What makes a successful thought leader? Why it’s not enough to write an article.
What makes a successful thought leader? If you want to be elevated to the status of thought leader in your industry, you’ve got to apply yourself to doing more than writing the odd article, you’ve got to be ready to promote your ideas to your target audience. In this article, we show you how to leverage all your connections and opportunities to become a successful thought leader.
Being a thought leader is not so much an aspiration as a dedication!
You might have noticed that we’re talking about thought leadership a lot lately – and it’s perhaps no surprise that, as we head into the New Year, thought leadership is front and centre of most organisations’ communications plans. Business leaders are fast realising that being seen as an expert or ‘thought leader’ in their space isn’t only good for brand awareness but can also have a demonstrable impact on the bottom line. People buy from experts, in all sectors, and providing reassurance that your leaders not only know their stuff, but understand where the market is heading, can give you that all important competitive edge.
In our guide, how to become a thought leader in your industry, we provide useful hints and tips on and what it takes to get going. And our latest blog explains why you don’t have to be a great writer to create compelling thought leadership content.
All this should be enough to get you started. But as you polish off that first well-researched, compelling article, remember it’s not enough to write insightful content. It’s what you do with it that counts.
Where should you present, post and publish thought leadership?
We’ve talked before about honing your area of expertise and the subjects you want to talk about – concentrating on addressing the issues which are most important to your audiences. Once you’ve worked out what you want to say, and who you want to say it to, it’s time to track down where your audiences are – and work out how to reach them.
We call this assessing the ‘circle of influence’ – and it involves taking a hard look at your prospect customer, and where and how they find their information. Do they read blogs and could you guest post on them? Are they trawling LinkedIn for information? If so, do you need to think about boosted posts on your own LinkedIn profile? If they are reading a particular industry magazine, can your PR team help you get your articles in there?
The ‘build it and they will come’ approach isn’t likely to work unless you already have a well-established following online. Instead, it’s about getting out there and promoting your thoughts and ideas.
How do you leverage your network to maximise your influence?
Engaging with other influencers in your area of expertise can be make or break for your thought leadership campaign – make sure you leverage every networking opportunity to discuss and evolve your key concepts. Asking people you know to share your content can really help amplify your messages and reach new audiences. Remember to ask people within your organisation to show your posts some love too – likes and shares, and most importantly, comments that add to the conversation, will help your post gain traction.
How do you engage with other influencers?
As well as asking people you know for help, it’s also crucial to ensure you engage with new influencers. When you write about a subject, and want to start promoting your piece, it’s a good idea to do a trawl of Twitter, Medium etc. to find out who else is writing about your subject and who is successfully reaching a similar audience. Engage with them – like, share and add thoughtful comments to their articles, comment on their social media posts and begin building a rapport. It’s likely that they’ll then return the favour and help you amplify your own content.
How do you grow your reputation as a thought leader?
You can build momentum and grow your reputation as a thought leader by listening and learning from your results. Learn from how your articles performed; consider anecdotal evidence and hard data like Google Analytics to refine, enhance and empower what you do moving forward – as with any aspect of PR, evaluation is crucial. Did a particular subject spur a lot of engagement? Think about a follow up post on the same or a similar subject. Did engaging with an influencer lead to an upswing in engagement? Nurture that relationship and ask them to share your next article too.
And keep going – one article does not make you a thought leader. Quantity is crucial for establishing a following. Be seen to write frequently and have your finger on the pulse of what’s happening in the industry.
What help do your business leaders need to become successful thought leaders?
So, there’s plenty to think about, and lots to do, but the rewards are significant. For business leaders who are time-poor, but idea-rich it’s an excellent idea to get some help. We’re on hand. Why not have a look at our case study featuring Concirrus, whose CEO has become a successful thought leader in the FinTech industry. Or simply get in contact today with the EC-PR team.