As many business owners already know, establishing awareness within a designated target audience can do wonders for any marketing strategy. One way to do so is through thought leadership. When done correctly, it can be one of the most effective ways a business can market itself. Here at Team Traction, we recognize the potential that thought leadership has to transform a business and build lasting impressions with customers in ways that normal advertising simply cannot.
But thought leadership isn’t easy. Just like the Entrepreneurial Operating System, success doesn’t happen overnight. Instead, it takes a strategic, methodical approach to get your business where it needs to be.
What is Thought Leadership?
By definition, a thought leader is an individual or organization that is recognized as an authority in their industry. Thought leaders are regularly sought out by the community as an expert in a specific topic, have the social clout to open doors to new opportunities, and build lasting trust with the people in their audiences who matter most.
So how do you become a thought leader, exactly? Read below to learn more:
1. Create Content Regularly
One of the first steps to take if you’re seeking to position yourself as a thought leader is to create quality content. Not once, not twice, but on a consistent basis. This content should be relevant to your industry and establish your business as an expert in the space. Remember, you don’t have to know everything, but you do have to know what you’re writing about.
Thought leadership starts with building a following, and you can only do that by constantly putting out articles, eBooks, and other forms of content that indicate to your target audience that you’re someone they should follow. In fact, in today’s world; the age of short, snackable blogs has come and gone. Instead, we’re seeing that long-form, keyword-heavy media is what’s going to give you the most traction moving forward.
2. Cut Down the Self Promotion
Leaders are humble by nature, and thought leadership shouldn’t be any different. You want your audience to recognize that you’re an expert, not because they saw an ad, but because you provided them with reliable answers when others couldn’t. It’s alright to have a call to action here and there, but you don’t want your articles to look more like promotional fluff pieces than they are industry news.
Over-promotion runs rampant on the internet and anyone can proclaim themselves as an expert. Instead, let your content do the talking for you. Make it a priority to create value for your readers, and your loyal following will grow over time. It’s all about the bite rather than the bark – the loudest person on the internet doesn’t always translate to being the most effective person.
3. Engage and Collaborate
Whether it’s through LinkedIn, an industry podcast, or a local newspaper, collaborations and engagements make a huge difference when working towards becoming a thought leader. Always be on the lookout for opportunities to provide helpful information or lend your knowledge to a worthy source. Many of the pillars of quality public relations also translate over to quality thought leadership.
Take some time to identify local and national sources that you would like to be affiliated with and work towards building relationships with those organizations. For example, if you’re the owner of a life insurance agency, it makes sense to contribute to life insurance blogs as a guest, or set up interviews with companies like AARP. You can cast your net as wide or as narrow as you’d like, depending on what your thought leadership goals are. Working with your surrounding community is a great way to start building momentum, and as you grow, you’ll have the social backing to land even larger and more recognizable collaborations.
4. Write in Your Unique Voice
One quality that sets your content apart from others is your unique voice and personality. If you haven’t already built a branding brief for your organization, now is the time to start. Make sure that your business has an identity, and figure out what it would sound like if your company could talk to people. Your brand and the voice you write in should be identical. This ensures consistency, and gives your readers an idea of what to expect.
Moreover, it also helps get you noticed. If audience members appreciate your writing style, they’ll be more likely to come back for even more content. Think about some of the influencers you follow both professionally and personally. Take note about how they stay consistent with their messaging and always put out content that fits the mold of who they are. You want your audience members to see how genuine you are, and connect with your organization’s messaging. Projecting your personality is what’s going to help you stick out of the crowd.
There you have it! If you follow these four steps, you’ll be well on your way to becoming the thought leader you strive to be.
Getting the growth you’ve been striving for is not only possible, it’s within reach. Adopting Team Traction’s Entrepreneurial Operating System has the potential to turn your business into the profitable, driven organization you want it to be. We take pride in guiding our business owner clients in overcoming these challenges and more. It all starts with a conversation. Call us at (850) 473-1100 or click here for our contact page.