Establishing authority of key spokespersons involves four key steps:
1. Content Creation 2. Engagement 3. Promotion, and the most powerful 4. Leverage employee, influencer, brand advocates and partner networks
(Read part 1 to understand how to manage online reputation of key stakeholders by establishing stakeholder identity)
1. Content Creation
Content is the currency for establishing authority online. It could be content you create or content which features you. It has to convey your point of view. It’s not just about creating the content, it’s about ensuring it’s available for consumption in multiple formats. The content needs to be focused on the particular practice, theme or industry in which the spokesperson is trying to establish authority.
There are multiple forms of content, long form(blog posts, articles, presentation slides) or short insights. There are various media formats as well, textual, audio, video.
When building reputation of your key stakeholders in the enterprise your strategy has take into consideration the offline PR activities being undertaken as well. You’d leverage offline PR opportunities as they typically get featured in online versions of popular news sites as well.
There are three core concepts for a successful content strategy, ensuring that it address the customer journey, is sticky and leverages the network effect which I cover below as well.
The challenge with content
You need to create content regularly. Often this is a challenge as key spokespersons may not have the time to do this on a regular basis. Ghost written content based on inputs of key stakeholders is the reality you need to be prepared for. This would involve multiple interviews with spokespersons to know and capture their POV.
Engagement is one of the pillars in establishing authority. Only pushing content online without being available to engage with your audience can be a deal breaker. In the case of key spokespersons this can be challenging.
Here’s the deal, there is a ton of content online and more content being produced each day. Getting your voice out to the correct audience is getting even more difficult each day.
You spend a lot of time on creating your content. You need to spend at least an equivalent or more time in ensuring it reaches out to the right audiences.
Promoting content online, whether it’s via online PR or submissions to repositories and social bookmarking sites is a necessity.
The challenge with promotion is finding the right mix
You can get completely lost in promoting your content across the various social networks, bookmarking sites etc. The reality is you need to experiment and figure out what works for you. There is no silver bullet to ensure that your content reaches the correct audience.
4. Leverage influencer, brand advocates and partner networks
The most powerful leverage you have at the enterprise level is your employees, influencers, brand advocates and partner networks. This is a force multiplier in terms of promoting your content and helping establish yourself as an authority.
The more independent third parties link to you and connect with your primary content, the easier it is to establish your online reputation and authority.
The biggest advantage of working with your networks is the access it provides you to their trusted network. This is the fastest way to reach out to larger audiences via their trusted sources. This additionally helps in automatically increasing your reach and reputation.
How to leverage your networks
Here are a couple of quick ways you can leverage your employees, influencers, brand advocates and partners, collectively referred to as your networks:
– Provide exclusive content which can be released through your networks – This enables you to amplify your messages reach exponentially.
– Exclusive Access – Most influencers and brand advocates want access to the key spokespersons, provide them exclusive access. This enables you to provide engagement in a controlled way and helps in building reputation and authority. This is beneficial even to the networks as they want that exclusive engagement.
As more and more business and individuals publish information online you stand a chance to be lost in the volume of content. Establishing authority of key spokespersons necessitates that you take the four steps of creating content, engaging regularly and promoting by leveraging employee, influencer, brand advocates and partner network.