Your mind is your most powerful marketing tool. If it seems too easy to be true, it isn’t. Time and time again we see that one of the marketing efforts with the greatest ROI, the greatest potential to grow your audience, and the greatest ability to establish your position within your target market is thought leadership. But what is thought leadership, and why is it so important to a strong marketing strategy for B2B and B2C organizations alike?
Today, we’re dropping some knowledge on the power of, well, knowledge in marketing. Read on to expand your mind and, in turn, add another tool to your marketing toolkit.
What is thought leadership?
The phrase “thought leadership” refers to any opportunity for a business, organization, or person to establish themselves as leading thinkers within the market or community of which they are a part.
Think about the groups of people you engage with — communities formed around hobbies, interests, experiences, careers, shared problems, or common goals. Within all of these groups, there are people who are considered particularly knowledgeable, experts in the field. When you have questions or needs that arise that relate to a particular community or focus, you surely turn to or seek out the people who you know to be leaders. You’re more likely to be engaged with the content they share online and more likely to purchase products or services that they offer.
This is the power of thought leadership. Beyond just knowing their stuff, thought leaders find success by positioning their expertise as part of their marketing strategy.
How can I utilize thought leadership as a marketing tactic?
It’s one thing to be knowledgeable, but it’s another to use what you know to strategically grow your brand visibility. Incorporating thought leadership into your overall content and marketing strategy can allow you to:
- Establish credibility and authority in the right communities.
- Create a larger pool of mentions, references to your organization, shares, and backlinks.
- Rank among a wider range of Google search results related to your industry or niche.
- Drive traffic to your website… and if you have a solid website that does your bidding for you, in turn, convert that traffic into customers.
So, how do you get started? Well, the vagueness of thought leadership’s definition is where the potential lies: there are several ways to tap into thought leadership as a tool to market yourself.
Steps to building your thought leadership expertise:
- Begin by identifying your target audience and your growth goals
- Pinpoint your areas of expertise, both broader and more centralized
- Consider your brand story and brand values. How might you promote these values? How might they align with future thought leadership opportunities?
- Identify some key trends, goals, questions, or common misconceptions within your industry
- Produce content that aligns with your expertise and thought leadership potential
- Develop a strategy for sharing, pitching, and promoting this content
Where to share your thought leadership content?
If you’re still thinking of blogs as an outdated means for individuals to write to an almost non-existent audience about their niche hobbies and interests, it’s time to reconsider what a blog can do for your organization’s digital presence. Over the years blogs have become one of the most valuable tools of many digital marketing campaigns. Any organization with a strong digital presence is likely to maintain a blog, and it’s almost always a recommendation we give organizations looking to appear in more Google searches related to relevant topics and further position their expertise within their field.
Think about all the random questions you’ve Googled in the last week. In many cases, blogs are the reason Google has the answers to all of these questions.
If we’re getting vulnerable here, I’ll share my list from the last few days:
- “Polly Pocket vs. Fashion Polly”: A friend of mine recently blew my Gen-Z mind when she told me that the bendy-jointed, rubber-clothed petite dolls I knew and loved growing up were not the original Polly Pockets. A blog post on the history of Polly Pockets confirmed this fact.
- “How to boil asparagus”: This one is really embarrassing, but up until a few days ago, my 24-year-old self had never boiled asparagus before. I wanted to make sure I did it right, and a blog post showed me the way.
- “What is aphasia?”: Upon hearing the news that Bruce Willis is retiring from acting after being diagnosed with aphasia, I went to Google to educate myself, and in seconds found a reputable medical organization’s blog post that explained it well.
Clearly, there’s a blog post for everything, and that also means there’s a space for all kinds of thought leadership, even if your expertise is in popular 90’s dolls.
An added superpower of blogs, beyond their ability to aid your search rankings on Google, drive traffic to your website, and inform potential and current customers in niche subject matter, is that you can also repurpose blogs as articles, essays, presentations, and more when opportunities arise.
Not sure how to begin blog writing? Check out this blog post from our team on blog writing tips for beginners. Gotta love a full-circle moment.
Speaking at conferences, trade shows, and events big and small is a great way to not only boost your thought leadership efforts, but to put a human face at the forefront of your brand. Research shows that consumers nowadays, more than almost anything else, want to feel a human connection to your organization. A great way to do just that is by taking on opportunities to present your ideas and expertise face-to-face to willing listeners.
Regularly keep up with upcoming speaking opportunities (ahem… there’s probably a blog for that), and don’t be afraid to reach out to groups with whom your brand connects and see what events they’re attending or even hosting this year. You never know how many organizations would be excited to have an expert speak on subjects that align with their interests and goals.
An easy way to leverage thought leadership in your marketing efforts this year is to offer your voice and expert thoughts to interviews. Reach out to journalists, authors and popular blog and article sites, subscribe to email lists, and keep up with calls for quotes or interviews on subjects you can speak on.
That’s just a few ideas, but there are many other ways to begin to promote your knowledge and in turn present yourself and your organization as an expert in your field. Hopefully these tools give you a solid foundation to take advantage of this powerful marketing tool.
We’re here to help.
Want to know more about thought leadership? Speak’s own team of experts works with businesses and individuals across dozens of industries to produce, develop, and grow their thought leadership efforts. Have the content but don’t have the time to get it into the right hands? We got you covered. Have the community but don’t have the means to produce deliverables? We’d love to hear from you about how we can help your organization reach its goals.