Leveraging Thought Leadership in the World of Graphene

The potential for isolating 2D allotropes of carbon was purely theoretical until 2004, when physicists Andre Geim and Kostantin Novoselov successfully isolated graphene. This was unprecedented in the realm of materials science. It signalled a new era of research into the commercialisation of high-functionality 2D materials.

Digital marketing experienced a similar seismic shift in the same year, with the introduction of Latent Semantic Indexing (LSI). New standards of digital content were abruptly established as search engines grew to understand the conceptual links between key terms on a page. This exorcised keyword spamming from highly-positioned rankings and refocused search results on two KPIs: quality and relevance.

LSI isn’t quite comparable to the discovery of a new cutting-edge material. But it is indicative of how far digital marketing has come in a relatively short period. Search visibility is now quantifiable in a way it never was before. Online thought leaders are no longer establishing themselves through smoke and mirror tactics.

87% of B2B marketers report that they struggle to produce content that truly engages their buyers.

There are countless ways to drive traffic and engagement. Yet the world of materials science is incredibly competitive. Rankings for graphene-related keywords are dominated by academic institutions and leading developers that have been leveraging their authority for almost 14 years. So, how can you exploit that same sense of thought leadership in the crowded realm of graphene?

Interviews are unique platforms for materials scientists to establish themselves as thought leaders, or to exploit the position of existing experts in a given field.

  • Insights from Industry: A short interview where you extoll the benefits of your own product/service to begin constructing your own thought leadership position.
  • Thought Leader: A short interview with a recognised professional who offers credible, unbiased information in an easily-shareable format.

In the latter instance, authority matters most. The more credible the interviewee: the more powerful the interview. In the world of graphene, few people are quite as credible as Professor ‘Kostya’ Novoselov himself.

Interviewing Relevant Thought Leaders: Structure and Execution

Structuring a thought leader interview for a scientific audience bears multiple similarities to a professional paper.

AZoTopTip: Open with a broad, top-of the funnel question that functions as a general overview of the topic that’s up for discussion. It is essentially the interview’s abstract; serving as the anchor for all subsequent questions.

In this case, we asked Professor Novoselov to share his insights into the importance of graphene. It’s a subject that has been raked over time and time again. Yet this is immediately more commanding as it comes from a source who’s authority in the area was recognised by the Nobel committee. It offers his fresh perspective as one of the founders of the material itself.

Image caption: Thought leader interview extract demonstrating question type.

Following questions invited him to explore more niche aspects of the material and his involvement with its development. This is typically explored from the staging point of the first question, to ensure that there is a clear and consistent narrative – regardless of how far the interviewee delves down the rabbit hole of the subject.

Learn more about AZoNetwork’s thought leader interviews

It’s important to wind the subject to a neat finish with a closing, open-ended query that effectively bookends the story:

What can we expect from this material in the future?

To be honest, it’s very difficult to predict. Over the last few years, a lot of research has been focusing on the applications, but then occasional, every now and then, we get some surprises in terms of the fundamental science.

Professor ‘Kostya’ Novoselov

This helps draw the interview to a natural close. It also leaves readers feeling confident that they’ve understood the complexities fed to them in the central portion of the content. More so, it helps interviewees feel comfortable during what can appear to be a very synthetic process.

Professor ‘Kostya’ Novoselov.Professor Novoselov is the expert on the subject, but the interviewer has to be the expert of the narrative and how best to realise that narrative in written form. It’s a fully collaborative process that brings together the best parts of digital marketing and materials science into a singular piece of expert content.

Learn more about AZoNetwork’s thought leader interviews

About AZoNetwork

Having worked in the Advanced Ceramics industry for over a decade in the 90’s, founder, Dr. Ian Birkby recognized that engineers, designers and scientists often required educating in the potential uses and applications of Advanced Materials before they could utilize them in their products and processes.

This recognition of market demand and the emerging power of the internet led to the launch of our first site, AZoM.com – The A to Z of Materials in 2000.

Although the business has grown significantly to include a range of science, technology, medical and life science platforms, it has always stayed true to its principal aim:

We love telling science, technology and medical stories to people who can make a difference. Everything else follows from that.

Today we tell these stories across all digital platforms to a monthly addressable audience in excess of 5 million unique individuals.

Our customers come from all scientific, technological and medical sectors. Our extensive web footprint and subscriber base allows us to display a measurable return on investment to billion dollar multi-nationals and SME start-ups.

From Content Creation, through targeted distribution to closing the loop with the unique AZoIntel Content Performance analytics platform, AZoNetwork now provides a highly effective Science Marketing Platform based on its own unique Marketing Science.


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