You can join guest posting community on your terms and become a valuable source. This article will explain everything you need to know about this type of leadership.
Why Being a Thought Leader Is Beneficial
In the early 1990s, James Champy and Michael Hammer wrote the book Reengineering the Corporation. In it, they described the process of completely restructuring the company, considering modern technologies and capabilities and pointing out the advantages of this approach. The book became a bestseller. James Champi founded the consulting firm CSC Index shortly after, building on the book's key takeaways. Things were going so well that, in a short time, the company became the market leader. This is how branding thought leadership can transform ideas.
As a rule, there are two ways. First, you introduce people to a new concept and then become its promoter. For example, the theme of flights to Mars is inextricably linked with Elon Musk. The second is you show that you know a topic so well that everyone rushes to you for good advice. For example, Social Media Examiner is a recognized source of information and analytics on SMM.
A thought leader can be either a person or a company. In the case of a personal brand, the leader has a face, which simplifies the task. People know a particular expert, see him in an interview, and follow social networks and publications. Building relationships with such communication is natural.
The team is responsible for the image if the company is the ideological leader. In this case, it is essential to work with branding a unified tone in content, statements and approaches to work. The user must be sure that no matter who of the brand representatives comes into contact with him, the result will be predictable and of high quality.
How to Become a Leader in Your Field
Building thought leadership begins with identifying issues that are important to the audience and addressing them. Precisely solutions, smoothing, not exaggerations. Often, thought leader brands try to amplify a problem or create it out of thin air to offer their product as a solution. This approach may work in advertising but not when working with expertise.
Generate a list of problems (ideas) and consider each in four planes. The analysis will allow you to choose the best options.
Start with a market analysis on the following parameters:
- Demand. What is being said in the industry, what questions are asked, and what is the tone of the event's discussions?
- Longevity of the topic. It is irrational to build expertise on topics that will be popular for only a couple of months. Instead, focus on a period of at least a year.
- The presence of competitors. In what way do other companies communicate, and what niche is more profitable?
Next, it is crucial to understand what ideas will be interesting to your followers. Assess the relevance of your content, test different topics, and extract insights from the collected behavioral data. After that, ensure the selected topics can be built into different stages of the sales funnel and identify the most popular topics that need to be covered. This analysis will show where to publish niche links to boost awareness.
Now let's see how the selected ideas correspond to the interests of the business:
- Expertise. If you are not deeply versed in the topic, it is better to skip it.
- Team competence. How familiar are your employees with the subject, and do they need to be trained, or should you better hire external experts?
- Integration opportunities. Ideas should resonate with your goals, positioning, and views.
Good ideas are great, but it is possible to gain a foothold. Evaluate the resources you have on the following parameters.
- Time. Will you be able to develop the direction for a long time, for several years?
- Budget. Make a plan and match expectations with opportunities.
- Team. Do you have enough personnel and experts?
For convenience, make a table. By evaluating ideas on these points, you will identify potentially successful ones. Here's how to develop them.
The Best Channels for Thought Leaders
Broadcasting expert content is a powerful way to become a number one person in your field. There are many formats of digital content communicating thought leadership in marketing. Test and choose the most effective. Evaluate the result by citation, coverage, and leads.
A large, regularly updated blog is an indispensable tool in the arsenal of an opinion leader. Users often ask questions to search engines, and from the issuance, they switch to expert articles. This is how they get acquainted with the brand and are convinced of its competence.
The speaker at the thematic event is an expert by default. There are exceptions, but in the public mind, a person with a microphone and a presentation in the background inspires confidence. Speeches make a significant contribution to building your expert reputation. The main thing is to choose the organizers and topics wisely.
Webinars and Courses
Videos are getting more and more popular every year. 84% of marketers continue to invest in this format in 2023. It is excellent for broadcasting expertise. Record webinars, broadcast live, and prepare training courses. Fill them with unique insights to produce the desired effect.
Representatives of your industry read thematic media. Make yourself known through this channel: post expert articles and analytics, and keep in touch in the comments. For example, getting into Forbes is essential to get the top position in finance.
Interview and Comments
You can appear on the pages of popular media without writing articles. Sometimes, it is enough to comment or participate in an interview. In order not to mindlessly send out your pitches to all potentially interesting publications, use the services of journalistic requests: Response Source, JournoLink, Gorkana / Cision, PressQuest, PressPlugs, and Press Hunt.
Users are accustomed to following the news on social networks. It is also more convenient to share urgent events, emerging ideas, and the reasoning behind them. If you recall the same Elon Musk, his messages on Twitter can actually influence the stock market. For example, in 2020, he called Tesla shares overpriced, after which they fell by 10% in a day. And it isn’t just him. So, don’t underestimate social media and include it in your thought leadership marketing strategy.
Being an author of a book is a status that comes with a certain honor. It is especially true if the book became a bestseller or significantly contributed to the development of an industry. Today, books can be printed or promoted exclusively online, avoiding many additional publishing costs. And the truth is that you don’t have to develop characters and interactions between them. What you have to do is share your experience, no matter what your niche is. For example, Seth Godin has written 20 bestsellers, only talking about marketing and the connected areas.
Having a practical emailing strategy is an effective way to regularly remind your audience about you and gradually build your brand through sharing your expertise. Yet, remember that spamming is the last thing you want to do. Newsletter’s success often comes down to prioritizing quality over quantity.
If your resources allow, conduct an original research. After all, what could be more convincing than numbers? Still, it doesn’t necessarily have to be large-scale; just make it your own. If you get a unique set of data, you can then create different content based on that. And often, those end up being your most shared and linked pieces.
Being an opinion leader isn’t easy. It involves a lot of consistent work, but it pays off in the long run. In the age of AI, having a personal brand is almost the only thing that can make you stand out and have people follow you not only for your expertise but also for your unique personality.