The Fastest Way To Position Yourself As A Thought Leader (And How to Do It)

You’re an expert. Of course you are! And I’m guessing more than an expert, you’re a thought leader. You have something unique to share with the world, right? But how do you position yourself as a thought leader? There are a number of ways to make that happen, but one of the fastest strategies is PR. It’s quite simple: if a top-tier media outlet is looking to you for advice, you’re seen as an expert in that field or arena. Make sense?

As a PR firm, it’s our job to connect the media with key thought leaders to support the stories they want to tell—and we love doing it! Now, you may be wondering why I didn’t say, “It’s our job to connect experts to the media coverage they want.” Quite simply, that’s not how PR works.

It’s Not About What You Want; It’s About What the Media Wants

One of my favorite things I tell clients (because it has them go “hmmm”) is while they’re paying us, we really work for the media. This might seem like a strange way to look at PR, but it’s the truth. We learned early on that making the media’s job easier will ultimately produce the results our clients are looking for.

Don’t you love it when you’re crazy busy and seemingly out of nowhere the universe delivers exactly what you need? So does the media. It has them stand up and take notice. And having the media pay attention to you is crucial to getting your message out into the world. (Hopefully that’s why you’re reading this article.)

There are many ways to get the media to notice you, but we’ve found the best way is by being in the right place, at the right time, with the right message. Sounds simple, but what does this look like in real life?

If you’re like me, you want to see real world examples. Here are some case studies outlining strategies our Wasabi Publicity team uses to grab the media’s attention and secure placements that make our clients happy.

Ready-to-Use Quote Landed Fast Company

I think you’re seeing a theme here: Give the media what they want and they’ll give you what you want. When we’re training people to master the PR game, the one thing we strongly encourage is to look at the world from the media’s perspective. We drive home the point, the media need what they need, when they need it. In other words, if you want to land top-tier media coverage, you must make yourself and your materials available at the drop of a hat.

There are a variety of things the media may need immediately, including your bio, photos, logo, book cover, interview questions, etc. Other times, a ready-to-use quote from a trusted expert is all that’s required to fulfill a request. A great example of this is when our team received an incoming lead from a journalist working on an article for Fast Company.

Our client Anne Grady is an internationally renowned speaker, author and organizational communication consultant. Her inspiring talks have made her a favorite speaker for corporations and organizations of all kinds. Fortunately, Anne hired us to create her online press kit. As part of that process, we placed Anne’s owned media materials on an internal server accessible only to Anne and our team of PR professionals.

When the Fast Company journalist came looking for a relevant expert, we had digital copies of Anne’s books at the ready and we provided just the quote the journalist needed to round out her article. Having the materials on hand to provide a ready-to-use quote and keeping an eye on the developments of incoming media leads led to a major media placement for Anne.

Anne was happy and the media was happy. And that’s what makes us tick here at Wasabi.

Reader’s Digest: Know What the Media’s Audience Wants

It’s clear from Anne’s example that being prepared and anticipating what the media will need is very important. The key is knowing what would make a difference for their audience. A recent Reader’s Digest placement we scored is a perfect example of this.

Dr. Bradley Nelson is a world-renowned holistic physician and author. We received an incoming lead from Reader’s Digest and Dr. Brad was the perfect fit. Just like with Anne, we’d done the prep work and had all Dr. Bradley Nelson’s materials at the ready to pitch him as the ideal thought leader for their upcoming story. The key, however, was to get this venue reader-friendly tips that matched their audience’s interest and the style of the magazine.

One of the media’s major pet peeves is to be pitched something that’s off-topic for them or their venues. So, the recipe for PR success (which you can do for yourself), is to respond promptly and translate your expertise into relevant, audience-friendly tips that are just the right fit for the venue.

Knowing how to match the media’s need for expertise as well as the style of content they required successfully secured this Reader’s Digest placement.

Patience and Planting the Seeds Landed US News & World Report

Another essential element for success is to consistently plant the seeds of possibility. When media requests come in, we’re constantly responding to those requests by placing our client front and center in the media’s mind. While this often can and does result in a placement, there is another huge benefit that occurs even when a placement doesn’t: awareness.

  • PR Plants Seeds for Media to Harvest 

For financial security expert and author Pamela Yellen, trumpeting her as our expert in response to incoming leads led to such an awareness for one US News & World Report journalist. While she didn’t use our expert upon the initial response to her incoming query, she remembered our contact and saved our information for a later date in case she needed it. That time came a few months later and the journalist was able to easily search her inbox for the expert she needed.

That’s when everything could have gone awry if Pamela didn’t have a strong online press kit and all her owned media on hand. We quickly and easily got the journalist the specific tips she needed for her piece.

We plant the seeds, then when the media comes back on their own timetable to harvest what we’ve sown, the fruit needs to be at the ready for them to pick.

The Moral of the Story is Simple

As with these examples, there are a few keys to success. First, always be prepared. Think ahead and have everything the media will need ready at their fingertips for when they need it. We keep ourselves and our clients organized and wow the media by creating powerful online press kits. This makes responding to a media lead on very short notice possible. It’s the secret sauce in our recipe for success. Second, make bringing value to the media a top priority. Adjust your message to the venue’s audience and you’ll grab the media’s attention and land the placements you desire. Lastly, be patient and persistent, even when the result isn’t immediate. Plant seeds of awareness which can pay off down the line.

I hope I’ve driven home this major point: If you’re doing PR, you need to change your mindset from “What can the media do for me?” to “What exactly can I do for the media?”

When I think about this moral, it applies to more than PR… it applies to life.

By | 2017-11-06T08:59:11+00:00 November 30th, 2017|

About the Author:

For 30 years, Drew Gerber has been inspiring those who want to change the world. As the CEO of Wasabi Publicity, Inc., lauded by the likes of PR Week and Good Morning America, he sparks "aha" conversations that lead to personal and business success. His PR firm is known for landing clients on Dr. Phil, Oprah, Anderson Cooper, The Wall Street Journal, Inc., Entrepreneur, and other top media outlets. Wasabi Publicity lives to launch conversations that make a difference and change the world.

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