So what does being a thought leader actually mean what does it encompass? Forbes offers the following definition of the term:
A thought leader is an individual or firm that prospects, clients, referral sources, intermediaries and even competitors recognize as one of the foremost authorities in selected areas of specialization, resulting in it being the go-to individual or organization for said expertise.
So by utilising the concept of thought leadership in your marketing, your company and perhaps even you as an individual can benefit immensely. It positions your company not only as a leader in its field, but also as a company associated with other key traits such as being knowledgeable, an authority, a topical expert, a benchmark for others and a brilliant visionary.
Well that all sounds great and who would not want that from a company perspective however getting there might be a slightly more difficult task. Considering the changes in mind set, approach and effort, it might not be for everyone. But for the sake of this article, let’s assume it is the preferred path to take.
A deliberate strategy to become a thought leader, would require marketing to develop a series of programmes and tools in order to position the company as such. There are a couple of key areas that would need to be considered in order to fulfil this type of marketing:
Knowledge & Expertise
Before committing to this approach, it would be advisable to objectively consider if you as an individual or as an organisation have the knowledge and the expertise to honestly and publically say that you are a thought leader in your field. It’s a bold statement and in itself openly offers people to comment on your ability. If you do have what it takes then this is a major indicator that this type of strategy would be beneficial to pursue.
Content is king
What you say is equally important. Your content will need to be considered insightful, thought-provoking, innovative, new and different and in a good way that is designed to change people’s way of thinking, learn something of importance as to how they go about doing business.
How you say it can be essential. If you are not able to communicate your new, innovative, fresh ideas to others then this insight is really only useful for yourself. It can be likened to having an exceptionally intelligent and well educated teacher, but if the teacher cannot communicate what they know to others then no one else can benefit from their knowledge.
Now that you have nailed the above three component parts to your strategy, it is time to make it accessible and publically available through all the marketing channels that your target audience could possibly consider using in their quest for information. Blogs, newspapers, TV, magazines, social media, newsletters, public event, whitepapers, case studies and not least your own website will be some of the avenues to consider in your thought leadership strategy.
As the only certainty is change, it would be foolish to think that you develop this once and that you will never need to do it again. Staying at the forefront means continuously developing and seeking out what is new, different, useful, trendy and upcoming. This will most likely also mean that you as an individual and as a company will need to change and this can sometimes be the most difficult thing to achieve.
The benefits of thought leadership marketing goes beyond just being able to attract new clients. It will impact the sales cycle, get attention from the competition, increase the attractiveness of you as an employer and open up other doors for influencing the industry that you are in as well as potentially attract investors.
And to think that it could all start very simply with a really well thought out newsletter programme. Sounds interesting? Then just give us a call.