23 Jul 5 Ways to Build Your Thought Leadership Profile
What separates the CEO’s, bloggers and other industry leaders who have a huge personal following, are highly respected and whose opinions are sought after by journalists and publications on a regular basis? Why are these people celebrated for their original, high quality content and what gives them such authority?
The one thing these people have is their positioning as thought leaders; people who have innovative, far-reaching and potentially business & life changing ideas.
In today’s digital space it’s one of the highest compliments you can receive. It positions you as someone who makes big waves and is a “big deal” within your industry.
Why thought leadership?
The majority of our readers are C-Suite executives and senior decision makers within large companies themselves, and so the obvious objection to expanding your thought leadership profile is likely a lack of time.
Another objection might gravitate around the “personal brand vs. company brand” dilemma. After all, you’ve spent so much time building your company’s brand and what it stands for, why would you suddenly turn around and begin positioning yourself instead?
The answer here is simple; you don’t stop working on your brand building activities and its credibility. Instead, you become another face and voice for your brand that people can connect with. You see, although in the B2B space we do business with other businesses, we still connect and establish relationships with people; not logos.
As for lack of time, you should find your own motivations for this. In a sense, you’re building your company’s profile as you build your own thought leadership profile, and at the very least it should be tested.
If you think building yourself up as a thought leader sounds worthwhile then the strategies below will help you get results. Remember, you can integrate these within your company too so everyone can benefit.
1. Build your online presence
Blogging. It’s one of the most effective content marketing channels that can generate leads and, if you do it properly, can seriously boost your thought leadership profile.
Creating high-value content that serves people can be used across all industries. It’s a showcase for your knowledge and the big bonus is the search engine love you generate, too. Target the right keywords and you’ll find your top-of-funnel web traffic increase steadily.
Blogging is also a great business development platform. You can connect with other thought leaders and share each other’s’ platforms. Creating content for someone else is a great way of leveraging an audience that you do not yet have access to.
2. Host a podcast
Did you know that there have been over a billion podcast downloads on the iTunes store to date? It’s a huge market, and that’s because people are constantly looking for fresh entertainment and knowledge.
Your knowledge and expertise are likely going to work well through podcasts. Podcasting is an incredibly effective marketing tool and you can reach people all over the world. Most people actually prefer listening to them while they’re travelling and on the road, so you avoid the “I’ll get around to it later” excuse that some forms of content suffer from.
Not convinced? John Lee Dumas built his entire business around his popular “Entrepreneur on Fire” podcast, and now does 6 figures a month with various products and mentoring. Podcasting is certainly not something to be scoffed at.
There’s nothing that quite screams “credibility” like standing on a stage in front of hundreds of people and sharing your expertise and knowledge. It’s not for everyone, but it’s certainly a great way to quickly become a thought leader in your space.
One huge bonus of being a speaker is that you’ll quickly meet new leads face-to-face. Striking these prospects while the iron is hot means you can convert them into new business even faster than online leads.
Similar to speaking, this requires you to share ideas and experiences in front of a live audience. There are two major benefits that webinars have over speaking live; scalability and accessibility.
Business leaders or senior decision makers don’t have to invest as much time that they would if they were to attend a conference or exhibition. Getting them to sign in to a live webinar at their own office rather than attend a physical event is a much easier challenge.
You can also serve far more people at once due to scalability. Thousands of people may tune in to a webinar at any one time, and providing you give a great call-to-action at the end you can generate many leads and sales as a result.
5. Establish a club
This requires you to be incredibly laser focused, but the rewards you yield can be so phenomenal it’s certainly worth it.
Creating your own club, hosting dinners and inviting very specific CXO’s and other senior decision makers to discuss new ideas and debate hot topics can very quickly turn a cold relationship into an incredibly warm one. You discuss and share ideas with them as a group, but also engage with them one-on-one.
We’ve helped our clients use this exact model to generate 6 to 7 figures worth of pipeline in as little as 6 to 8 weeks. If you can focus the central topic of the club around your buyer personas and develop a proposition that will entice your dream, “target” prospects in then you should certainly consider creating one.
As you can see, thought leadership is primarily about delivering valuable content to your target audience around topics they care about. What we’ve given you here is a foundation as well as proven ways to successfully build your thought leadership profile.
You may have also noticed that we’ve not simply talked about fluffy concepts here. It’s not just about being “well known” but leveraging that authority and using it to drive business results.
Take what we’ve given you here as a roadmap and apply it to your overall marketing strategy, and see what results it can bring to you.