Category Archives: Leadership & Management

It’s not who you know, it’s WHAT you know: why thought leadership is important in the digital age

You have probably heard the term thought-leadership before but what exactly does it mean? As marketing increasingly becomes a more social and interactive affair, the term is branded about even more as further online outlets open up, enabling people to share knowledge and information, and position themselves as experts.

leadershipA thought leader is somebody who is adept at sharing knowledge and is always sharing new information about their industry. They are respected for their ideas, their values and for sharing these in the public domain, on social networking, blogs, in the press and on marketing material. Many people look at these thought leaders and are instantly impressed by them, but in truth they are not doing anything you cannot do yourself.

Go on then, how do I become a thought leader?

Anybody in business can be a thought leader. If you are involved in a business you will already have extensive knowledge of your industry that you can share with others. If you are a company director, nobody will have more knowledge of your business than you do so nobody can better highlight the changing trends within your industry. By sharing these trends and some of your own experience, you are already setting yourself up as a thought leader and the more best practice you share, the more of an audience you will build up of respectful peers.

But I don’t want to give away all my trade secrets…

You don’t have to. You should already understand the major issues that your customers face every day, the issues that your business faces and key trends in your industry. Write regular blogs, share tips on social media or consider putting some material together for your key trade press. Comment on these trends, relate to your own experiences and inform people of how best to deal with certain issues. It is no coincidence that a lot of business and trade press have ‘Ask The Expert’ columns which give advice to readers. This is the kind of thing that people in business like to read. They like to keep abreast of changing trends in their industry, read about other people’s ideas and read about solutions to existing industry issues.

When becoming a thought leader, think about timeliness and relevance. When do your customers experience their main issues? For example, financial advisors have key months of the year when their audiences need more expert and advice than others, when competing tax returns or when there is a major change in legislation. If you have a solid business strategy, you should also have a timeline of events developing that you can refer to for thought leadership material.

Thought leadership works best when you engage your audiences and invite them to engage with you. Ask them for their thoughts and ideas and invite them to share in your own thought leadership – this is a great way of making new business contacts!

How best do I do this thought leadership thing then?

Writing original material about your business in time consuming, and it takes effort, energy and creativity – but the rewards are worth this time and effort. Thought leadership enables you to raise your profile, increase your credibility and reputation, reach and engage with new audiences, generate leads, and in crease your own knowledge by inviting other to engage with you.

At Bridge, we regularly help our clients to position themselves as thought leaders. Here are our top four tips for effective thought leadership:

1.       Take a strategic approach – Decide which topics, themes and issues you want to talk about and tie these in with your key company messages. Consider some of the key words that you will be using. Remember, people that search the web for these words may well come across your thought leadership material!

2.       Create a content calendar – Decide how often to blog, share best practice on social media or create press material. Tie this in with key dates for your industry and plan your content around these dates. Try to stick with this calendar as well as you can.

3.       Blog – If you are new to thought leadership then blogging is a great place to start. There are so many free tools and applications available on the internet now that businesses have no excuse not to be blogging.  Try to stick to a regime of one blog a week to ensure you consistently have fresh content for industry peers to read.

4.       Outsource your thought leadership – Not all business leaders have the time or the writing skills needed to create frequent thought leadership material. The easiest way to resolve this is to work with a reputable agency to translate your industry knowledge into interesting and engaging copy. An additional benefit of outsourcing is that an agency will be better positioned to place your thought leadership material into publications. At Bridge, we regularly receive requests from Editors and journalists looking for issues-based content.

 

Remember – every business owner has the potential to become a thought leader; you just need to spend the time and effort sharing relevant information to your audiences. We can help with this and if you want to ask us more details about how we can help you to become a thought leader, please do contact us on 02476520025. In the meantime, we look forward to reading your thought leadership pieces….

Harness the power of social networking with LinkedIn

There are now over 120 million professionals all over the world using LinkedIn to help grow their business by harnessing the power of online social networking.

Make the LEAP

Originally, LinkedIn was created as a recruitment resource, but has evolved as a major player in business networking and helps businesses in a number of ways…

  • Generating leads
  • Finding suppliers
  • Finding new employees / headhunting
  • Gathering market intelligence
  • Finding answers to questions
  • Staying on track with industry trends
  • Raising awareness of your business, products, services and much more…

 

LinkedIn gives the ability to broaden your networks and connect with people you might never have had the opportunity to link with previously. Since the Internet really took off in the 90s, people have been able to maintain contact with each other far more easily, and it was only a matter of time before people began to make business contacts with the same principle.

Everyone at Bridge has been using LinkedIn for some time now and between us we have acquired a lot of knowledge and expertise about how to get the most from it.

Here are our top tips…

Create a company profile that grabs attention Using the company profile facility means that you have another marketing channel where you can showcase your business and its products and services.  Everyone who connects with you will be able to see what your company offers.  The beauty of business social networking is that it taps into one of the key marketing principles that “people buy from people they know and trust.”

Make your profile 100% complete LinkedIn monitors how complete your profile is on a percentage scale based on work history, education, skills, connections, and recommendations. You should aim to be 100% complete as this optimises all of the functions available.  The aim is to raise the profile of your expertise in your particular industry sector.

Constantly leverage your contacts LinkedIn is very much based around the maxim of ‘it’s not what you know, it’s who you know”, and the connections you make are integral to your business development. There is a ‘degree’ gauge built into the site, where you will be shown how many degrees apart you are from any one contact. For example 1st degree means you know them personally whereas 2nd degree is you know someone who knows them and 3rd degree means they’re a friend of a friend… and so on. This is built on the old adage that everyone is connected by six degrees of separation.

Join relevant groups Another important part of LinkedIn is the ‘group’ section. Arguably one of the most powerful aspects of the networking site, groups allow you to engage with like-minded people in discussions relevant to your aims as a business and your sector as a whole. It can also be a mine of information about your industry, and will help you to keep up with the latest trends. It is a good idea to create your own group as this helps to drive traffic to your site and encourages more people to connect with you as the ‘community leader’.

Become a ‘LinkedIn expert’ Exploit the facility of offering expert advice on LinkedIn as this can help build your profile as an expert in your field, and adds an element of reality to the profile, giving connections reassurance about your business. Regularly check the ‘Questions’ section for subjects relating to your field, and when the person who posted the questions brands you as the best answer you gain a badge on your profile. The more badges you gain then the higher your level of expertise.

Get valuable recommendations These add a level of credibility to your profile or company. The more recommendations you have on your profile, the more people are likely to trust it. However, it is important to gain ‘valuable’ recommendations such as clients and customers who have been involved with your company or have used your services of products.

 

If you would like to become completely ‘social media savvy’ in order to boost your business, then Bridge PR & Media Services are running a series of Social Media Workshops which will teach you the principles of social media marketing, how to use the tools and platforms, and how to measure your success.

Make the LEAP into Social Media – 27th September 2011

Measuring Success – 04 October 2011

Making a Blogging Influence – 11 October 2011

LinkedIn for Business Success – 18 October 2011

Twitter for Business Success – 01 November 2011

Facebook for Business Success – 08 November 2011

 

For further inquiries all you need to do it contact Bridge on 024 76 520025 or email info@bridgepr.co.uk

 

Make the LEAP – Social Media Communications for Business Success

Time is running out to book onto our social media masterclasses.

 

Bridge PR & Media Services Ltd

If you feel that your company has something to shout about but don’t know where to start, or would like to take it that step further then email Bridgit@bridgepr.co.uk for a booking form!

 

 

 

‘Funding cash flows again’

It’s great to see that funding for SMEs is starting to flow again following the recent changes to replace Regional Development Agencies with Local Enterprise Partnerships.

Denise Taylor commercial director of Bridge PR & Media Services Ltd

 

 

Leadership & Management funded training support is now available for company directors and leaders for their personal development and to help them become more effective leaders in their businesses.

 

 

Most of us are fully aware that good communication is vital for every business, irrespective of its size, helping everyone work towards a common goal, reducing sickness absence and reducing staff turnover.  With this in mind, we have created a modular training programme to help businesses develop and implement a highly effective communications strategy.

 

The programme is certainly welcome news, offering up to £1,000 matched grant funding for companies employing 2-249 staff who can demonstrate growth or growth potential. MDs and CEOs of businesses employing less than 50 people are eligible while other senior management will be considered from companies employing more than 50 people.

 

We have a proven track record of helping companies access funding for training, and the latest developments really do offer SMEs the chance not only to just to understand the principles of communication but also arm them with the knowledge to run fully integrated marketing campaigns.

 

Please give me a call on 024 7652 0025 or email me at denise@bridgepr.co.uk to find out more.