In her book, Ready to Be a Thought Leader? How to Increase Your Influence, Impact, and Success, Denise Brosseau says that to become a well-known thought leader requires strategic visibility.
This is possible by using marketing techniques and strategies that help an organization or an individual become recognized as someone important and worthy of listening to.
To make this happen, we need to follow some marketing strategies referred to as the guiding principles of thought leadership marketing. Three of these guiding principles are the following:
Thought Leaders and Originality
When posts, blogs, articles on LinkedIn, or trade publications are published, originality refers to new and original ideas. Some seeking to be thought leaders are simply re-packaging the tried-and-true ideas of other thought leaders that have come before them.
This can work if the thought leader has a different take on the topic or suggests new ways to look at the idea. However, it will get only moderate attention and visibility if it is just old information in a new package.
Successful thought leaders present new perspectives. That’s what makes them unique, gets them attention, and results in that strategic visibility Brosseau was referencing.
Thought Leaders Must Be Specific
A new study published in January of 2022 by the Marketing Insider Group, a content marketing organization, takes a deep dive into thought leadership – its benefits, how to make it work, and what does not.
One of the things they found is that one of the big complaints of C-suite executives about thought leadership content is that it does not focus on a central theme. It meanders. Sixty-three percent in the study found this their biggest complaint about thought leadership content.
So, what is content that is too generic? According to the researchers, it is the following:
- Written from the writer’s point of view and not the reader’s perspective.
- Boring or challenging to read.
- It’s content marketing 101, meaning it’s too simple and not focused.
- Too abstract.
- Includes unsubstantiated opinions.
On the other hand, specific content addresses one or a few related issues; gets to the point; is fresh and easy to read; addresses issues and challenges the reader may be currently facing and does not promote a product or service.
Thought Leaders and Consistency
This is an issue that comes up in PR/communications often. A potential client will say they were writing blogs for about a year but did not see a return on their investment in new clients, revenues, or website traffic. Or they will say they published an article in this publication and then a couple more in another publication but did not see any results.
Here is the point they are missing.
Whether marketing is a thought leader, a brand, or a technology, consistency is critical in every channel possible. The analogy I often use is an old steam engine coming out of the barn. It starts slowly. There may even be some fits and starts, but eventually, it picks up steam, and in time, it’s rolling. Consistency is key. Most communication programs for thought leaders need six to twelve months before the benefits are realized.
Here’s what James Blake, an Irish entrepreneur and thought leader says about consistency:
“I mean being on every online channel that fits your business goals, with a consistent style and message. People should see you and intuitively know who you are and what you’re about. To this end, your content must be delivered frequently and consistently.”
This all comes down to regularly presenting fresh, high-quality content of value to as many others as possible or entire industries. However, for many thought leaders, this is their most significant battle.
But here are some tips to help address this challenge:
- I know we said content must be fresh, but many times older content can be refreshed, written in a new light, and updated.
- When giving presentations, the questions your audience asks can be unbelievably valuable. They are often asking questions impacting them and their business right now. Turn those questions into future blogs, articles, and posts, adding your insights.
- Similarly, many thought leaders we work with are now doing podcasts and trade publication talk shows. Listen carefully to the questions asked. The moderator may ask questions based on recent research. Once again, turn these questions into future articles and posts, adding your thoughts and valuable insights.
More on thought leaders here.
For more than twenty years, Robert Kravitz and his firm, AlturaSolutions Communications, has been collaborating with people and organizations, helping them become and then excel as Thought Leaders in their respective industries. He can be reached at LinkedIn at https://www.linkedin.com/in/kravitzrobert.