As a B2B PR specialist most of the work I now do with clients is online, with many different specialist publications aimed at decision makers in each field. Due to the pressures facing journalists of maintaining a 24 hour news and information culture, by-lined articles have become one of the most important B2B PR tactics, with the objective of building the client’s profile as a thought leader. An ability to write good by-lined articles is an essential PR skill and they have become are a primary source of valuable media coverage and publicity.
10 top tips for writing interesting thought leadership articles
1. Discuss interesting topics and issues which affect your clients’ own customers, then identify which are most appropriate to focus on and develop a content calendar. On an ongoing basis, have discussions like this every month to ensure your articles are always topical and ahead of the news agenda.
2. Take time with the initial research stage to uncover recent market data and stats which can be quoted. Ensure the originators are always credited as a source.
3. Look at the different media outlets you want to be publishing your client’s articles when the content marketing gets underway, to ensure you are writing in a style that will fit with their publication.
4. Work closely in partnership with your client to write thought leadership content together, making it really informative and credible, with sound advice being offered. Avoid cliches and buzz words – particularly despised examples are ‘In today’s challenging economic environment’ (yes, sadly people are still using that one), ‘out of the box’, ‘blue skies thinking’, ‘new paradigm’. There are hundreds of these around and they are all an instant turn off.
5. Never attempt to over use (i.e. over place) an article. Each media outlet wants to get the edge over their competitors and this means giving them ‘exclusive’ content. Aim to get a single article topic placed with no more than 3 different and non-competitive media.
6. Try to use case studies and examples wherever possible to illustrate what may otherwise be a very abstract point. Even if they have to be fictitious because the topic is a brand new concept, it will significantly increase the chance of pick up and makes a point more strongly for the reader.
7. Nothing works better in a thought leadership pr campaign than some good solid market research. Budget permitting, try to get the right stats to back up your claims and it will ensure a high level of press coverage.
8. Never use thought leadership as a vehicle for selling, it is purely a profile building and branding exercise. The selling is there, but it is implied. Clients can need a bit of educating about the subtlety required for effective thought leadership pr.
9. Don’t underestimate the potential reach of your content even when working with niche publications. A recent thought leadership article for one client ended up on page one of Google News. Needless to say the editor was pretty chuffed and now wants more content like this.
10. Always ask editors for feedback afterwards if the outcome is not already apparent from the numbers of shares and likes via social media. They will appreciate you want to ensure their readers are happy and that you are thinking about the quality and relevance of content you provide.
2 bonus tips for good thought leadership pr!
Bonus tip 1 – 11. Share links to articles published socially. Your client’s expertise and messages are being given a third party endorsement via a media outlet, so make sure their followers and newsletter subscribers are getting to hear about it too.
Bonus tip 2 – 12. Ask for back links to your clients website if they are not automatically added. It will bring a very valuable SEO benefit coming from a highly ranked, authoritative source and the use of web address is a more natural anchor text in Google’s eyes.
Next time, I will share more ideas for good content marketing with the increasing popularity of B2B infographics – another good tool for thought leadership PR.