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How to go beyond thought leadership to become an industry-leading voice

As a savvy marketer, you understand the importance of thought leadership and what it is and isn’t. It’s why you’re reading this blog post. You’re seeking a new approach to building a thought leadership program.

Clients often come to Inprela wanting to become a leading voice on key industry trends and the go-to brand for their customers’ top problems. They want thought leadership and brand awareness but may not understand what it takes to truly own share of voice, change the way their audience thinks, or create a whole new category.

Becoming a leading voice in the industry requires commitment and investment to sharpening your narrative, building influence, and changing the conversation with an always-on, pervasive program. Your brand must show up when and where the conversations are happening and have a unique, compelling point of view backed by data.

Inprela has developed a unique approach that helps brands enhance their narrative to disrupt the conversation, breaking through the noise in the market, and stand out as a leading voice.

  1. Discovery and insights
  2. Problem-Solution Narrative
  3. Uncover where the conversations are happening
  4. Identify when and how to own the conversation

Discovery and insights

First, we assess the landscape and market. The goal is to uncover insights on how others are framing the problem and identify opportunities for us to uniquely leverage.

  • Gather data and market insights to understand opportunities and white space for your brand to influence and lead the conversation.
  • Analyze competitors’ content, messaging and channels to carve out a niche.
  • Interview or conduct research on customers and prospects to learn (or confirm) what resonates with them and identify (or confirm) what channels they’re using to find solutions to their problems.
  • Audit your existing content to understand what’s working, what’s not and what needs to be updated.

Problem-Solution Narrative

Once we have gathered data and distilled insights, we build a Problem-Solution Narrative.

Every thought leadership narrative must start with a problem.

Why?

Because before I can believe your product can solve my problem, we must first have a shared understanding of what that problem is.

It seems obvious—but many brands fail here. They either don’t do it at all, or they do it very poorly. They can’t articulate the problem in a clear and compelling way.

The book Play Bigger says it this way: “When someone can articulate your problem, you believe that person must have the solution.” As the authors brilliantly explain, whoever frames the problem has the best chance of winning because understanding someone’s problem opens them up to your way of thinking.

The second critical part of your narrative is the solution. You must describe your solution to the problem in a broad, visionary way. It has to be compelling enough that people think: “I need that.”

The Problem-Solution Narrative has value way beyond PR. It’s an effective way to start every keynote presentation, sales meeting and investor pitch meeting.

Uncover where the conversations are occurring

The places where conversations happen in today’s connected world are vast, from traditional media to events (both virtual and in-person) to social media. Uncovering where your company needs to be showing up will take some investigation.

  • What media outlets (e.g., daily, business, trade) cover these topics and are important to your company?
  • Who (e.g., influencers, your internal subject matter experts) is speaking about these topics and, ideally, aligns with your why?
  • Where are the conversations happening (e.g., media, tradeshows, webinars, social media, etc.)?

Identify when and how to contribute to the conversation

At this point, you should know what challenges your customers face, how your company solves them, and where conversations on these challenges are happening. With these pieces, you are ready to determine when, how and where to contribute to these conversations.

  • When: The timing can vary by topic and your readiness to engage in the conversations. The objective, however, is to raise the volume of the conversation if it’s low or have your voice heard if the volume is high.
  • How: You need to decide who will help you tell these stories. Inside your organization, you are looking for subject matter experts who are informed on one or more of your topics and comfortable engaging in them. Outside of your company, identify partners (e.g., customers, industry analysts, influencers, etc.) who can help amplify your company’s unique point of view. 
  • Where: Most important is showing up consistently in the places your customers are looking.

Being an industry-leading voice requires an always-on effort

Becoming a leading voice requires commitment and investment to nurturing ongoing, focused thought leadership—a luxury many corporate teams don’t have due to competing priorities or lack of specialized skillsets.

Working with a content strategy and PR partner can expedite this process and augment your internal team’s efforts. This is what companies hire Inprela for.  

Are you ready to become a leading voice? Contact us today: connect@inprela.com

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