Today we are hosting our inaugural Rainmaker event.  We have been lucky enough to hear from Stephen Waddington Partner & Chief Engagement Officer at PR firm Ketchum.  Stephen was described to me by another PR leader as "Mr PR in the UK" - so a real privilege to hear him speak.

Stephen had a very simple message.  If you are active online and you share your stories it will help you build and sustain relationships that will help you in your career.  

Use blogs, Twitter and LinkedIn (he pointed out that 96% of professional service folk have LinkedIn account and which they check at least once a week.   Importantly have the courage to do it.

When asked why he is active online he points to the following reasons:

  • Personify brand values
  • Serve as a corporate spokesperson/ambassador extend the brand halo
  • Inspire employees
  • Amplify brand news; create visibility
  • Establish category and industry expertise
  • Build equity via connections with peers and media
  • Spark and lead the conversation about the brand

During his session, Stephen has talked about an open letter he wrote to Mark Zuckerberg.  Writing probably comes easier to Stephen than to most others but he was very clear that it is important when writing to have a point of view.  By creating his blog with his point of view this open letter not only got  thousands of reads and social shares but in just 4 days he had received:

  1. Two new opportunities
  2. Two journalist interviews

For the time invested in writing the article that is quite a return on investment.

With experts in your organisation the reason for writing insights, points of view, perspectives - whatever you call them - needs to be very clear.  If it is just a blog that is thrown up on your website never to be heard of again then what's the point? But if they see real business value through new opportunities and new business, they will engage in writing insights again and again and again.

Finally, Stephen shared his 3 phase strategy for influence:

1. Start with a plan - What do you want to achieve?  Whats the point of view

2. Content and conversation - what do you talk about.  Not yourself!

3. Always create content - if you read a book write a review.  If you present at a conference publish deck on SlideShare online.  If you have an interesting chat with a colleague write a post.  If you hear a good presentation or story write about it (like this 

4. Test, learn and adapt - Work out what works.  Ask your readers what they like to hear about.  Request feedback.

And finally, as Stephen said be brave!