Have you ever heard of thought leadership? It’s a term most have heard at least once, though not everyone is familiar with what it means.
Essentially, thought leadership is where a person or business gains notoriety by establishing themselves as an expert — perhaps even the expert — in their industry. Thought leaders educate people on their area of expertise and propose new ideas.
As you might guess, being a thought leader gives you a great deal of influence in your industry. For that reason, it’s an incredibly effective marketing tactic. It’s like content marketing, but on a much higher level.
So, what does it take to make your business an industry thought leader? How can you get started with thought leadership marketing?
We’ll explore the answer to that question below, so read on for more information. Then partner with WebFX — the agency with over 775 client testimonials — to get help optimizing your overall content marketing strategy. Just call 888-601-5359 or contact us online today!
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What does it take to be a thought leader?
Becoming a thought leader isn’t something you can do overnight. You must cultivate a set of specific qualities in yourself and your business to gain a shot at being considered an industry thought leader.
Four traits, in particular, need to be present in your marketing. We’ll review each of them below!
1. Specific expertise
The first thing you need to succeed at thought leadership is a particular expertise. That is, you need to be specialized in something. Don’t try to present yourself as an expert in everything — that won’t work very well. You need to limit yourself to a particular area.
Most likely, that won’t be too difficult for you to do. Your business already specializes in a limited range of services, so all you have to do is stick to your industry. The real trick is getting people to see you as an expert — but obtaining the other characteristics on this list should help with that.
2. Original ideas
It’s not enough to know the same things that everyone else in the industry knows. To be a thought leader, you need to present yourself as unique. When you write content, your ideas should be fresh and original.
For many thought leaders, their originality manifests in the form of being controversial, where they espouse ideas that disagree with popular opinions. You don’t have to be controversial to be original, though. The point is that your ideas look at things from a new perspective.
3. High visibility
The third trait necessary for thought leader marketing is visibility. You need to have access to a large audience, and you need everyone in that audience to be aware that you’re present.
Consider what would happen if you attempted thought leadership without any public visibility. You wouldn’t gain the traction and notoriety that comes with thought leadership.
You need to take the time to promote yourself and get your content in front of people. Only when you have an engaged audience can you generate some successful thought leadership marketing.
4. Useful content
The fourth and final thing you need to have to be a thought leader is useful content. Content — especially written content — is a thought leader’s bread and butter.
To be a thought leader, you need your content to be genuinely useful to your audience. Don’t write article after article of useless fluff that doesn’t benefit anyone. Instead, ask yourself what people want to know, or what changes could improve your industry.
When people read your content and come away saying, “This was really helpful!”, you know you’re on the right track.
5 tips for creating thought leadership content
Now that you know the basic building blocks of a thought leader, it’s time to start creating content to get your name out there.
Here are five tips on how to develop effective thought leadership content!
1. Know your audience
The first thing you need to do before you start writing content is to figure out your target audience. Who are you addressing? What do they want to know? What information might get them more interested in your company?
If you’re mainly targeting your potential customers, look at your customer data to determine what your audience looks like. From there, you can begin crafting content that appeals to those people.
2. Prioritize your SEO
Search engine optimization (SEO) is a vital partner strategy to content marketing and thought leadership. Writing content is just the start — you have to get your content ranking in Google where people can find it.
To that end, put your SEO strategy at the forefront of your thought leadership campaign. Integrate keywords into your content, earn backlinks from other industry leaders, and optimize your web design to deliver a positive experience for readers.
3. Avoid being too salesy
Content marketing can accomplish many goals, from educating users about how something works to persuading them to buy. But when it comes to thought leadership, you’ll want to stick to creating informational content.
Thought leadership involves presenting yourself as a trusted authority within your industry. To do that, you need to focus on promoting new ideas and teaching readers how your industry works, not on trying to sell them something.
Yes, your thought leadership is ultimately a marketing tool, but it shouldn’t be an overt one. Save the sales pitch for your paid ads and keep your thought leadership content information-based.
4. Look out for speaking opportunities
Your thought leadership doesn’t have to remain limited to writing. Speaking engagements are an excellent way to give your reputability a boost, letting you address a live audience about topics in your industry.
Whenever you can speak in front of your peers, it might not be a bad idea to take it. For example, you could attend a conference that allows you to speak on an industry topic.
5. Interact with your audience
A final thought leader marketing tip is to interact with your audience as much as possible. It’s hard to maintain a reputation as an industry thought leader if you’re completely disconnected from your audience.
Social media is an excellent tool for this. You can share your content through a social media page, engage in industry conversations, and answer comments or questions from your audience.
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Boost your thought leadership marketing to new heights with WebFX
If you’re ready to kick your thought leader marketing into gear, WebFX would love to help you optimize it! With over 20 years of digital marketing experience, we know how to help you craft compelling content and establish yourself as a thought leader in your industry.
With our content marketing services, you can get help creating valuable content, while our SEO services can increase that content’s visibility online. You’ll even get a dedicated account representative to stay in touch with you about every decision we make for your campaign.
To get started with us, just call 888-601-5359 or contact us online today!