We've compiled some thought leadership tips and tricks- because we know your inner-thought leader has been itching to get out there too.
Step one: Relevantize
You want to own a conversation around a specific space but you're not quite sure where to get started. This solution will sound simple enough and you've probably heard it before: Start with what you (really, truly) know - and then map out the connections between that knowledge and your desired audience.
• What topics or issues do you and your organization stand behind? Take a stance.
• What are some recent conversations that resonated with you and what was so intriguing about it? Was it an unsuspecting trend or conflict?
• How does your knowledge or perspective set you apart? Is it your voice or your experience - might you speak with through the lens of your own personal experience?
Whether you're referencing a current event, a time in history or sharing a prediction, as the opportunity presents itself, weave in your own unique take.
Step Two: Keep Your Ear to the Ground
To stay on top of your game, you need to stay actively plugged in. Becoming a seasoned thought leader is not just about technical knowledge, there is also an element of vision and personality as well as involvement. Discuss events that you've attended or the influencers you follow and how they affect your industry.
“Be an original, share your enthusiasm, educate yourself on your industry, make enough room for others, be open to criticism and don’t get short-sighted.”
– Jessica Northey
Talk to your team and other executives. Find out what stories they're following. Tap into what they're passionate about and why. This is part of the process to shape your content - it's a long haul of trying different perspectives.
Step Three: Don't Sell Anything for Goodness Sake
This step speaks for itself. A thought leader is never pitching. Attempting to sell in your thought leadership formats will almost instantly discredit your expertise when the audience sniffs it out.
Thought leadership content should be helpful to your customers and prospects. While it is absolutely intended to be engaging and spark feedback, thought leadership is simply a practical means to connect with your desired audience.
Some additional thoughts on this topic are beautifully explained in the two post below.
1. Hat tip to our very own Connor Bradley for this one 👏🏽
2. Here is the always inspirational Brian Solis speaking to how thought leadership is a way to invest in a community. He once said in an interview:
True thought leadership starts with empathy.
Can you tell me the top ten problems your audience has at any given time? How about the top ten aspirations?
What Makes Someone a Thought Leader? - Brian Solis
That was the question I was recently asked by my friend Vivienne Neale. I wasn't sure how to reply. After all, we all have our "thought leaders" whom we follow. Me, I always wanted to be part of a community where doing meaningful things made belonging matter.