Thought leadership has become an increasingly important strategy to grow your business and brand and spread your message. Thanks to the digital world, you have a variety of ways to promote your thought leadership online at your fingertips.
You can be anywhere in the world and spread your leadership message far and wide. But to do it well, you need a strategy. To help with it, we have put together this guide that shows you ways to promote your thought leadership online.
What is Thought Leadership Anyway?
Before we jump in and tell you how to promote your thought leadership online, it’s vital you understand what it is. Thought leadership can be best summed up as being recognized as an expert and the go-to person in your field. In business, it’s used as a strategy to help build and establish credibility and even loyalty.
Thought leadership can be used as a content marketing strategy, and many B2B and B2C businesses use it in this way.
Keep in mind: Becoming a thought leader isn’t an overnight process—it takes time to build your credibility and expertise. But once you’ve created the foundation, everything becomes much easier.
What Type of Leader Are You?
Once you understand thought leadership, you must understand what type of leader you are and what kind of leader you want to be. Remember, leaders are not created equally. Besides personality attributes like conservative, playful, controversial, etc., you need to establish whether you’re a specialist leader or a generalist leader.
A specialist is a person who primarily focuses on a particular subject. They have a niche area that they are known for. A generalist is a person with a wide range of knowledge on a variety of topics. The content you create should be aligned with your leadership style. That way, it’s targeted to the right audience and is relevant.
Create a Content Marketing Strategy
To create content for your audience, start implementing a content marketing strategy. It’s your roadmap for all your businesses’ content. In 2020, a content strategy is a must-have for a business. Yet, so many companies don’t have one or have an ineffective one. One option is to hire an expert to design one for your business. Such a strategy will help you establish your overall content marketing goals, including your thought leadership.
Through your content marketing strategy, you’re able to identify your target audience and what platforms they are on. You’re also able to pinpoint critical market research, like their demographics and psychographics. These can reveal invaluable information: their pain points, motivations, inspirations, etc. From there, create thought leadership content for your audience around these areas. But remember to take it easy on the self-promotion with this content.
The Roadmap to Promote Your Thought Leadership Online
To establish yourself as a thought leader online, you first need to build a presence online. From here, you need to create content that reinforces your leadership style. Your content essentially helps develop your thought leadership. Through it, your expertise, credibility, passion, and authority come to life.
Think strategically, and start implementing the following tested and proven practices to help grow your thought leadership online:
1. Get on LinkedIn
LinkedIn is the world’s largest online professional networking platform, with over 700 million users in over 200 countries. It’s a sophisticated platform where you can network, establish your brand, and grow your leadership.
You can create content like articles and posts and share them with thousands of readers. But remember, your LinkedIn content should be educational, inspiring, and helpful to your readers. This will keep them coming back for more and will establish you as an expert.
2. Write Blogs
Blogs are a fantastic way to start building your reputation as a thought leader. They are an important type of short-form or long-form educational content that readers crave in the digital age. Hence why so many businesses and even individuals have started blogs.
Even just crafting a blog post once a week is a great way to start building your thought leadership online. Then make sure to share these posts on other platforms and even repurpose them into other forms of content to further expand your reach.
3. Write Research-Based Articles
Write research-based articles—like white papers and case studies—backed up by facts, not just based on opinions and predictions. Of course, you can still use opinions and predictions but always bring it back to the facts. Doing so helps build your credibility and authority.
This will generate trust amongst your readers and even peers. Generally speaking, these articles can be much longer than blog posts. You can also include graphs, statistics, and charts to help validate your claims.
4. Write Guest Posts
Featuring guest posts on other platforms like social media, blogs, and online publications is a great way to grow your brand and your thought leadership. Be strategic, of course, and choose platforms that already have an audience that would engage with your content.
Be relevant—there’s no point in just creating a guest post for the sake of it and throwing it on a platform where no one is interested in your brand. If you were a restaurant management specialist, would you share your expertise on a fashion blog?
5. Write for Medium
Medium.com has grown to become one of the world’s largest online publishing platforms. With over 60 million readers each month alone looking for high-quality and thought-provoking content, you can really make your mark here as a leader.
But you must be publishing articles consistently (at least 3-4 times a week) for readers to find you and then follow you. The top Medium writers have built up countless dedicated and loyal followers. You can also build up a smaller following depending on your overall goals.
6. Create or Be a Guest on a Podcast
Podcasts have been one of the biggest digital trends of 2020. Of course, many people created them long before—as far back as 2004—but they have really taken off this year. So, starting your own podcast or getting featured on one—or several—is an excellent way of sharing your knowledge through conversation.
7. Create Videos
Just like podcasts, videos have also been a massive trend in 2020. They are an effective way to build a more personal and emotional connection with your audience. Aim to create videos that are educational and insightful for your audience. Talk about what’s happening in your industry as well as future industry trends. Another video hit is to conduct interviews or be interviewed by other thought leaders and influencers.
8. Create Learning Content
eCourses, eBooks, webinars, live trainings, tutorials—these are excellent ways to share your expertise. If you have knowledge on a particular subject (or subjects), consider presenting it in an educational format. Online learning has skyrocketed in recent times, and there are a lot of consumers eager to learn. Sharing your skills this way is fantastic for increasing your thought leadership.
9. Repurpose Content
Repurposing is essentially recycling your content, and in the digital age, it’s one of the best ways to promote your brand—in this case, your thought leadership. There are so many ways you can repurpose your content. For instance, blog posts can be made into videos and vice-versa. Social media posts can be created from blog posts. Or a series of blog posts can be made into an e-book.
10. Participate in Online Events
COVID-19 has made events go online in, and as a leader, you want to take advantage of this. Just like in-person events, be an active participant—network and build relationships with people in your industry and even other industries. You can even consider speaking at such events, further increasing your reputation as a leader.
11. Create an Online Community
Besides your social media community, which you need to engage with regularly to build rapport and relationships, consider creating an online community. This could be meetup groups, forums, discussion boards, etc. They should focus on your industry and provide a meeting place where like-minded professionals can get together to network and share industry knowledge and insights. Even though they may require a lot of work on your behalf, they help keep your brand human in a hyperconnected world if you’re committed.
12. Be Genuine and Have a Captivating Online Personality
Finally, remember to always be genuine as a leader. People want to interact and do business with the real deal. Don’t just promote your brand like a high-pressure salesperson. And don’t let your ego take over either once you’ve established yourself. Instead, genuinely care about your audience and their needs. Help them and add value to their lives through your content. Cultivate an authentic and pleasant online personality—because just like in real-life, phony and uncaring is an instant turn off.
Becoming a thought leader takes work and time, but it’s worth it—both to you (rewarding in itself) and your business. Contact Content Callout to help take your leadership to the next level with stellar content.