By Lisa Hester, Senior Account Manager

So you’ve got a client with an exceptional leadership team that is knowledgeable and accomplished in a niche industry and you are tasked with building awareness about the company and its leaders. One important strategy should be to promote the executives in the firm as thought leaders within that industry.Becoming a Thought Leader

A recent article on LinkedIn defines thought leadership as “the process of becoming a leading authority in your chosen industry.”

Sounds pretty simple, right? Yet, becoming a thought leader is a slow process that requires commitment and patience. An individual cannot become a true thought leader with just a couple of articles – and certainly not just by calling themselves one. Building authority takes time.

Here are four steps to start the process of turning your client into a thought leader:

1.) The first step is to identify the leader(s) in the company to promote as a thought leader. Get to know his/her background and experience. Understand thoroughly the person’s accomplishments and areas of expertise. Discuss the topics about which he is comfortable commenting.

2.) In the same way, get to know the industry. Read everything you can from credible sources about what’s on the minds of industry leaders, what’s new and innovative and what the trends and future predictions are about the industry….on a daily basis. Follow the news, read related articles and posts and always, always consider ways your client can submit a comment, offer a rebuttal or piggyback on the content with his own insights.

3.) As you proactively work to create opportunities for your client, create an extensive media list that includes the top media, and the specific reporters, that cover that industry. Then, when pitching the media, highlight your client’s relevant expertise. Spell out clearly why your client is an expert in the industry and share unequivocally his perspective on the topic about which you are pitching.

4.) Understand the importance of keeping the client in the forefront. Find ways through owned content, for example, to highlight the client. Develop company social media platforms (blog, LinkedIn page, Twitter handle, etc.) through which the thought leader can publish new findings, internally generated data and statistics and share his reasoning about the hot topics of the day. Invest in developing Infographics, videos, surveys, case studies and special reports that tag the thought leader and his company as the source. Ensure that the content is accurate, relevant and helpful to the industry. Building trust is an important aspect of becoming a respected thought leader.

At Rountree Group, we help develop thought leaders as part of our everyday client work. Let us help you put your company’s leaders in the spotlight and gain some positive visibility for your company. For more information, contact us at 770-645-4545 or