Updated: Jun 28
“A thought leader is an individual or firm that prospects, clients, referral sources, intermediaries and even competitors recognize as one of the foremost authorities in selected areas of specialization, resulting in its being the go-to individual or organization for said expertise.” — Forbes
The definition of thought leadership varies from year to year, business to business, or person to person. Some consider the term simply business jargon for “expertise.” Whatever side of the fence you’re on, every business wants to differentiate itself and impact people. The thought leader should still be considered the “go-to” person or company — the one who is innovative and effects change.
Here we offer a few suggestions for dynamic content creation that engages potential customers and online audiences via webinars, workshops, publishing, video, podcasts, and other social media platforms. These all offer ways to brand yourself as a thought leader.
A web-based video conference is a content marketing approach that can generate leads and is considered among the top inbound marketing tactics. What better way to establish yourself as a credible source of leadership within your industry?
Many marketers offer a single webinar at a time based on individual topics, but some take it a step further by offering a series that ties one general topic into interconnected webinars. Each one builds upon the previous webinar. This gives people more incentive to sign up if they know they’ll be learning how your business is all woven together.
Get the most bang for your PR buck. If you already have the content from your webinar, you can repurpose it by turning it into video files and putting them on your YouTube channel. Consider getting a YouTube channel if you don’t already have one. Millennials watch video content online more than TV, in part because they can relate to it better and find it more authentic than TV. Another approach would be to gather user-generated content because it’s considered more trustworthy than traditional advertising.
Video is part of the content marketing puzzle. Leverage video across multiple platforms including your website, blog, Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, etc. Even email blasts can be done at the same time you post something new on your blog or website.
As we’ve mentioned in a previous Concept Marketing Group post, successful social media marketing doesn’t include “popping in and out of platforms when you feel like it.” People want valuable bits of information, not just the promotion of a new product or special offer, from you via social media.
Starting a Facebook for Business account may seem like a daunting task, but with a few easy steps, any small business owner can establish an active social media presence that will supplement marketing efforts in an affordable way. You don’t necessarily need to hire an online marketing professional to take advantage of a valuable marketing tool like Facebook.
If you’re at a conference, for example, invite people to an interactive “lunch and learn” or a specialized break-out work session that showcases your expertise in the field but also invites people to actively participate in the discussion. You can be sharing information while simultaneously presenting it in a way that encourages people to participate right along with you. It’s more than just an active listening session.
Currently, 65 million people in the U.S. are listening to podcasts every month. The convenience of downloading an audio file to your smartphone or tablet is great for this new wave of busy, yet information and entertainment-hungry society of ours.
Podcasting is also one of the fastest and easiest ways to establish authority, engage new audiences and build your brand. And thought leaders are carving out a path for themselves.
“Whether you’re just starting to build a business or you and your company have long-established credentials, this online audio platform can catapult your influence beyond the capabilities of many other expert-building marketing platforms,” according to Tina Dietz, founder of StartSomething Creative Business Solutions. “Getting featured on TV or publishing a book still serve as gold standards for having achieved expert status, but podcasting has made it possible for even budding business owners to share their knowledge and expertise with a wide audience.”
Just as video and audio build trust, so too does valuable written content, whether you’re writing for your own blog or someone else’s, for magazines, or even publishing books. Also: think LinkedIn.
With 87 percent of users trusting LinkedIn as a source of information, getting published on that social media platform to reach other professionals and connect with customers is a must if you want to maintain a strong online presence and become an authority in your niche, according to independent LinkedIn marketing expert Jo Saunders.
More advice on how to successfully develop thought leadership on LinkedIn can be found here. What are your thoughts on winning the internet and customers over at the same time? Your customers care about getting the best answers to their questions, not only about how you are differentiating yourself. Do you consider yourself or your business a thought leader?