The access we have to individuals in light of conversational media has seen consumers demand more from the people they buy from. It has never been easier to source knowledge, which makes it all the more difficult to gain trust in an overcrowded space, and that is why we’ve been hearing more about thought leadership over the past few years.
Not just an industry buzzword, thought leadership is a top priority for marketing organisations, with 66% stating so. People are becoming wise to being sold to, so offering up more value is a must when competing with other businesses in the same field. The solution is to be as helpful as you can so people begin to rely on you and trust your word, the sales will come in a domino effect.
It certainly is a long game, but one definitely worth playing as there are many advantages that will come out of the hard work that you put in including increased visibility and credibility.
With that said, here are some tips to get you off to a flying start:
Invest in Learning
You may have years of experience in your field which makes for a stellar start, but be certain to carry on learning and get ahead of the curve on industry trends and talking points. It is important to be original and use the knowledge you’ve gained across your career, but things are forever changing in our modern world! Dig deep, review current articles and information from a variety of sources, essentially live and breathe your niche so you can be confident in your expertise.
Other ways you can broaden your outlook is by working with mentors, fellow thought leaders and attending networking events to hear what others have to say. What’s more, if you become a regular you may soon be speaking at them yourself!
Take a Stand
Don’t be afraid to rock the boat! It is crucial to own your opinion when it comes to establishing yourself as a thought leader. People are investing in you for your opinion, so don’t shy away from saying what you mean. We wouldn’t suggest being controversial for the sake of it, but if you have a view that goes against the grain, and you have sound reasoning behind your thought process, share it!
Not only could this be a catalyst for positive change, the bottom line is – you know what you do inside out and you have the experience necessary to comment on the relevant news coming out of your industry. Not to mention emotive marketing is the way to go when it comes to establishing lasting connections.
There will be people out there who disagree with whatever you say. However, you will become well-respected for your honest take, and it all makes for great conversation, which gives you the opportunity to further cement your authority on the subject.
Answer Your Audience
When you are putting together content, you should be ensuring that the subject matter is highly relevant to your audience, and it focuses on what they are searching for on Google and the like. There is no better way to do this than to get under their skin and do some quality research. Enlist your team to create a list of all the FAQs they receive from your prospects and clients, then create blogs and case studies with detailed answers to these burning questions!
To become a revered leader you should strive to add value to the working lives of your followers on a consistent basis, so give them all they need without them having to ask, or pay!
Producing free content may seem counterproductive but creating educational and informative content will be of great use to the people you want to turn into customers. Nurture your prospects all the while making sure you are front of mind when they come to a buying decision.
It may seem like a hard slog, but remember there are several benefits to this:
- You will establish yourself as the expert
By endeavouring to get your customers what they want you’ll be viewed as a trusted source within the industry and are likely to go to you in the long-term
- Your keyword ranking will improve
Nailing the questions that your audience will usually put to Google will make you appear high in terms of organic search
- You will stand out
Answering their questions, even the tricky ones, will reinforce your authentic edge over your competitors
- BONUS: You will reduce your team’s workload
Answering these questions on your site will mean less customers will be inclined to call and email you with them
Engage on Social Media
It is well known by now that good marketers establish trust. If people trust you they will buy into what you have to offer, which includes your products and services. Social media is one of the best ways to connect on a more personal level with potential clients and those interested in what you have to say. In fact, too much talk directly about your products and services can be off putting, and you should be aiming for 80% of your posts to be focussed on entertainment and education.
Social media has broken down the perceived barriers between the audience and the business, making it a great way to develop relationships. Businesses are no longer faceless entities, and so you will lose the race if you close yourself off to interactions with your potential prospects.
However, you have to be aware, it isn’t best used as a tool to solely publish to the masses, you should be responsive. The whole point of social media is to be social, after all! Therefore, engagement is key to success. Take the time to connect with people in your target audience. Comment on what they are up to, respond to their comments on your posts and share valuable information in line with their interests, whether it has come from you or not. As mentioned earlier on, you should always be conscious of adding value to the lives of people you are targeting as they will think of you the next time they need your service.
Note that the same level of thought should go into your tone of voice too. Think about how you want to come across to others. Do you want to sound inspirational, humorous or matter-of-fact? Go with whatever comes naturally to you because originality and consistency will enable you to connect with your audience without ‘trying too hard’.
Amplify Your Message
Not only is social media a vital part of establishing your expertise, there are plenty of other impactful avenues to take to get your voice heard. One of those is by making use of other people’s platforms. Select opportunities with reputable media outlets where you can comment on news in your industry. If you feature on a news programme, podcast or guest blog those in your industry are listening to, watching or reading, they will trust that your word counts for something.
It is crucial to point out here that you should be keeping your ear to the ground when it comes to your industry’s outlets and publications. If a piece of breaking news occurs, you can ensure you are proactive about reaching out to comment. Which keeps you in their line of vision.
The added benefit of this kind of activity is the piggybacking you can do off wider audiences too. Resulting in almost guaranteed exposure on their social channels, email marketing campaigns, or any other collateral they use to promote their media outlet. Harnessing your connections is a powerful way of being seen and breaking through into a bigger audience pool.
All in all, becoming a thought leader in your industry takes time and there is lots of effort involved in the process, but this is a wise investment of time and resources that will pay off in the long run. Rewarding yourself credibility and trust within your niche will ultimately be priceless.
If you want to learn more about how Digital Glue can help you ensure that you focus your marketing efforts, get in touch with the team, alternatively, head to our insights page to learn more or join our exclusive mailing list for updates direct to your inbox.