Whether you’re a growing brand or one that’s established and at the forefront—brand trust will always be top of mind.

Sixty-two percent of communicators state their top goal for thought leadership is establishing trust, followed by becoming an influencer (22 percent), establishing authority (ten percent) and finally disrupting their industry (six percent).*

This signifies to us that while there may be several objectives towards refining or establishing a thought leadership program—at the end of the day—trust in a brand is by far the main objective. Gaining trust from your audience is no easy feat. Your brand needs to remain insightful, consistent, available and easily accessible. Truly integrated with all forms of PR, content marketing, social media and beyond.

Thought leadership and content marketing should be tightly aligned to establish your brand as a go-to resource. Embrace the variety of content people can get inspired from—whether it’s visual (think: infographics, Slideshares), audio (think: webinars or podcasts) or the written word (think: whitepapers, blog posts)—you must cater to all of them.

However, now you’re faced with prioritization, execution and measurement. How could you possibly decide where to start? Do you have the right foundation to explore these endless opportunities? Do you have the right team, skillsets, partnerships, advocacy programs and tools in place?

Your brand is certainly capable of establishing trust through thought leadership, but there is a winning formula that will get you there.

PAN Communications has recently developed a 5 Step-guide to your next thought leadership program that will seamlessly integrate into your ongoing communications strategy.

Here’s a breakdown of what you can expect:

Chapter 1: Analyzing & Assessing Your Brand’s Credibility

It all starts with knowing exactly where your brand stands as a thought leader in your industry. There’s only one way to identify your mark: assess and analyze. PAN’s integrated assessment is a great first step in this approach.

Chapter 2: Solidifying Your Brand’s Messaging & Positioning

This sets you apart from your competition. The key here is to be clear, concise and consistent. Your brand should have a key differentiator to ensure message pull-through with media, influencers and analysts.

Chapter 3: Building Your Thought Leadership Program

Having a successful thought leadership program starts with the right team, skillsets and tools. Once your team is in place, they must delegate and divide responsibility so that your brand is reaching and influencing your primary target audience. Look to your Subject Matter Experts (SMEs), employee advocates, customer advocates and influencers.

Chapter 4: Increase Awareness by Partnering with Your Brand Advocates

After accomplishing a solid foundation for your thought leadership program, it’s time to amplify your efforts. This can be done in two ways: 1) associate your brand with industry influencers to establish credibility and create content; 2) use your most loyal customers to advocate for your brand and develop content funneled through a ‘Voice of the Customer’ (VoC) initiative.

Chapter 5: Measure the Results of your Thought Leadership Success

Measurement should be driven by customer satisfaction. If your goal was to establish trust with your customers and prospects, then your measurement efforts should portray how far you’ve come since you started your program. Get right to the results that matter.

By utilizing content marketing throughout your thought leadership program, your brand will become a key resource, a trusted brand and an industry expert. The ripple effect of these efforts can also jumpstart an increase in employee advocates, recruits and partnerships. You’re your key stakeholders establish trust with your brand, the opportunities are endless.

* Data based on 2200 participants in a Twitter poll via @PANcomm

Getting to the peak of trust with a thought leadership program

This article originally appeared on the PAN Communications blog; reprinted with permission.

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Mark Nardone

Mark Nardone

A 20+ year PAN Communications veteran, Mark oversees the firm’s strategic focus across business development and brand marketing efforts. @markcnardone

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