When people think of PR, they often think about garnering media coverage and critical acclaim for a company or organization’s product or service. Media coverage and third party endorsements are an incredibly powerful tool to boost sales, drive donations, and grow market share. But as a company or organization grows, it is also important, if not expected, for the CEO or executive director to share the spotlight as the face of the brand. “Expert positioning,” as we like to call it, is a facet of an overall PR strategy that builds visibility, credibility, and recognition for the leadership of a company or organization. It is the strategy that gives an organization’s executives the microphone (literally and figuratively) to provide commentary and perspective on national trends, seeks recognition for their accomplishments as a leader, and creates avenues to share their voice and vision within an industry. Here are a few strategies that fall under the expert positioning umbrella that will put your CEO in the spotlight.
Contributed Articles – An organization’s CEO is an expert in their field – both at running an organization and at selling a product or service within a specific industry. Writing and publishing articles is a fantastic way to build recognition for their leadership and to share their voice and vision. Byline articles (articles in which you are the author) can cover a wide range of topics and can be specific to an industry and thus shared with trade publications or as a unique one-off article for mainstream media. Alternatively, a CEO can comment on general business practices, not specific to his/her industry, for publication within business-focused media. Contributed articles typically include a short bio of the author and a link to their corporate website which creates great backlinks, searchability, and builds clout for corporate leadership.
Opinions Matter – As a leader in their field, CEOs and executive directors should join the conversation on matters of local and national interest pertaining to their field. PR professionals should work constantly to identify opportunities for leadership to join a conversation where they can provide valuable expertise and advice. These opportunities come in the form of proactive pitching of leadership as expert resources to media professionals who cover specific topics or stories and finding opportunities for leadership to respond to existing pieces of media coverage in the form of op-eds and letters to the editor.
Take Home the Gold – Award opportunities exist in every industry and for every field, both at the local and national levels. We recommend creating a list of each opportunity (there are many, it is hard to keep track!) and a calendar of submission deadlines and submit leadership for any and all awards, year after year, until they take home the coveted award. It often takes several submissions to garner a win, so this strategy is certainly a long game but serves to build clout and recognition where deserved.
Grab the Mic – Speaking opportunities are another great way to get C-level executives and directors into the spotlight. Along with awards, speaking opportunities are endless but require diligent, ongoing outreach over the course of months and years to secure opportunities. Once secured, speaking opportunities are a fantastic way to share the expertise of leadership, position them as leaders in their fields, and again build cloud and increase searchability.
As a combined effort, these strategies work to showcase the expertise and thought-leadership of executives. They build clout for brands, create endless media opportunities, and help increase visibility for organizations on a holistic level. We always recommend including expert positioning as part of an overall PR strategy because it helps to humanize brands by sharing the voice of the leader behind the company, which in turn helps build alignment and brand loyalty.
Diana Crawford is a seasoned public relations consultant with more than 15 years of agency, consulting, and in-house experience. She joined Orapin in 2013 and manages account services and client communications strategy development. She has worked across a variety of sectors and has expertise with professional services, food/alcohol, health and wellness, lifestyle, sports, education, tech, and non-profit industries.