Business owners and senior decision makers haven’t gotten to where they are by fluke; they’ve gained experience over time and become experts in their field. Even so, there is a big gap between being an ‘expert’ and being a ‘Thought Leader’. And with the increasing power and importance of Thought Leadership marketing in B2B industries, it’s a gap you should want to bridge.
“Thought leaders are the informed opinion leaders and the go-to people in their field of expertise. They are trusted sources who move and inspire people with innovative ideas” – Denise Brosseau
So, how do you evolve from being an expert to demonstrating Thought Leadership? It can be broken down into three key stages:
In the first stage, you choose the topics in your area of expertise that you want to be known for and develop your opinion around them. To flesh out your opinion, research and read other people’s content on your specialist topics.
Developing your online platforms and presence is also key at this stage; create or refresh your social platforms and website to be consistent and reflect your company’s (or your personal) brand. Start developing regular, simple content – like blogs – around your topics, optimising keywords to improve your website’s SEO.
Once your opinions are formed and platforms are ready, the next stage to being a Thought Leader is promoting your content and your expert opinions. At this stage, your content needs to be more extensive than just a blog.
While it can be simply commenting on industry topics and news on social media, creating white papers around your topic or conducting industry research will give you more credibility as an authority in your specialist area. And you can promote this content in a variety of ways–media outreach, advertising, email marketing, or presenting at industry events.
At this stage, you’re considered a Thought Leader by other leaders in your industry and they may actively seek out your opinion on industry news. You may look to be endorsed by an industry association; whether through accreditation, partnerships or by guest-speaking at industry events. But, your work isn’t done. To remain a Thought Leader, you must continue to research and develop your opinions, by staying on top of industry trends and continuing to create fresh content to remain relevant.
The journey to becoming a Thought Leader takes time and dedication, but the benefits are vast. If you are trying to position yourself – personally – as a Thought Leader, it can fast track career progression.
Meanwhile, positioning your company brand as a Thought Leader is equally important. In B2B industries that are often dominated by the brands of larger firms, Thought Leadership can increase brand exposure for small- and medium-sized firms and, ultimately, lead to more client leads and sales. Furthermore, Thought Leadership can also act as a value-add to clients – potentially pushing up your price-point.
If you’re just starting out on your journey to Thought Leadership or simply don’t have the time for content, we can kick-start this for you with our content packages. Or if you want to continue building your B2B brand and Thought Leadership status, get in touch, we’ll be happy to discuss how to take your firm to the next level.