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Thought leadership: The four Rs for PRs

Thought leadership - this could be the secret ingredient that turns a PR recipe from ordinary to extraordinary. The iResearch Services' survey of 4,000 business leaders from 22 countries, confirms something that the PR industry has always believed in, but not always had the numbers to back up: thought leadership should be at the heart of media relations campaigns.

Our definition of thought leadership is a way to present innovative thinking and communicate expertise and insights through a variety of media and content types.

The reasons why thought leadership is so important in a PR context can be broken down into Reputation, Relationships, Revenue, and Real World Impact.

Reputation - The primary goal of PR is to create positive media narratives and improve corporate reputation. Our research shows that nearly 60% of respondents believe that thought leadership builds brand sentiment. Data has an important role to play here - more than half of respondents that engage with thought leadership say they are more likely to trust research-led content.

Relationships - Thought leadership can help you reach new audiences. Not just potential clients, but journalists too. The insights that can be drawn from thought leadership can be pitched to secure media interviews, bylines and podcast opportunities, and drive that all-important coverage. Once you have built a strong reputation as a firm that produces quality thought leadership and data insights, expect to see an increase in inbound media requests.

Revenue - A common challenge for PRs is to prove the value of their efforts. Fortunately, nearly 60% of those surveyed say that thought leadership positively affects their company’s revenue through customer/prospect conversations, and almost half of respondents that read thought leadership say it leads their decision-making.

Real World Impact - The business world is becoming increasingly purpose-driven, and journalists are paying attention. Thought leadership can demonstrate your company's position on the issues that increasingly matter to stakeholders. PRs can leverage these views to secure opportunities where spokespeople can expand on these subjects in the media.

If you don't already have a regular flow of thought leadership, reach out to colleagues across your business and find out what topics matter the most to their clients. Too often, thought leadership is viewed as the sole responsibility of PR and marketing teams, but should be driven by subject-matter experts to ensure insights are strong and of genuine interest to the media.

Written by Yogesh Shah, CEO of iResearch Services

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