The ‘Big Easy’ of Thought Leadership

As you’ve probably heard, there’s a lot of media out there: websites, podcasts, webinars, guest blogs, online mags…even radio and television.  Most of them have two things in common — lots of space to fill and very little money.  And your organization can be the answer to their programming prayers.

Step 1: Identify your media-ready “talent”

You might hurt some feelings in the process, but be tough-minded about who in your company will represent your organization best.  It’s not generally the CEO.  And it’s never the CFO.  Some might point to the “PR spokesperson.” But they don’t get called “corporate mouthpieces” for nothing.

No, your search starts and ends with the most articulate, best-informed, most charismatic folks in your office.  The one who seems to draw a crowd at lunch or the one who manages to conduct meetings in which no one’s texting, let alone nodding off.

Step 2: Define their relevant expertise

The key word there is “relevant.”  Your  media-ready star may know all there is to know about flow charts or selling widgets or telling great jokes — but such authorities aren’t much in demand.  You need someone who can deliver one of your key, well, deliverables.

Step 3: Think like your customer

Know your customer.  Be your customer.  Now, what’s important to you? What gets your attention? If your company sells insurance, what do you need to know about your insurance choices? If your organization promotes dentistry, what foods promote good dental health?  If you represent a college, do you have a professor who can help explain Brexit?  And if you don’t know what Brexit is, well, you need to pay more attention.

Step 4: Identify your media opportunites 

Check with your colleagues. Search the web. Ask your friends.  Who’s talking or writing about the type of stuff your company does?  Unless your firm produces movies or TV shows, celebrity-focused media are unlikely to be interested. This is where your customer research become critical.  Maybe NPR is a better bet.  Or maybe someone is blogging about consumer issues, something your organization knows about?

Step 5:  Mix ‘n match your stars ‘n topics

Make two lists — one of your potential media stars and another of the topics your organization can best deliver to the media. Compare the two, talk to the folks on your first list, and hope you find some matches.* If not, return to step one and look again.

Step 6: Get these crazy kids together

Prepare a media list based on your findings in Step 4.**  Get the info about your company’s media-ready stars and their expertise into the right hands.  Remember, many media folks are busier than you. Many are definitely lazier than you.  They may not care about your organization, but they definitely care about what they do.  Bring them what they need and you’ve made an important friend.  And make sure your boss gets a transcript, tape etc.

* Some organizations pay employees for media appearances.  It sounds nice, but it can invite less-qualified staffers to look for a payout of their own.  But money is also a motivator.  Your call.

**How to contact the media is a process in itself…big enough for another blog post to come.






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