If you’re looking to build a brand and establish yourself or your company as a Thought Leader where do you start? How do you become that person in your niche that everybody looks to for pivotal information in your niche?
To start with, let’s look at Thought Leadership and assess why it’s an important part of building your brand, and then let’s look at how you become one and the benefit it can bring your business.
What is Thought Leadership?
As recently as a couple of years ago “Thought Leadership” was a buzz word that was often misused or misunderstood, but now it’s an integral part of content marketing. In simple terms, in order to be a Thought Leader your content and ideas need to be perceived as innovative and timely. Your content needs to cover trends and topics that are influencing your business niche or industry, and generating engagement and feedback.
Why is Thought Leadership Important?
Social Media is all about building relationships, and there’s no better way to build a relationship with your audience than to inspire, educate and inform them. Thought Leadership helps to establish new conversations with your followers, and is also an effective way to sustain the conversation. It’s a valuable tool to help you retain and grow your following.
How to become a Thought Leader
When you initially establish your presence across your social media networks, one of the first things you should do is to identify and connect with existing Thought Leaders in your industry.
These could include government agencies, industry organisations, trade publications, education or research institutes and individual movers and shakers in your niche. These companies or individuals are immersed in the industry, and maintain a long-term view or horizon of where the industry is heading.
Follow these industry leaders and share their content. Don’t sit on the periphery of the action, dive right in a join in the conversation. Establish your stance, have an opinion, and create innovative concepts and ideas yourself. Before too long, others within the niche will begin to follow you, and look to you for your insights.
Leveraging Thought Leadership
Monitor the topics that gain the most engagement, and use those as inspiration to create content for your blog or website. You may have topics that are dear to your heart, but social media is about giving your audience what they want or need, so it’s important than your focus on the “giving” aspect of social media content marketing.
Create quotable conversations in your social media networks, and evergreen content on your blog, and you’ll attract the attention of niche bloggers who include you in Thought Leadership content roundups. These bloggers are a critical part of building your brand presence and establishing your expertise. They will help you spread the word and ensure that your message gets out to your target audience.
Although the focus of your content needs to be to deliver what your audience needs, you also need to be cognoscente to be true to yourself.
Your messaging and stance across your social media networks and website needs to be consistent with your brand messaging. If you’re faking your brand positioning, you’ll be found out and your branding will be compromised.
Everyone should be a Thought Leader for his or her brand, but it’s up to you whether you want to be an industry Thought Leader as well.