Thought leadership is the most powerful and underrated marketing strategy.
People have to know, like and trust you before they do business with you.
Thought leadership is the fastest way to tick all of those boxes. When you can demonstrate superior thought leadership, by positioning yourself as an authority, if you do it in a way that’s congruent with your brand, then you get the like factor built in because people connect with you at an emotional level.
Here are 7 tips to develop thought leadership
1 Stand out from the crowd
As a thought leader you have to make yourself distinctive. You don’t want to be like everyone else. Repeating other people’s ideas won’t cut it and don’t plagiarise, it can be easily detected. Come up with ideas that need addressing but no-one has really tackled. Show you have an eye for the future by looking at key issues. How are things changing? How might we be doing differently in 5 years or 10 years’ time? What are the big trends ahead? What impact will those trends have on our industry? How will they change the way our customers do things? How will they change our business model? How can we prepare for that?
2. Be professional in your approach.
You need to learn how to quote and cite sources for your thought leadership pieces. You should also avoid any plagiarism. Plagiarism is theft and nothing will damage your brand more than stealing other people’s original ideas.
3. Give your pieces visual appeal
The thought leadership piece has to be appealing. People have to be attracted to it. We don’t judge a book by its cover. But having an attractive looking thought leadership piece helps.
You can do this in two ways.
- Subheadings and short paragraphs. People won’t read blocks of text so subheadings and concise paragraphs will do the trick
- Use images. Every picture tells a story and people like images. They are also drawn to graphs, charts and infographics
4 Speak your mind.
Does one have to be contentious? It helps to have a compelling viewpoint, something a little left of centre, a unique viewpoint that will get attention and will differentiate your brand and values. Provide some sort of commentary around your industry and what you’re doing to fix it. Russell Brand, who became the hero to – and the voice of – the disengaged and the disenfranchised and who speaks the language of his target audience is the perfect model for anyone wanting to market themselves with thought leadership. Other examples could include Malcolm Gladwell, Arianna Huffington and Elon Musk.
5. Drop the self-promotion
Thought leadership helps build the brand but nothing puts people off more than over-promoting. Don’t sell. You should not be talking about your company. Focus instead on bringing value to readers by sharing ideas with them, educating them and being helpful
6. Use podcasts and videos
Videos and podcasts which can be sliced and diced into pieces of thought leadership across platforms are invaluable. The investment doing this could be one hour of your time. The dividend: getting content that becomes part of your repository. It can be used in so many different ways. For B2B business, this is hands down the best solution. It creates a stream of consciousness of thought leadership to get captured
7. Find different platforms.
A blog is good value but it only goes so far. Find what publications your industry and the top websites in the industry. Then submit your content for publishing. And don’t limit yourself to text.Try different forms of content for thought leadership. You can use videos, podcasts, charts or infographics. Anything is possible.
If you need help with your thought leadership, email me at [email protected] or phone me at 0411 745 193.