Every company strives to become a thought leader in a certain field or in several fields. Being perceived as a thought leader helps to attract new customers and reassures existing ones that they made the right choice by hiring your firm.
Building a reputation as a thought leader in any field requires a complex strategy that includes event management, social media, speaking engagements, and media presence. This article aims to provide you with ideas and strategies to demonstrate thought leadership through event management.
Why Community Events?
People attend events for various reasons: to gain new knowledge, practice existing skills, and expand their network. While being an active member of various communities denotes your commitments and interests, being the center of a community connotes leadership and authority in a particular field.
By organizing community events, you create a connection with potential customers on a personal level that hardly can be formed as effectively online. Moreover, community events can accomplish two tasks: benefit your existing clients by providing new and useful information and attract new potential clients who are interested in subject matters your business deals with.
What Types of Events Can You Organize?
Thought leadership implies deep knowledge and expertise in an area. Therefore, it is wise to organize events that demonstrate such knowledge: workshops, panels, and lectures. Workshops entail active participants’ involvement; panels bring together several experts covering the area from different angles; and lectures, well, we all know what they are.
The choice of an event type depends on your goals. Workshops will engage and educate the audience; lectures allow you to deep dive into a topic; panels provide a personal perspective and present an opportunity to network with professionals in complementary areas. You can also combine several events—organize a networking event with an engagement piece such as an informal panel, for instance. Don’t adhere to a particular type—approach your field from multiple angles.
How Can You Start?
Divide a paper into three columns. On the right side, list all areas where your firm would like to be perceived as a thought leader and has the necessary expertise. On the left side, list your target audience’s areas of interest. In the middle column, note areas that occur both in the left and right columns—you will focus your events on these areas.
Try to come up with at least five topics in each area. If you can’t come up with five topics, the area might be too narrow to create a series of events around it. Then create a presentation outline, write a short description, and post your event on your website or an online platform, such as Eventbrite.
Bringing people together is a rewarding experience—you expand their and your network, provide useful information, and show your competence. In the era of online communication, a real-world touch in your marketing might add an extra layer of trust to your brand.
About the Author
Anna Slyusareva (@AnnaSlyu) is a marketing professional with a vast experience in developing and executing brand strategy for both Fortune 500 and early-stage startup companies in the U.S., Europe, and CIS.