, property technology or enterprise property management is often a core goal of a PR strategy.
Having a thought leadership strategy is a fundamental tool for B2B public relations, with most companies looking to develop their public-facing expertise strategically as a way of gaining a competitive edge.
After all, according to The Economist Groups’ ‘Thought Leadership Disrupted’ report; marketers see ‘thought leadership’ as a flexible strategy that can help with a range of goals including differentiation, recognition for company or individuals, building brand awareness, increasing revenue, paving the way for a change of direction or entry into a new market or supporting a policy agenda.
Thought leadership is all about having the answers to the fundamental questions that are of concern to your buyers as well as having the ability to include your own unique perspective on topics that are relevant in the industry.
Also according to The Economist Group, after consuming compelling thought leadership, seven in ten executives will consume more from that same source; 76% are influenced in their purchasing decisions, 67% would be willing to advocate for that brand and 83% are influenced in the choice of a potential business partner.
In order to develop a winning thought leadership strategy, there are five key elements that work together to help create and maintain momentum and ensure that what you are producing and delivering is innovative, big picture, credible and transformative:
Creating consistent, compelling and first-rate content
A thought leader positioning is not created in a vacuum. It requires context as well as having a solid body of evidence to show ‘proof’ of your expertise. This body of evidence is best proven through producing enticing, interesting and thought-provoking content.
This content can be in the form of LinkedIn articles, blog posts, research papers, white papers or vlogs. The key though is that it is quality and well executed.
Using media relations as a tool for showcasing your ideas and insight is also key. Having opinion editorials and by-lined articles featured in trade and business media is an important vehicle for transporting your insight beyond your own networks.
Speaking with authority at conferences
Experts within a field of knowledge who are happy to share that knowledge with their peers make great speakers. Why? Because they add value to the pool of understanding, as well as move on understanding and help to improve ‘best practice’. Any significant thought leadership strategy also needs to include a robust speaking schedule.
A thought leader who can also speak beyond their niche subject and discuss ‘higher level’ issues, challenges, trends, legislation and other topics within a larger travel and tourism context, is usually in demand.
There are now plenty of opportunities to provide your unique insight by speaking at the growing number of conferences and events servicing the short-term rental industry.
Providing insight and opinion to the press
It takes time and consistency to build relationships with the media and for them to trust you as a ‘go-to’ authority on your subject or a theme within the industry. However, once that trust has been built, journalists tend to be loyal to the sources they use for opinion and commentary around topics that are of interest to their audiences.
By working with a PR agency and participating in press interviews and regularly briefing journalists on relevant company announcements is a great way of building rapport. Once an interview has been secured, ensure that you provide helpful, insightful commentary and are really easy (and pleasant) to work with.
Using social media to engage in conversations
Opinion formers, policymakers, the media, investors, customers and other stakeholders all use social media to obtain information, make connections, refine their views and to make comments.
Make sure that consistent social media use, especially Twitter and LinkedIn, plays a strategic role in your thought leadership development.
Being a winner (or even a runner-up)
Sponsoring, entering, winning and even being short-listed for relevant industry awards can also add credibility and authority to your thought leadership position.
Some of the challenges to developing a thought leadership strategy include ‘owning your voice’ in a competitive environment. It’s not easy ensuring that your opinion is heard over and above the general noise. However, if you have genuine expertise and are authentic and passionate in what you say and do, then given time and consistency, a well planned and executed thought leadership strategy can really pay off.
About Jessica Gillingham
Jessica is the Director and owner of Abode PR, a specialist PR and content marketing agency partnering with clients operating in the international vacation and short-term rental space. If you’d like to discuss using PR and content marketing to move your business forward, you can contact Jessica by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org