Thought leadership is not a buzzword. Developing a thought leadership campaign using your experts can elevate your visibility and value beyond your competitors.
Thought leadership attracts business
A thought leader is someone with a unique perspective and passion about how something can be achieved. They speak with clarity. Their opinion is rooted in knowledge and knowhow so that their ideas can be realised, and their successes replicated.
Thought leaders are engaging, inspirational and motivating. They have a media profile and they attract followers because, within their community, they are visible, valued and understood.
Take for example, Simon Sinek, the leadership and branding expert – his presentations are highly visual, accessible and offer clear, articulate, replicable steps. His message is simple, easy to remember, reference and repeat. As a result, his ideas spread, his profile increases, and he sells more books and his consultancy grows.
Bathe in reflected glory
A business can employ any number of thought leaders – each an expert in their own field, with different communication styles and preferred platforms. Whether you grow your own or employ existing thought leaders, the important thing is that you encourage and support them to capture, structure and articulate their best ideas,. Doing so will add further value to your business’s vision and mission.
It’s worth noting that the process of sharing thought leadership enables you to harness and harvest the intellectual property (deliberate small ‘i’ small ‘p’) which resides in the heads of your most valuable employees – employees who one day may be employed by your greatest competitor. Encourage them to share their brilliance while employed by you, so your business can bathe in its reflected glory.
Passion is persuasive
Don’t talk about things you don’t care about because it will show – it will be dull, and everyone will ignore you. Talking and writing for the sake of it does not make you a thought leader. Don’t write about the same stuff as everyone else, this makes you a copycat and possibly a plagiarist.
Being an expert takes time and commitment as does having an expert opinion. Developing an opinion usually means that you have investigated, considered and formulated different perspectives around an issue.
Few people will invest time and energy if they don’t care about a subject. When people commit some effort, it’s because they give a damn and when you give a damn, your passion shines through and it becomes so much more compelling.
Your business needs thought leadership because it helps your business to grow, it reflects well on your reputation and it showcases your brilliance.
Request our free guide on how you can become a thought leader.
This article first appeared on LinkedIn.
1. What success will look like – My starting point is always to determine what success will look like, in terms of what do we want marketing to deliver in order to enable the company to achieve its strategic goal(s)? Whatever the desired outcome is, it must be measurable. There should be a communication objective against each business objective such as: To generate #X qualified leads for bespoke vessel design from shipyards servicing the renewables industry.
2. Whose attention do we want to grab? – Knowing what we want to achieve then leads us to the next quantifiable question: Whose attention do we want to grab? We need to be as specific as possible and I would suggest that the starting point for this would be your existing database. Identify who you currently sell to in this industry and use this as a signpost for who to target moving forward. For example: We want to target and engage Technical Designers and Vessel Designers employed by Shipyards (anywhere in the world).
3. What can we say that is arresting? – We need to say something to them to make our audience stop and think in an intelligent and authoritative way – challenge their assumption or inspire their imagination. (Remember: People buy why you do something, not what you do. They engage with your passion**). This is where we, as a company play a role, expending creative energy to communicate in a way that provokes the reaction that you want.
4. What do we want them to do? – Now that we have their attention, what do we want them to do? The call to action is what enables us to measure how successful the marketing communication has been. It needs to be realistic and achievable. It can also provide a clear hand-over point between marketing and business development, such as:We want them to give us their contact details and indicate their area of interest (and possibly what stage of the buying cycle they are in)
Be realistic, business people will not place an order for many hundreds of thousands of pounds off the back of a piece of marketing communication however, they will express interest by following a link or subscribing to a newsletter, or requesting a download. Once this is received, it’s at this point that your business development people should step in and take over the lead while your marketing communication continues to work in the background.
5.Relevance and cost-efficiency – The choice of marketing vehicles, then comes down to relevance and cost-efficiency i.e. how do we get our message to your target audience in the most cost efficient way. When a company is tackling multiple markets there will be a range of vehicles being deployed with some overlap. The important thing is for everyone in your team to be clear about your desired outcome for each given capability and market.
Essentially the better you design and execute, the better the outcome – for those engineers in the audience: does this sound familiar?
** I’m passionate about helping engineers to communicate more effectively with customers, colleagues and the media because I think they’re a remarkable group of people who don’t get the credit they deserve.
Contact me if you would like me to help you prepare an effective communication strategy for 2017.
With 2 weeks to go, now is the time to think about your social media strategy. Promoting your attendance through posts on Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook can provide you with a great opportunity to get your message out, start planning now with the following top tips:
1.Follow and be followed: Prevailing ‘netiquette’ dictates that if someone follows you on Twitter then you should follow them back. So make sure you are following everyone who you want to follow you and on LinkedIn, send out your invitations to connect this week.
2.Spread the word: Include your social media addresses on all your trade show promotional material, as well as on your exhibition stand. Publicise these addresses this week, upload a press release on to your website and send out a link to the press release via social media.
3.Assign a lead: Decide who is going to be your social media lead at the show ensuring they are familiar with the different channels you want to communicate through. Get them tweeting from today highlighting what you’re doing in preparation for the show.
4.Utilise hashtags: Use the trade show’s Twitter hashtags, #Seawork #CommercialMarine and connect with the people who are using it. Be an active participant in conversations linked to these hashtags. Be willing to comment and retweet interesting updates.
5.Plan your tweets: trade shows can be exhausting so it’s a good idea to pre-plan your tweets. Aim to send out 1 an hour talking about the show’s news, highlights and any interesting statistics/occurrences.
6.Give credit: Wherever possible, try to include links back to interesting online content – ideally from your own website, but don’t be afraid of referring to someone else’s brilliance if you think they deserve it.
7.Get your camera out: Take lots of pictures and short video clips providing snapshots of what’s happening on the ground, especially at your stand. Any decent smartphone is more than capable of capturing good quality images/videos if handled well.
As you work through these steps always keep the desired outcome in mind to make sure your communication is super effective.