December 30, 2011

4 Parts Thought Leadership: 1 Part Company/Product Message

A few years ago, I was working with a new spokesperson. The company he worked for was very good at identifying industry trends and a new one was in his sight. We sat down to discuss the impact the trend would have on the industry and what type of content we would need to convince journalists that this was a story they would want to cover. I asked him to describe the situation and he launched into a passionate, detailed discussion on the technical features in the company’s products and the value to customers.

When he was done and looking rather satisfied, I said, “Now tell me again without mentioning your product or company.” I’m not sure I’ve ever seen an executive look so confused and I had to laugh. What I was asking of him was so completely counter-intuitive to what he thought the purpose of the interview would be. Why shouldn’t he discuss the product, isn’t that why companies do media interviews – to create another sales channel? Oh, how misguided!
Photo Credit: STT
I'm not saying that your company and its solutions should never be mentioned. But I am saying that solely focusing on them provides little value to a journalist and their readers. Instead, focus on thought leadership – the ability to discuss industry trends, issues and news in a manner that shares your expert counsel. If you focus on this, you will build a better relationship with the media and the coverage you generate will position you as a valued resource for your customers.


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