Building credibility through op-eds and thought leadership

Why PR is better than a press release - the art of storytelling

Why PR is SO much more than press releases – part II

In a previous post on the subject, our Senior Director, Rebecca Lee, explained that PR is significantly more than just churning out press releases. She noted the importance of, not just storytelling, but of effective, targeted content. Building on that, I want to talk about the importance of op-eds and thought leadership pieces in building credibility and how you can go about it.

First of all, why should you bother? The answer to this is to show off your knowledge, expertise and experience while also providing useful information, this is the foundation of credibility. Credibility boils down to ‘can this person do what they say they can’ or ‘is what they say reliable and factual’. Credibility also ties into awareness and positioning in the market all of which ultimately affects company growth.

Op-ed’s or thought leadership pieces usually take the form of an opinion piece on a recent news story or market trend with the article providing a unique analysis or opinion on it. The value here is that the publication positions the author as an authority or leader on the subject. It is an effective way of not only getting coverage for yourself and your brand but also positioning you as a leader, expert or innovator in the industry.

However, when it comes to putting pen to paper, there are a couple of points to bear in mind. Crucially, any opinion or thought leadership piece shouldn’t be a masters-level thesis on a topic, but rather a general overview or opinion of the issue. Write for your audience and remember, if it takes you a thousand words to get to the point then that’s about five hundred too many. Being concise demonstrates a deeper level of understanding, as does putting things plainly, whilst avoiding jargon or complex metaphors. Don’t be afraid to also provide examples from your own experience rather than 3rd party stories.

By making the text readable and relatable you are growing the readers’ confidence in you as an authority on the subject. Sharing personal learnings or even (a few) failures turns you from a disembodied author into a relatable expert. A bit of humour can also help.

One final point is to involve your PR team at all stages of the process. Ask for advice, get notes, and do edits. This is not about showing how well you can write on your own but about convincing the readers you are an expert who is credible and worthy of every media opportunity that comes their way.

John Collett

Executive Having joined ClearStory from the financial services regulation sector, John provides research and advisory services for early-stage companies.

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