What is Thought-Leadership?
“Thought leadership means achieving front of mind positioning in whatever space it is that you’re an expert.”
“If you’re a thought leader, you should be the person who your audience thinks of as the first person they want to help solve their problems.” Steve Pell – Director, Thought Leadership Partners
The term thought-leadership gets bandied around quite a lot nowadays, it’s a bit of a buzzword, but one that does what it says on the tin.
For me, thought-leadership is more than a PR exercise. In it’s simplest form I’d say:
“Thought-leadership is consistently imparting knowledge that is of use to your audience or relevant within your industry.”
Why would anyone want to be a ‘thought-leader’?
Achieving a degree of thought-leadership within your industry as an individual or business can:
- Make you memorable when your product or service is required, it can give you a competitive edge.
- Help you to achieve valuable PR coverage within your field – see Typeface group Press Office.
- Impact buyer behaviour within the ‘information gathering’ stage of the buying process.
- Increase brand awareness
- Create trust in you, your business and or products/services
- Lead to business partnerships and opportunities
- Help you to gain valuable back links. Links back to your site (not all sites will) are valuable to your ranking on search engines. It increases your ‘trust level’ thus giving your site a bit of a boost.
How can you become a thought-leader?
This is the biggy.
Blogging & Guest Blogging.
View our guide to blogging series to learn how to target the right blogs for you to pitch to for a guest blog spot.
Social media activity.
Build your social AND offline networks. Be consistent, answer questions, build rapport and have conviction in your statements.
Look to secure editorial content.
Don’t be afraid to write content for industry press or to answer journalist requests. Engage with an agency to manage your press office.
Put yourself out there.
Enter awards, attend business networking and grab the chance to speak publicly if you dare!
It isn’t all about you.
While you are writing, your number one priority has to be filling the need of your readers/followers. Secondary to that will be the promotion of your product/service. For example, as a digital marketing agency, we do not only write about marketing. We have featured in The Telegraph, The Guardian and Forbes; giving comment on a variety of business-related topics from flexible working, business branding, maternity leave in business. None of these subjects directly help us to sell our services. However, as small business owners our personal beliefs and work ethic shape the business, sharing this content enforces our brand and underpins our values. On a fundamental level, we also achieve high-quality links back to our website.
Putting yourself out there can open you up to criticism.
Don’t be provocative, but have conviction. If you enter into debate, as long as you remain calm, think before you speak and speak with passion you can’t go wrong (providing you have checked your facts). Remember, you can not please everyone… but reputation is everything so be genuine and keep your integrity intact.