Thought leadership has become a big part of organizations’ communications mix, even for companies like our clients who are selling solutions to government agencies and other businesses, especially here in DC. The idea behind thought leadership is to take the focus away from products and direct it towards the underlying issues that our clients’ solutions address. Thought leadership is a great way for companies to participate in, if not lead, the discussions in their industries. And there is arguably no better way to do this than to host an event.
We recently supported one of our client’s events and it reinforced why this tactic is so successful in achieving goals aimed at thought leadership.
- The Breadth of Reach – Even though the event is a singular tactic, it reaches influencers in multiple, different ways. This particular event had over 1,000 attendees in person and reached over 180,000 potential readers through articles written by media who attended and over 9,000 followers on social media from Twitter traffic.
- The Shelf Life – Similarly, while the event itself may quickly come and go, the impact it has on the website, in articles and on social media lasts forever.
- The Value of Face Time – Events are successful tactics for numerous goals because physically bringing together stakeholders for some good-old-fashioned face time is still beneficial. Aside from the benefit of bringing together customers and executives, events give media the opportunity to see and speak directly with these customers and executives. Speakers that are industry influencers can also provide an initial draw for attendees, particularly media. In addition, events provide more casual relationship building time with the PR team.
- The Control of Messaging – From a PR perspective, it is not every day that clients get to talk about what they want to talk about (and, more importantly, not talk about what they don’t want to talk about). But events give you that control. It should go without saying that events should focus on topics and include speakers that are of interest to an organization’s stakeholders. And, as always, one should be prepared to answer tough questions whenever working with media.
In spite (or maybe because) of our virtual connectedness, in-person events still bring value to companies. When it comes to establishing and building thought leadership, events provide a solid venue for reaching many stakeholders in multiple ways and for a longer period of time. Events also bring together stakeholders that don’t usually have a lot of time together and provide a platform for organizations’ main issues.
Is your company hosting events to drive thought leadership? Leave a comment below, or tweet us at @RHStrategic with the hashtag #RHetoricBlog. We’d love to hear from fellow PR professionals and journalists alike.
RH Strategic is the PR firm for a hyper-connected world, delivering integrated media, social & digital strategies for technology, healthcare, and public sector markets.