A thought leadership strategy is "a core part of an integrated PR program," Ruder Finn group VP of corporate media Jess Muldoon tells Doug Simon.

"What I mean by that," she adds, "is really thinking about how they want to communicate their vision and their unique value proposition and connect that back to key moments in time throughout the year."

The starting point to get clients involved in developing a thought leadership strategy, Muldoon says, is "really identifying what is the core mission and vision that they want to get across and then using their CEO voice to really get that across and humanize it."

Ruder Finn uses several ways to get that process going. "What we like to do is start by having a deep dive story mining session with the CEO and understanding what are the unique anecdotes or proof points that really bring to life their unique leadership approach and style and what they want to achieve with their vision that connects back to their business objectives and their strategy," she says.

Shifting patterns in the media landscape are having a major impact on the development of thought leadership strategies, Muldoon tells Simon. "You still have your traditional print, online broadcast outlets and stations that will always remain important and relevant and our table stakes to reach. But it's also important to consider how there's become a rise in journalists as their own brands and stars, and they have great influence and reach with audiences that follow their coverage and content."

Also, with the rise of platforms such as LinkedIn and Tiktok as news sources, "it's all about understanding where the journalists are reporting and how people are getting their news. It's about understanding where a business's target audience is getting their news and how that will then inform your strategy."

Muldoon stresses the importance of owned media in the thought leadership mix. "Owned is essential for an organization, where no longer is it enough to just rely on earned media to get across your communications objectives," she tells Simon. "You need to have a strategy that factors in earned, owned and even paid where it makes sense based on your business needs and campaigns or stories."

At the root of the process, she says, is "really just having an always-on approach and mindset to seek out opportunities for proactive content, for thought leadership that ties back to the brand's core values and breaks through the noise for them. Always look out for opportunities where you can help insert a CEO or their thought leadership team into the narrative and into larger news, trends and opportunities."

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Interested in taking part? Contact Doug Simon at [email protected]

D S Simon Media helps clients get their stories on television through satellite media tours and by producing and distributing content to the media. The company also produces live social media events.