Positioning your CEO as an expert

Someone in the PR field told me this week that we’re doing a good job of positioning our CEO, Dave Saba, as an education expert. This was nice to hear and it got me thinking about the things Dave and the rest of us at ABCTE are doing to earn him this reputation.

I won’t attempt to mention everything we’re doing or act as if this is a complete list of things a company should do to position their CEO as an expert on a particular subject, but here’s a quick list that might serve as a start and that will hopefully spark further ideas (feel free to use the comments section to post yours).

Get Them Blogging
I don’t know who got Dave started in blogging on education—he was already doing it when I started with the organization in the fall of 2008. But he’s been doing it for several years, I’m a big fan of him doing it, and there are a few things he does that are key in helping build his reputation. One, he blogs often, usually updating it a few times a week. Two, he touches on various education topics and doesn’t simply just push our product. Three, he interacts with other education bloggers, linking to their material and letting them know when he’s published something they might be interested in. And he also uses social media to push out the content he’s posting on his blog.

Get Them to Embrace Social Media
Dave is completely involved in social media. He’s on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn, and we’ve posted short video message from him on YouTube. This has made more people aware of the work he and the organization are doing. I was excited when Dave came back from conferences not long after he started using Facebook and he said that there were people who knew about his work and ABCTE’s progress because they’d been reading his status updates.

Diversify & Don’t Just Plug the Product
Dave does interviews on a variety of education topics, not just ones related to ABCTE. We’d love to have him speak on-the-air for 10 minutes straight about nothing but our teacher certification program, but that’s not always possible. So, if there’s an opportunity for Dave to speak for 8 minutes about various education topics and then for 2 minutes about ABCTE, he takes the interview. It’s great exposure, shows he’s knowledgeable on a variety of Ed topics and we still get in a plug for ABCTE.

It is ideal to have a CEO who is prepared to talk about anything related to their industry and who can adjust on the fly during an interview, while tastefully weaving your brand into the dialogue whenever possible. An interview doesn’t have to be an all-out commercial in order for it to promote your brand—in fact, many people respect an interview that isn’t full of just shameless plug after shameless plug.

Quote Them
This is a very simple one. Whenever we issue a press release, I include at least one quote and, on most occasions, the quote is from Dave. This increases the chances someone will include a quote from Dave in their article or ask to interview him for their piece.

Don’t sell the boss short
When I pitch someone about having Dave on their show or including him in an article, I try to spell out in as few words as possible what makes him a great guest—he’s entertaining and knows his stuff. Point the media to your CEO’s blog, mention that he/she was just featured in such-and-such newspaper or find something interesting about them that will be of interest to the outlet’s audience. Keep it short, but don’t sell them short.

Press generates press
Whenever we landed an interview for Dave, or any piece of press, we let everyone know the story has run. We want everyone to know the CEO of ABCTE was just quoted somewhere. It goes on Dave’s blog, Twitter and Facebook. Sometimes we link to it from the front page of our website. Getting one piece of press can lead to another piece of press, if you play your cards right and let everyone know you got the press.

As I said above, this list is by no means complete. There are many ways to position your CEO as an expert. The comments are open below—please share your ideas there.

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