A thought leader is someone who understands what needs to be done in a certain area. These are people who are experts in their field and who know what it takes to succeed. If you’re the owner of a B2B business, you likely have some expertise that you could share with the world. Doing so can not only raise your personal profile but you can actually leverage your thought leadership to grow your business.
According to a survey from LinkedIn, 58 percent of decision-makers now spend at least an hour per week reading information from thought leaders. In addition, 60 percent of them said that thought leadership led directly to them awarding that company with their business. With these kinds of numbers, establishing yourself as a thought leader is one of the best marketing tools at your disposal. If you want to leverage thought leadership as a business growth strategy, here are some steps you can follow.
Decide What You Want to Talk About
The first thing you’ll want to do is decide what you want to talk about. You’ll want to pick something that you are particularly knowledgeable about and that’s related to your business. For example, the owner of a local internet marketing company may choose to talk about the future of local search marketing.
Create a list of topics that you are knowledgeable about. When creating your list, remember that while it’s okay to talk about multiple topics, you’ll want to limit yourself to a few. It’s better to be seen as an expert in a few select topics rather than being knowledgeable about a wide range of topics. Limiting your topics will also allow you to dive deeper into each topic and provide better information to your audience.
Create Valuable Content
Once you know what you want to talk about, the next step is to start creating some content. The easiest way to get started is by producing some written content. It’s easy to create a blog on your website and publish your latest thoughts on a topic. However, you don’t have to limit yourself to only blog posts. You can also create videos, podcasts, infographics, or media that your audience would like.
The key when creating content of any kind is producing something valuable. Remember, you are trying to be seen as a thought leader. Therefore, you need to provide enough value to demonstrate that you are an expert in this topic. If your audience doesn’t learn anything new from your content, they may not come back to you for information in the future.
Manage Your Content
Once you start creating content, you’ll want a system in place to manage it all. A great way to achieve this is by using knowledge base software. With this type of software, it’s easy for you or anyone else on your team to search through the system to find related content. It then becomes easier to see which topics you’ve already covered and which ones you’ve missed. You’ll also have an easier time linking this content together, which is great for SEO.
You can also use this knowledge management software to organize your internal documents. As your thought leadership campaign becomes more detailed, you’ll likely have documents outlining the steps you’re taking. Having everything you need, from your published articles to internal campaign documents, in one place will make your campaign more effective and easier to manage.
Get the Word Out
An important aspect of a thought leadership campaign is getting the word out. It’s not typically enough to write a great blog post and publish it on your website. You have to let people know it exists and find other ways to get yourself noticed.
One simple way to do this is through social media. With social media accounts, you can connect with other prominent members of your community. If you can get one of these accounts to share your new article, you’ll gain a lot of attention from the right people. Then, as you build up a following on your social media accounts, you can quickly share your latest content with a highly interested audience.
Another strategy you can use is giving interviews. Look for outlets in your industry and see if they are interested in conducting an interview with you. You can also offer your expertise on topics they are covering and provide them with a quote for their article. A great tool for this is Help A Reporter Out (HARO), which connects journalists with experts in their field. Even a small mention in a popular article can do a lot towards building up your credibility and directing people towards your business’s website.
Analyze Audience Feedback
Finally, analyze any feedback you receive from your audience. What sort of content are they looking for? What topics do they wish you would cover? Read through the comments on your articles or the messages you receive on social media. They may spark ideas for new content or allow you to create more tailored content for your audience. It’s also a great way to interact with your audience and establish yourself as someone who engages with the community.
Leveraging Your New Status as a Thought Leader
Once you start to make a name for yourself as a thought leader, you should see a related uptick in business sales. B2B buyers want to do business with reputable services and will go with a business that’s run by an expert. Becoming a thought leader within a niche can take time but the long-term benefits are often worth it.