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5 Tips To Position Your CEO as a Prominent Thought Leader

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“I want a feature article in The Wall Street Journal.” Almost every PR pro has heard these words from a client at some point in their career. Every CEO wants to be in The New York Times or on Good Morning America, but not all CEOs understand what it takes from their end to reach these goals. A successful PR partnership requires effort from both sides of the team to make these dream placements come true.

Let’s look a little closer at what it takes from a spokesperson to become an established thought leader in your industry (with the help of an awesome PR team, of course).


Hot Takes

Simply agreeing with every other thought leader in your industry and sticking to the status quo won’t get you the attention from reporters you’re after. You must be willing to share somewhat controversial, provocative or unique stances on trending news. Once you secure the interview or commentary request, try incorporating specific, relatable stories or experiences to really stand out and tell a story.



PR takes time – especially for organizations new to PR. It’s important not to discount smaller opportunities like trade publications and podcasts. You’re building a reputation and need to establish credibility in your space first before appearing on the front page of your dream publication. Think of smaller wins as the base of your pyramid before it’s your time to shine at the top.


Informational Meetings With Tier-One Reporters

Reporters need to trust you and understand who you are and what you do before they quote you in a story. Being their go-to source takes time, patience and persistence. As it was once said, you must eat your vegetables before you get dessert. Take as many background interviews as you can, even if they don’t always result in immediate coverage.


Be Quick!

Timing is key when it comes to landing national tier-one coverage. Your PR team will be monitoring the day’s trending news stories and looking for rapid-response opportunities. Help them out by quickly providing quotes to share with reporters when there is breaking news to comment on in your industry.


Social Media Presence

If you want to be a thought leader in your space, it’s critical you’re regularly engaging with reporters, investors, customers and employees on social media. Even if you have no news of your own to share, try to frequently share existing news or blogs and comment on trending topics. When a reporter receives a pitch with your name in it, one of the first things they’ll often do is look at your LinkedIn profile to get a feel for who you are and what you’re passionate about. A polished social media presence ties all your expertise together with a bow.


Next time you think to yourself, “Wow, I really wish we could be featured in Harvard Business Review this quarter,” remember the most successful partnerships are two-way streets with the willingness to be bold coming from both ends. Keep these five keys to success in mind, and together, you and your PR team can turn your dream placements into reality.

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