Thought leadership is a powerful strategy that greatly contributes to an organization’s success. It offers guidance and inspiration to peers who want to think differently and push the boundaries within their respective fields.
When done purposefully, thought leadership builds credibility and trust among a business’ stakeholders as well as fuels new ideas for content that naturally leads to publicity – elements needed for any successful marketing and PR strategy.
Thought leadership solidifies an individual as an expert and authority within their industry, which builds recognition for their company as a leader in its field. But the process doesn’t happen overnight – it takes time, skill, and dedication to build a strong thought leadership profile.
To create a purposeful thought leadership profile that drives your bottom line forward, keep these helpful tips in mind:
Set Your Foundation
The foundation begins with original content that is regularly promoted across your social media channels, company website, sales resources, and more. These will reach potential clients who will associate your brand as the solution they need in your field.
As more clients and customers begin to recognize you as the expert, reporters will also turn their attention to your insights as an industry leader. If you become successful at selling your information and ideas before selling your solution and products (more on this below), reporters are more likely to use your expertise and commentary in their news coverage. This generates greater brand awareness from an unbiased third-party and ultimately leads to organic lead-generation and greater ROI for your company.
Know Your Audience
To truly know and understand your audience, ask yourself a few questions first, like:
If your target audience prioritizes reading LinkedIn sustainability groups, GreenBiz and the Wall Street Journal’s Sustainable Business column, then you should tailor your content accordingly. Be sure to include information these outlets and their readers find useful.
It doesn’t matter how influential your knowledge is if your content and media interviews don’t appear in the places your audience reads.
Sell Your Information, Not Your Products
You’ve worked hard to build and maintain trust, don’t lose it. One of the most common ways brands lose credibility and trust is by making a corporate sales pitch without acknowledging the larger trends affecting the industry.
As explained by Corporate Inker Anna Morais in her recent blog, “The key is to find the perfect middle ground between your expertise, target publications’ editorial coverage, your prospects’ priorities, your technology and what’s happening in the world…. Take the SEC’s latest proposal as an example. With new climate-related regulations seemingly around the corner, supply chain companies dealing in sustainability can share insight on the implications from their perspective with the publications their prospects turn to for information.”
Even the most well-known thought leaders can’t possibly know everything. It’s important to find your niche, home in on it, and perfect your talking points around it. Steve Jobs’ experience actually writing good code was limited. But he knew about the importance of user experience in a product’s design and functionality – and he owned it every day as he built his public profile on that very concept:
The takeaway is the best thought leaders know when to lean on others’ experiences to draw inspiration, learn new ideas, and fill in the gaps on questions they can’t answer on their own. Not only does this continue to build your credibility as an expert, but it also earns you respect among peers, potential clients and reporters who will keep your name and number on speed-dial.
Interested in taking your thought leadership strategy to the next level? Contact us today for a complimentary consult.