Thought leadership marketing has emerged as one of the most powerful ways for brands to establish their authority and grow. Many marketers use this strategy to boost brand awareness and increase their market share. But what exactly is thought leadership?
A thought leader is someone who commands authority in a particular field owing to their knowledge and expertise. People take them seriously in matters pertaining to their areas of expertise. Their views, ideas, and opinions are sought after by many and people trust their advice.
Elon Musk, CEO of SpaceX, is considered a thought leader due to his futuristic ideas on hyperloop transportation and plans to send humans to Mars. His company is considered to be a pioneer in futuristic technologies. Thought leadership marketing has helped them build their reputation and credibility.
Image via Forbes
You too can establish your brand as a thought leader in your industry. If you can do it well enough, your customers and prospects will trust you immensely. This can help you market your brand effectively and grow by leaps and bounds.
In this post, we’ll take a look at how thought leadership marketing can help you grow your brand.
How to Become a Thought Leader
You can’t just become a thought leader overnight, out of nowhere. You need tons of credibility and a massive following to establish yourself as a thought leader.
Before the digital era, you could establish yourself as a thought leader by creating whitepapers or writing books about your area of expertise.
With the advent of online media, you have more strategies at your disposal. You can leverage the power of thought leadership marketing using the content you create.
Here are some ways you can establish your brand as a thought leader in your industry:
1. Build Your Reputation
You need to build a solid reputation among your peers and in your industry. You can do so by sharing your ideas and experiences with your peers. Help them out in times of need. They may be your competitors, but lending them a helping hand can help you build trust. Be authentic and genuine in your efforts.
Be a pioneer in your industry. It could be in the processes you use, the products or services you offer, or your organizational setup. Being an innovator lends credibility to your actions. Elon Musk lent credibility to his thought leadership by making his technology openly available.
3. Create Research Papers
Try to produce high-quality research papers or whitepapers related to your industry. These papers need to provide new insights that can help your peers as well as your customers.
4. Write Blogs Posts
Write blog posts on a regular basis. The content in your blog posts should provide value to your readers. Write about topics relevant to your industry that are currently trending. Make sure that your facts are correct. You can influence others through the insights you share on these posts.
Provide a good volume of content for your audience to consume. You can even create ebooks, infographics, or conduct studies or surveys to add more credibility to your content.
For example, Richard Branson, founder of Virgin Group Ltd., regularly blogs about various issues. His writings often touch upon the core problems being faced by humanity.
Image via Virgin
5. Get Active on Social Media
Be active on social media. Your presence and following on social media lends credibility to your thought leadership. So post your ideas and engage with your audience on social media.
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Create a community of followers or join various communities. You can comment on diverse issues that you are passionate about. It is a great way to showcase your authority as a subject matter expert and also build brand awareness.
6. Create Videos and Podcasts
Create valuable video content and publish it on your website. These should provide value to your audience. Use your expertise to solve the common problems of your viewers. Don’t forget to be creative while creating these videos.
You could also start your own podcast. The ideas and insights you share in them can help to influence your audience. Try to include content that’s relevant and insightful and be consistent in your approach. Tony Robbins is a thought leader whose podcasts attract and engage millions.
Image via YouTube
7. Attend and Host Events
Attend public events and share your thoughts. Be authentic in your discussions at these events. These events provide ample scope to build connections with your peers. Publish press releases about these events for your audience to read.
You could also host events of your own. Invite your peers and other thought leaders from your industry and have them share their insights with your audience. You could even broadcast them online to reach a wider audience. Don’t miss an opportunity to promote such events to grab as many eyeballs as you can.
8. Support Social Causes
You can become a thought leader by supporting various causes that affect humanity. Showing genuine compassion and a desire to make the world better can help you earn the respect of millions. This can make people perceive your brand more favorably.
Allocate funds towards corporate social responsibility (CSR). Make sure the work you do is visible to the public. It will portray your character and the values of your company.
Companies like Apple, IBM, and Walmart have taken a number of decisions to reduce the adverse effects of their products on the environment.
Image via Apple
Take a stance on issues that you believe in. It might make you unpopular among some people for a short period of time, but stick to it. In the long run, you will be vindicated. Taking a stance shows your courage and integrity – both of which can make people perceive your brand more favorably.
9. Write a Book
Write a book about your field of expertise. Even in this digital era, a book can get you considerable attention. A book exemplifies your expertise in your niche. It makes your ideas and views trustworthy.
For example, the CEO of Microsoft, Satya Nadella has established himself as a thought leader. He regularly blogs on various subjects and has also penned a book called “Hit Refresh.”
Image via Amazon
Benefits of Thought Leadership Marketing
Thought leadership marketing can benefit your brand in many different ways. Here are a few of them:
1. Boosts Brand Value
Thought leadership marketing can help you increase your brand’s value. This may not be your primary objective, however, the trust you gain will eventually help to boost brand value. People will start to perceive you as an authoritative figure who knows their business, customers needs, and the industry well.
2. Helps to Attract Talent
Not just peers and customers, but the best minds in the industry too will be attracted towards your brand. They will be eager to work with you to provide value to your customers. A highly talented team can take your business to greater heights.
3. Helps with Public Relations
With thought leadership marketing, you can get a good amount of exposure in the press. Your brand will get high visibility. This can help you increase your customer base too. This translates to more sales and greater profits.
4. Helps to Optimize Marketing Budgets
Thought leadership marketing can help you optimize your budgets for brand building. You can cut down your spend on traditional marketing strategies. In fact, thought leadership marketing can help you promote your brand to a wider audience in a cost-effective manner. A positive word-of-mouth can help your brand reach newer heights.
5. Boosts Business Opportunities
Thought leadership can bring in unexpected opportunities for business development. When more people recognize your brand globally, you can expand your business in other countries easily.
6. Increases Sales
A good brand reputation will make your prospects trust you which can lead to an increase in your sales. The credibility you gain through thought leadership marketing will make your brand easily recognizable.
Things to Consider in Thought Leadership Marketing
Thought leadership marketing is not an easy task. To establish yourself as a thought leader, you need to assess yourself first. These are some of the factors you need to consider:
To establish your company as a thought leader, the most important thing you need to consider is time. You need to put a lot of time to build your reputation. You must prepare yourself mentally for this. Know that you can’t become a thought leader overnight.
Patience is important if you expect fruitful results through thought leadership marketing. It takes years to gain considerable attention and influence. Without patience, you may falter and do a disservice to your cause.
In order to gain the trust of your audience, you need to be honest with them. Honesty in your acts, deeds, opinions, and truth in the content you share will lend you credibility and authority.
How to Start with Thought Leadership Marketing
After considering all of the aspects mentioned above, you may have decided to establish your company as a thought leader. Here are some ways you can start doing so.
1. Create a Content Strategy
The very first step in thought leadership marketing is to have an effective content strategy in place. You must have a clear plan about the type of content you will publish online. You must also think about how often you are going to publish content and on which channels.
2. Build a Team
If you are not in a position to manage thought leadership marketing alone, appoint a person or a team within your company to do it.
They can be a marketing expert or any other employee who has the skills and passion required for the job. Hire an expert team of content writers and post articles written by them on your blog or website.
3. Leverage Influencers
You can also leverage influencers in your industry to gain more credibility as a thought leader. You can collaborate with relevant influencers in many different ways.
Ask them to promote your brand on their blogs and social networks or write guest posts on their websites. All of these efforts will help you grab more eyeballs and build your reputation quicker.
Thought leadership marketing provides an excellent opportunity to market your brand in this digital era. By putting in some time and effort, you can achieve success. Follow the above-mentioned strategies to establish your brand as a thought leader and grow exponentially.
Can you think of any other ways to establish your brand as a thought leader? Let me know in the comments below.
Shane Barker is a digital marketing consultant who specializes in sales funnels, targeted traffic, and website conversions. He has consulted with Fortune 500 companies, influencers with digital products, and a number of A-List celebrities.