By Jon Clark, managing partner at Moving Traffic Media, a New York digital agency offering SEO, PPC, and Amazon marketing services.
Thought leadership helps businesses build a trusting relationship with potential customers they don’t even know are considering their brand.
It is all about becoming an expert in your field, becoming the brand that people turn to when they need answers about the sort of products and services you sell.
But what exactly is a thought leader? And how do you become one?
What is a thought leader?
A thought leader is an informed opinion leader and the go-to person in their area of expertise. They become the trusted source in their field, inspiring people with innovative ideas.
Over time, they create a dedicated following, which helps them in replicating and scaling their ideas to achieve sustainable change, not only in their business but in an industry or across a complete ecosystem.
Why is thought leadership important?
Becoming a thought leader means having innovative and impactful ideas. It is about seeing beyond current processes, looking for ways to enhance them, and generating something your customer base truly wants.
Influential thought leaders can inspire and motivate others to strive for and believe in the same end goal.
Thought leadership is also vital in generating a feeling of trust. You create confidence and professionalism when you innovate and connect with consumers through high-quality content and speaking engagements. You become the industry authority that others turn to when they need advice about a service or product.
Consequently, this can increase your sales levels because your reputation is enhanced and you establish credibility. Customers know that they can turn to your business for trusted advice and expert knowledge.
How do you become a thought leader in your industry?
So, how do you become the go-to leader in your niche? Here are some tips to help you get started:
• Start blogging.
You should develop your own blog and begin guest blogging for reputable websites. Developing a unique voice that showcases your expertise and brand is vital. Make sure that you’re covering topics that your audience really wants to know about. Rather than writing about what you want people to know, conduct your research and understand your customers’ pain points and the sort of information they are searching for. Relevancy is key.
Make sure your blog posts are original, engaging and informative. Don’t simply rehash what is already out there. Offer a unique perspective.
Consistency is key here. If you post three times a week and then go missing for several weeks, people will lose interest.
• Secure speaking engagements.
One of the most effective ways of gaining exposure is to speak at conferences and events in your industry. Being invited as a speaker is also an excellent way of reinforcing your position as a leader in your field.
Studies indicate that the manner in which you communicate is what really matters when delivering a presentation. This is something you may even want to take a course in. Presentations are believed to be:
- 55% nonverbal communication
- 38% your voice
- Only 7% your content
This doesn’t mean you can simply speak about a load of garbage! However, if your verbal and nonverbal communication is not on point, it doesn’t matter what you’re talking about, your audience simply won’t be engaged.
• Become a social media champion.
Did you know that more than half of the world uses social media? That’s 4.62 billion people! This statistic alone shows you why social media matters for brands who want to be considered thought leaders.
The trouble is that there are over 130 social media websites, and it is simply impossible to be active on them all. You need to research to understand which platforms your target consumer base uses the most. It’s better to be a leader on one or two social media platforms than it is to have a diluted presence on many.
There are many different ways to use social media to establish yourself as an industry leader. This includes everything from broadcasting live videos to posting relevant and insightful commentary.
When used correctly, social media is great for continuously engaging with your audience to build a loyal following.
• Garner accolades and awards.
A solid professional and educational background is an excellent foundation for building authority in your field. Honors, accolades, awards and credentials can help enhance your credibility.
The objective is to create a platform that helps you hone your message, sell your expertise and open doors to new opportunities.
The more impressive your platform, the easier it can be to secure coveted speaking engagements, as mentioned above, and break into top media outlets.
Creating an awards and honors page on your site is a great way to highlight your accolades. Make sure you link to this page from your home page and bio.
• Reach out to influencers.
Influencer marketing has taken off in the past few years, and taking advantage of this is an excellent way to build your reputation as a thought leader.
Influencers already have an established connection with their audience. They have heaps of followers who take their advice and respect what they have to say. This presents a fresh channel for you in terms of positioning yourself effectively and generating exposure.
Find successful influencers in your niche. Learn from them and create relationships. Share their content, follow them on social media and comment on their posts. Make sure your comments are insightful and offer a fresh perspective. Don’t type something bland and generic. This will help you build relationships with the influencer and their followers.
Becoming a thought leader does not happen overnight. It requires dedication. However, once you attain this status, you can expect opportunities to flow and your profits to soar.