How to become a thought leader – part 4 – Developing original content

“Content is king” is a longstanding mantra in the marketing industry, and creating and publishing original material is a proven strategy for attracting prospects and standing out from the crowd. Indeed, our research found that the vast majority of IT security decision makers would be more likely to work with vendors that publish thought leadership.

As you continue to develop your company’s thought leaders, having them play a leading role in your content, or even independently publishing their own, can be an extremely effective way of boosting their reputation and influence in the cyber security industry.  

There are multiple different kinds of content and outreach strategies that can help to develop your thought leaders. Some of the most valuable include:

Marketing collateral

Thought leaders have a major role to play in marketing collateral, as having content spearheaded by an individual will give it more personality and help it stand out against most generic items. This can include everything from authoring blogs on industry trends, producing how-to videos, or contributing to eBooks and white papers.

In addition, they can strengthen their reputation further by producing their own content for their personal social media channels or websites. However, a balance needs to be struck around independent content matching the tone of the company, particularly if the content involves contentious subjects such as nation state cyber security. 

Original research

Our research found that 83 percent of decision makers believe originality to be one of the biggest factors in good thought leadership content, and this is particularly true when it comes to original research. Your thought leaders can help to increase the value of original research, such as the discovery of vulnerabilities and zero days, by acting as spokespeople to explain key trends and deliver your message or delve into the details if they have in-depth expertise.

More technically hands-on thought leaders who undertake their own personal research, such as dismantling new malware or analysing attack techniques, can again continue to boost their reputations by publishing findings on their own personal channels.  

Editorial coverage

As mentioned previously, securing coverage in the media is an effective way of building your thought leader’s reputation and delivering your key message to your audience. Depending on their availability, expertise and communication skills, your thought leaders can brief journalists over the phone or via written comments, contribute byline articles, give quotes in press releases, or even appear in broadcast interviews.  

Book writing 

A particularly knowledgeable and passionate expert can take things to the next level and publish their own book on cyber security issues. Again depending on their own expertise and background this could cover anything from insight into security trends to a more technical look at specific areas.

Launching a successful book is a major milestone on the way to become a true industry guru.  

Speaking engagements 

Giving presentations and taking part in panel discussions for live audiences is an excellent way of building a reputation as an industry expert. This can include company engagements such as webinars and events, before moving into more larger opportunities through third parties such as industry bodies. Speaking at industry events such as Infosecurity or other more general platforms such as TED Talks is a fantastic way of reaching a new audience.  However, being invited to present free keynote speaking slots will require a strong enough reputation to attract large crowds, as well as truly original research or fresh insights. 

Social media

For any company, having a presence on key social platforms has become an obligatory part of the marketing mix, and the same goes for thought leaders. LinkedIn and Twitter are particularly well suited for sharing content and engaging directly with prospects and other key influencers including journalists. Effectively managing social accounts is time consuming, so managing activity through a specialist can be beneficial, although it’s important for the thought leader’s individuality to shine through.

Join us next time for the fifth and final post in this series, where we’ll be discussing how to combine everything and start levelling up your thought leaders’ status.

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éclat Marketing boosts its top team as it targets burgeoning UK cyber security sector

How to become a thought leader – part 3 – Define your message