How can a thought leadership strategy put you head and shoulders above your competition?
Putting yourself out there is scary – trust me, I know!
When I first started sharing my opinions in podcasts and then videos, I felt nervous. But I knew that if I wanted to stand out and be seen as a content repurposing authority, I had to create content. In this digital age, there’s no two ways about it.
Not to mention, I had to practice what I preach!
I knew that if I consistently followed a content approach based on thought leadership and building my personal brand, it would pay off in the long-term.
I’ve seen this strategy generate benefits for businesses across many different industries. It just takes commitment.
So, what’s holding you back from embracing a thought leadership strategy? Find out what you and your business could be missing out on…
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What is a thought leader?
A thought leader is someone who stands out in their industry thanks to their informed opinions. They’re recognized authorities and the go-to people in their field for their trusted expertise.
A thought leadership strategy in content marketing terms is a way to position yourself or your brand so that you build authority and credibility within your industry. It’s a way to get noticed, set yourself apart from your competition, and win business.
You’ve probably heard this strategy described before as “developing a personal brand”, “becoming known” or even that dreaded word “influencer”.
I certainly prefer the term thought leader as opposed to influencer. Both ultimately mean someone who has influence, which is definitely part of a thought leadership strategy, but “influencer” has, unfortunately, become a bit of a dirty word.
It’s important to recognize how truly powerful influence can be though. It’s about affecting the decisions of others because of a person’s authority, knowledge, position, or relationship with their audience. Which is ultimately what a thought leadership content strategy aims to do.
How do you become a thought leader?
Thought leaders share their opinions and points of view in a way that’s beneficial to others. It’s a way to provide value, grow your audience, and guide them towards your thinking to build authority.
Thought leadership content is often information-based or educational, it can be inspiring and/or entertaining too – depending on the topic or thought leader’s personality!
Thought leaders need to share their perspectives frequently, at least once a week, in my opinion. These ideas should also relate to what you want to be known for. Consider these questions to start planning what you need to be talking about:
- What are the core pillars of your brand or business?
- What do you want people to associate you with?
- How do you want to be perceived in your industry?
As you repeatedly share your ideas (preferably your unique and bold ideas), people will recognize that you’re an authority in that field. They’ll come to you with their questions and look to you for advice.
Like any content strategy, thought leadership requires hard, consistent work. But is it worth it?
I definitely think so!
There are some incredible long-term benefits to investing in a thought leadership content strategy. Here are 7 reasons why a thought leadership strategy is worth it…
1. Reach more people
A thought-leadership strategy is content-driven. Content is how you’re delivering your opinions to your audience. It’s the proof in the pudding that you know what you’re talking about.
In this connected world that we live in, expecting to be recognized as a leader in your industry without creating and sharing any content is totally unrealistic.
Now, it doesn’t really matter what kind of content you create. It could be video, podcast, blog format, livestream...whatever’s the best medium for you...but consistency is the key. Repeatedly and reliably getting your message out there will help you reach more people and attract more clients to your business.
2. Build trust
A consistent approach coupled with sharing valuable thoughts will not only grow your audience, but it’ll build their trust in you too.
Trust is a powerful part of the sales process. If people already trust you thanks to your content and leadership, then the easier your sales conversation will be. People will be ready to invest in those they trust when the time comes.
If your prospect isn’t ready to make a buying decision, or you think that they’re not right for your business, your thought leadership content could help. You could share content that answers their questions and makes them feel secure that your business is right for them, or content to convince them otherwise – depending on the prospect!
There’s one content format that builds trust above all others: video. I talked about this in my interview with captivating video creator Mike Ganino. Check out the episode How to Create Captivating Video Content with Mike Ganino to find out why video is the best content type for building trust.
3. Attract talent and build a strong team
Creating a strong personal brand through thought leadership won’t just attract more leads, it’ll also attract the best talent.
Nothing is more important to your business than having the right people in your team. Thought leadership and a great personal brand are magnetizing, and people will gravitate towards working with you.
I’ve worked with costly recruitment agencies in the past, but some of my best hires have actually been due to our content! Two of our recent new hires found out about Content 10x through my podcast…so it’s funny sometimes the things your content can do for you.
In fact, when people apply to be part of the Content 10x team, I ask why they want to work with us – you might be surprised just how often people say it’s because of our content! It just goes to show how content builds trust in so many different ways.
4. Improve credibility
Credibility is a key factor in establishing authority. I’ve already mentioned how being consistent can build credibility, and I talk about it a lot in episode 171, 7 Reasons Why You Should Create Episodic Content, but think about the other benefits of this.
Your competitors are also trying to win business. When it comes down to it, potential customers could be swayed by who is more credible. If your strategy is geared towards establishing authority and credibility, then great! But if you’re not sure about sharing your knowledge, then your competitor might spot an opportunity to share theirs, and you could miss out.
5. More opportunities will arise
As you establish yourself within your industry and your audience grows, so will your opportunities. It’s like compound interest – the more you have, the more you get!
You could be invited to do podcast interviews, speak at events, or you may even get featured in the press. Opportunities to collaborate and participate in new spaces are fantastic for getting in front of audiences who may not have heard of you before. Increased exposure is good all around, from getting your message to a new crowd, growing your audience, and receiving more opportunities.
6. Inviting to pitch for more work
If you’re in an industry or business where you need to pitch or tender for work, then it’s not always easy to get a foot in the door. But if people know who you are and what you do, they will want to know what you can do for them.
Thought leadership helps establish authority which makes you more appealing to potential clients. They’ll want to hear what you can bring to the table, and you’ll see a rise in people inviting you to pitch to them.
Obviously, having more leads and opportunities is a good thing, but it also means you can be more selective. You could have your pick of who you want to work with (not who you have to). Any business owner knows how much of a win that is!
7. Win awards!
Industry awards may sometimes be considered a vanity metric, but they can also add weight to your achievements and help position you as an industry leader.
If you’re already an authority in your industry and nominated for an award, you might even be more likely to win.
It’s a vicious circle where those who are already popular will become more popular. However, if you’ve got the content to prove that you deserve the award, then what’s stopping you? You could win the Oscar-equivalent in your industry!
At Content 10x, we’ve helped clients launch podcasts and video shows and create more content, leading to nominations for all kinds of industry awards. Our clients get invited to events and have received various accolades thanks to what their content has helped them achieve.
How can you become a thought leader?
I hope those 7 benefits have shown you what’s possible when you embrace a thought leadership content strategy and invest in building a strong personal brand.
Of course, it is a long game, but it is so worth it. I’ve seen what it does for our clients, and I know it’s possible for your business too.
You don’t have to go it alone either. If you don’t have a lot of time to work on your content, our services can help you establish authority without over-dedicating yourself to content creation. Do reach out to us if you want to make this a reality.
You can also check out our flagship LinkedIn 10x Service, where we help you build influence within your industry.