Some know it as the latest buzz word that has swept content marketing (therefore, a word that has become as cliche as content marketing itself). But many have been practicing thought leadership for a long time as a means to:
• share specialized problem-solving insight and predictions
• get ahead of competitors
• become an trusted influencer (as an organization or individual)
• work on your personal messaging approach
• ultimately, connect the desired audience with valuable narratives
What's all the hype about?
At last check, Linkedin reported that over 20,000 members have positioned themselves as thought leaders. These are individuals that have created a voice geared not just at big picture thinking but also at finding creative ways to communicate excellently-researched stats powered by a certain charisma.
It was recently reported that, B2B executives seek out thought leadership content for three main reasons:
To encounter thoughts that go beyond current thinking (42%), to identify new business opportunities (34%), and to address existing business problems (28%).
Source: The Economist Group
in Association with Hill + Knowlton Strategies
What does thought leadership look like?
As a thought leader, you want your audience to first feel seen, heard and understood before you can offer them anything - whether a case study, sage advice, strategies, a world view. It's well-researched and intelligently pushed through channels where your audience already dwells. It's a public talk, a blog post or video, infographic or white paper.
Thought leaders are personable, passionate often inspiring and have the inside, tested scoop. They have a track record or have an incredible ability to keep track. A few thought leaders that come to mind:
HOW TO START | A Gary Vaynerchuk Original
MAYBE THE MOST IMPORTANT VIDEO I'VE EVER PUT OUT ... ENOUGH ASKING QUESTIONS, IT'S TIME YOU STARTED!!! START YOUR YOUTUBE CHANNEL START YOUR PODCAST START YO...
But thought leaders are not just industry celebrities. Perhaps you're an up and comer with refreshing perspectives on current or forthcoming trends. Maybe you're already a local influencer looking to reach a broader community and access talent to fuel like-minded concepts.
As a thought leader, you want to boost business development opportunities - whether through exposure with your networks and buyers, strengthening your brand and becoming attractive to new talent. You do so by communicating with enthusiasm and a personal style that is as unique as your message.
Remember, with thought leadership, the empowerment should be two-way.
If you're not helping the reader or viewer, you're definitely not helping your brand.
What does thought leadership look like in your organization? How are you measuring its effectiveness? Below is a post with some tips on how to activate and distribute your thought leadership.