This month we launched our Agent99 ‘PR and Marketing Masterclass’ webinar series. Our first episode was ‘How to build thought leadership’ which featured Agent99 Director Sharon Zeev Poole and distinguished author, Ted-X speaker, and ghost-writer Catherine Moolenschot.

If you missed it, make sure you take a listen to the full episode here.

And to make life even easier, we captured a few key points from the episode below:

Some ways in which Agent99 has created thought leadership with numerous clients, as shared by Agent99 Director, Sharon Zeev Poole;

  • There are a few key aspects the we look to off the bat—namely, client objectives (the why factor), the audience you want to target and build (which helps to inform the media outlets and channels we target), the environment the thought leader is operating in (how can we be unique?), and what their key messages and calls to action for the audience are (essentially, what do you want them to do?).
  • After a thorough understanding of these areas, it is then about crafting a plan of attack. This plan may include tactics such as: leveraging expert resources and “news hijacking” to amass media coverage, exploiting successful case studies with interesting hooks and angles, and announcing any key business milestones.
  • A key asset for Agent99 in our endeavours has been creating owned research for the client as a means of creating news hooks and unique content.

How does research help in the realm of thought leadership, you may ask?

  • Having owned research allows our team to reverse-engineer the sorts of headlines and consumer insights media craves, and angles that they have not explored. The research also builds credibility by enhancing a company’s image as having its ‘finger on the pulse’ in line with issues and ideas that people are currently discussing.
  • And contrary to most people’s understanding of research, it’s neither costly, nor does it take long to turn around.  We achieve robust research initiatives with a budget of $5k-$10K depending on sample size and specific audience, and we can have the results within 1-2 weeks.
  • The content, which forms the basis to the stories we create, are oftentimes picked up by top tier mainstream media with quotes from and profiling opportunities for our clients. Once it has run in media, clients repurpose the content for many uses including white papers and social media posts.

How to know if a book is right for you, and if so, the proper development and promotion needed, as discussed by author Catherine Moolenschot;

  • To know if a book is truly an option for you, look inward first and assess your holistic plan to see if it is viable to achieve  escalation of media attention and public promotion.
  • If you decide a book is right, some general advice: find out who your ideal reader is early on, refer to the pillar message that you want to convey, find a writing flow and allow yourself to just write, and in the case of writer’s block, place a piece of paper over the screen to snap yourself out of an editor’s mindset.
  • Once ready to be published there are a couple of options.  Going to a publisher or self-publishing.  Self-publishing gives you more control over the content and style that is created, but you have less of an opportunity to market it and there is a lack of credibility without a publisher; therefore, it is recommend avoiding self-publishing until at least the second book.
  • To successfully market a book, three main tips are: have a keen awareness of your audience to properly shape your efforts; make sure you tell your audience WHY they should buy your book, and hire those who can support your vision properly, making your job easier while amplifying the messages.

Establishing the significance of being “media worthy” and “media ready”

  • In order to be media worthy, you must be an expert or specialist in at least one topic or field. That way, media can be genuinely interested in hearing about your content ideas that can appeal to the audience in your field.
  • With this expertise, you can also once again hijack the narrative by either responding to breaking news with a new opinion in mind, or by timing the news with a key calendar date, such as “International Women’s Day” if your area might be diversity in the workplace, for example.
  • In terms of being media ready, you know you are ready when you can provide organic content that still allow you to get your key messages across, and you can do so with ease. Do not sacrifice your message for the sake of pleasing the media outlet; sticking to the point (whilst still promoting yourself diplomatically) ensures that media will continue to come back to you for future opportunities.

Some PR trade secrets…

  • Leverage every single piece of content and amplify as much as possible, through as many channels that touch your audience.
  • Building up a great deal of content over time also allows the client to repurpose the research as blog posts, EDMs, white papers, social media posts, or potentially as a book concept.

General advice for success in thought leadership…

  • Focus on your long-term goals, and never lose sight of them.
  • Make use of a source like Google analytics; have the data to support your findings and assessments of success.
  • Learn from each title and book you work on in order to improve the outcome with the next one.
  • Take advantage of speaking engagements and events to achieve your goals more immediately.

To learn more through our webinar series, make sure you sign up for our newsletter at and we’ll inform you of our next episode!