Becoming a thought leader ranks number one on hundreds of thousands of business owners’ priority lists, and for good reason.
Being a thought or industry leader is a quick rocket to success in our digital age, and the opportunities thought leaderships provide are out-of-this-world.
But nothing worth having ever did come easy. If it were easy, everyone would be a thought leader. And with approximately 400 million small and medium enterprises in the world right now, you need to stand out. We can’t have 400 million leaders, after all.
This post will dive into thought leadership. We’ll talk about what it is, why it’s sought after, what it can do for your brand, and how you can use video to become an industry leader.
What Is Thought Leadership?
In a nutshell, thought leadership is when your brand is considered the expert within the field.
Of course, there’s much more to it than that, but that’s the key takeaway when summarized.
Thought leadership is thought of as a marketing tactic. This may be so, however to us, we see thought leadership as a status. Once achieved, your brand enters a new dimension with altering opportunities for growth.
How Does Thought Leadership Tie Into Content?
“Content is King” is a phrase that’s been used within the marketing space since 1996 (thanks, Bill Gates!). Back then, it applied, sure. But not nearly to the same extent it does now.
The reason is simple: we’re living in a digital era. As a result, there are endless opportunities for a prospect to find your brand, as the vast majority of people are online.
As a matter of fact, there are 4.72 billion internet users on our planet as of 2021.
When formed and optimized correctly, content allows a share of those 4.72 billion internet users’ eyeballs to be on the image, text, or video that your brand has created.
“Content is king” has never been more accurate. With solid content follows thought leadership.
In short, you can have content without thought leadership.
But, you cannot have thought leadership without content.
The Benefits of Being a Thought Leader
As mentioned above, every marketer and their dog strives for thought/industry leadership. But why? What is it about this globally-desired status that has marketers going above and beyond to achieve it?
The key benefits of being a thought leader within your industry are:
Your brand has a competitive edge because it’s different - Thought leadership is achieved by being different from your competitors. If you’ve become an industry leader, you’ve already positioned yourself above your competition.
Your brand becomes a household brand - When your brand is the go-to within the industry for a few people, word spreads. Suddenly, your brand becomes the ultimate for many, and your brand’s reputation has dominated the field.
Your revenue increases - It’s without a doubt that thought leadership impacts your sales statistics for the better. Remember that sales originate from trust. Thought leadership is trust in a bottle. If your brand is seen as reputable and the leader, more people will buy from you.
Your brand’s growth will increase - With time, thought leadership can add extortionate value to your business. If you’re considering selling your business, thought leadership can add a competitive edge to investors or other companies.
How to Use Video to Become a Thought Leader
With so many eyeballs glued to the screens of smartphones, tablets, and laptops, this new marketing trend is being implemented into strategies everywhere.
And it makes sense to do so.
When designing and creating your content strategy, it’s likely that it was built around your audience. (If it wasn’t, it should’ve been, so go back and re-evaluate it!) It’s vital that you know what form of media works best with your specific demographic.
Video is such a strong asset to your content strategy because it functions for a wide range of people. In fact, 82% of people would rather watch live videos than read social media posts.
Of course, that’s not to say that social media marketing isn’t a powerful method for your brand. However, it does shine a light on how crucial video is becoming in our fast-paced environment.
With floods of content around, our attention spans are doing nothing but shrinking. Video allows viewers to become captured instantly and hold their attention for far longer than traditional text.
What Kind of Videos Should I Create to Become an Industry Leader?
Video is an umbrella term that covers many subcategories. Think of it as a categorization label.
For instance, the term ‘mammal’ includes a range of living species - from human beings to dolphins, to monkeys, to your furry babies at home - be that cats, dogs, or birds.
So, there are many types of videos you can use in your quest to build your brand and become a thought leader.
This begs the following question: do I need to be creating every type of video on this list to become a thought leader?
The answer is ‘yes’ and ‘no.’ Because it’s subjective.
Rather than focusing on that question, answer this instead:
Which types of videos suit my brand?
By that, it simply means: if a type of video feels ‘wrong’ or ‘forced,’ chances are it is.
Videos are a fantastic asset to your marketing toolbox, but your brand needs to be consistent. So, if a type of video doesn’t feel on-brand, then swap it for a different kind.
Trust your intuition and branding strategy. They’ll direct you to the correct video categories.
Video Type 1: Educational Videos
Educational videos open up a whole lot of possibilities for content. They are arguably the most effective and diverse video types within marketing because they can be shaped and adapted by any industry.
Consider the reason many people fire up Google in the first place.
There is a range of searcher intentions, but a massively dominating reason is finding an answer to a query, understanding how to do something, and discovering. In a nutshell: to learn.
Gone are the days where, to find an answer to your question, you need to visit the local library. Instead, we take to the virtual streets of Google and get our answer within seconds.
It’s important to note, following this, that educational content needs to address searches that your audience is demanding. There’s little to no point in creating a 7-minute video teaching a skill that they didn’t ask for, or they won’t need.
The key to educational videos lies within your research. You need to know the pain points and struggles your demographic is having. You can then reduce or solve these with your video content.
The best type of educational videos do the following:
Answer questions - As stated above, people use Google to find the answer to a question. In fact, Google unites over 3.5 billion people who have questions with their answers every day. So make sure your video answers the questions they’re typing in the search bar.
Makes it easy - Attention spans are shrinking. If your video is complicated or feels like too much effort to watch, you’ve lost them. Make it simple. Consider using animation video or visual examples of what you’re teaching.
Provide quick wins - A quick win is something a viewer didn’t have before they watched your video that, by the end of it, they now possess. For example, a video that teaches the viewer how to take the perfect profile picture for Instagram is a quick win. It’s not something that the viewer will need to refine over the years. Instead, there’s a 3-step process to solving their problem.
Video Type 2: Vlogs
What do you get when you combine a video with a blog?
You got it—a vlog.
Vlogs are exactly what they sound like: the video version of a blog. Vloggers talk to a camera as though they are talking to the audience themselves (something we recommend you do in all of your videos for direct address), and they can do this in the office, at home, or on the go.
While vlogging isn’t spoken about as much as other types of video marketing, 85% of businesses use vlogging as a marketing tool. Combine that with the 44% of users who watch vlogs every month, and it’s pretty obvious how you can benefit from running a vlog.
The average duration for a vlog is between 8 and 10 minutes per video. Unlike social media video tools like Instagram’s ‘Reels’ and ‘Stories’ and TikTok’s short video cap, vlogging allows you to truly connect with your audience without panicking about the time.
That said, the shorter you can make your clip, the better. We’re all about getting things done quickly, and if a video is too long, it will put potential viewers off and dramatically reduce the number of plays your video receives.
Video Type 3: Live Videos
The term ‘going live’ is popular in the influencer industry. It’s usually associated with a social media platform, like Instagram (IGTV), Facebook, and Tik-Tok.
The definition of ‘going live’ is exactly what it sounds like. Your video is available for others to watch when filming it - just like live television.
Live videos are a fantastic way to show authenticity and the human side of your brand.
Plus, going live means your audience can ask you questions directly, receiving an instant response without having to wait for your next video.
Live videos mimic a more conversational video, with your dedicated fans being able to join in on the experience.
Plus, going live is a fantastic method for collecting market research. If you’re getting the same question over and over again, you can then use this to create a pre-recorded educational video. Use live videos to generate content topics, plus utilize them to build the relationship and trust between your brand and your viewers.
Become A Thought Leader With a Thought Leadership Strategy. And Make Sure You Implement The Power of Video.
As with any form of content, you cannot post without purpose. Content without strategy is like shooting in the dark, hoping and praying you’ve got it right.
Instead, you must document a solid strategy. A roadmap, if you will, from your current position to achieving thought leadership status.
Implement video into your thought leadership strategy, and it will fast-track you to your destination. If you choose not to, you’ll have to rely on other forms of content. This doesn’t mean you can’t achieve thought leadership. However, you'll have to work much harder for a longer period of time.
With so many people taking to the internet to watch videos, it’s crucial that your brand matches this demand with the content you’re putting out there.
It all boils down to meeting the needs of your audience. Filming and posting videos shows them that your brand meets those needs - whatever type of video you select.
Do so consistently and with purpose, and the road to thought leadership shall be clear.
Torrey Tayenaka is the co-founder and CEO at Sparkhouse, an Orange County based video production agency. He is often asked to contribute expertise in publications like Entrepreneur, Single Grain and Forbes. Sparkhouse is known for transforming video marketing and advertising into real conversations.Rather than hitting the consumer over the head with blatant ads, Sparkhouse creates interesting, entertaining and useful videos that enrich the lives of his clients’ customers. In addition to Sparkhouse, Torrey has also founded the companies Eva Smart Shower, Litehouse & Forge54.