‘Twas the week before Christmas, and throughout PR world,

Holiday parties were occurring, 2018 plans unfurled.

Sprocket team assembling to craft new years plans,

To ensure success for clients—woman or man(s).

But what, to the team’s wandering eye didn’t appear,

But inclusion of thought leadership in the New Year.

This writer realizes this rhyme is a stretch

And leaves you with this message: Happy Holidays, betch.

Kate Miller here—Sprocket’s Director of Operations. In trying to find a timely hook for the intro of this blog, I’ve mostly just embarrassed myself. The entire point was to talk about thought leadership and how it is absolutely imperative that brands build it into their 2018 plans. It sure wasn’t graceful, but here we are, talking about thought leadership. YAS.

As jargon-y as “thought leadership” sounds, it’s imperative to include it in your 2018 strategy.

Landing thought leadership opportunities isn’t terribly difficult if you’re targeting the right outlets and events, and being realistic about what caliber of events you’re able to achieve. Like with anything else, you need an interesting angle—one that you’re genuinely and authentically able to speak on with authority.

You also have to be able to offer your audience—whether that audience is there IRL, live in front of you, or whether you’re writing bylined content for publication to a media outlet—information they didn’t have before. Whether you’re offering a new line of thinking about a familiar topic, or paving the way in a completely new direction for your industry, you’ve got to have something new to offer.

Identifying what you have to offer to a captive audience is the first step. From there, send a detailed but succinct pitch to editors of publications who accept bylined content and to decision makers for events. Make sure to include the ways your piece or talk will provide a new take for the audience.

Consider guest posting, too, on sites whose focus aligns with yours and whose audience would be interested in what you have to say.

If you can do all that, you need to add thought leadership to your list of professional resolutions for 2018.