Thought leadership is one of the most important concepts in modern content marketing – but it can also be among the most overused and poorly understood. It may seem like thousands of brands now stand shoulder-to-shoulder shouting “look at me, I’m a thought leader!”
However, the key to thought leadership is recognition from others.
Teams just starting on their content marketing approach might feel this is a tough order to handle. With the right strategy, however, thought leadership needn’t be an endless journey: It attracts clients, bolsters your reputation, and produces bottom line results.
Let’s look at some key methods to develop true thought leadership:
Be Sure of Your Brand
Thought leadership can be built around a personal or corporate brand. Whatever the case, the brand is part of what creates differentiation – and makes your work more easily recognizable. Like a compass, a brand offers internal direction and guidance on your next move and values.
Build Out Your Blog
The blog is the modern home of thought leadership in any industry. To be successful, a blog should be updated on a regular basis with compelling, thought-provoking content. An active blog signals to others that you are consistently delivering new thoughts on topics of interest.
Start in a Defined Niche
It is easier to be a thought leader in a well-defined area than a vast one. A smaller niche does not mean you are missing opportunities – rather, it gives you the chance to make more of the ones you do attract. A smaller niche helps you make better judgments and be more effective.
Work with Influencers
Influencers shape what others think, do, and buy. At first, it may seem like the only “influencers” in your space are your direct competitors, but this is rarely true. Partnering with influencers and sharing useful content is one of the best ways to leverage another’s audience without conflict.
Build a Network
Networking helps you deepen and strengthen your message by finding others who value your talents. It opens up the way to lucrative joint ventures where you can leverage others’ efforts to the mutual success of everyone – if you’re operating from an authentic, value-added place.
Shake Up Established Thinking
True thought leaders don’t just throw something at the wall and see if it sticks. They not only have a unique way of doing things, but a clear value proposition about how their way is better. This is what attracts and maintains interest from discerning customers in long buying cycles.
Thought leadership takes time and effort, but it is an important part of building an enterprise that will last. Luckily, all aspects of thought leadership work with, and benefit from, good content marketing.