Thought leadership has become a buzzword in business over the past few years.
It is everywhere — in blogs, on social media and in conversations about business. You can’t avoid having heard about it.
But what does thought leadership mean to you and your business? And how do you become a thought leader in your niche?
A thought leader has been defined (by Business News Daily) as “a notable expert in a specific company, industry or society. Someone who offers guidance and insight to those around them.”
A thought leader has a positive reputation for sharing their knowledge and insight. It can be an individual or a business.
Why do I care about being a thought leader?
Ok. So that is what a thought leader technically, academically is. But why do you care and should you even bother to try to build this type of reputation in your field?
I decided to take a minute and find out.
First I found this quote by Jeff Ernst, principal analyst at Forrester Research. He says, “Business buyers don’t ‘buy’ your product or service, they ‘buy into’ your perspective and approach to solving their problems.”
Increasing sales and revenue by creating a reputation for thought leadership sounded interesting.
Then I read that Michael Stelzner said, “If you want to remain ‘top-of-mind’ in your industry, you must regularly provide relevant content to a niche audience. When you consistently deliver value to the right people, they will share your content, evangelize your products and services and in many cases become your best customers.”
More engagement? Higher sales? Customer loyalty?
Sign me up!
But what does it take to create thought leadership and to really make a difference to your readers?
I’ve found that it takes a combination of the desire to share what you know, opinions on your industry and the future of it that you are willing to offer and general engagement in the world of your business.
Being visible, authentic and….well, human.
Don’t constantly sell. Don’t preach. Engage.
Here are the 3 tips I found to build thought leadership in your niche using your content and messaging:
Find a topic that is a burning issue for your target audience and offer a new way to frame it and solve it.
Develop and articulate a well-informed point of view. Tell your story and frame it in terms of the value delivered to help buyers see new possibilities.
Become a futurist about your industry and niche. When creating content, consider what has happened in the past and how it affects today and where your work will be in 5, 10 or even 15 years.
Consistently posting high quality content that educates, entertains and inspires helps your ideal clients (your customers) learn about your company and your work. This builds trust and eventually leads to a long term relationship.
In the end, creating thought leadership is not only worth it, but is essential to scaling your business.