Effective thought leadership is likely to make the difference in elevating a business or organization above their competitors. But what exactly is thought leadership (and thought leaders) and when should we use it?
The Thought Leadership Lab writes: “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; turn ideas into reality, and know and show how to replicate their success.”
So here’s the thing, you likely started or joined a business because you believe the products or services are better than everyone else’s. You understand that you are a part of an organization with unique offerings, and although you’re aware of your industry expertise, it can be challenging to relay this information to your target customers. And the last thing you want to do is annoy our customers with aggressive ads with a far too direct CTA, likely screaming “BUY” or “TRY!” As businesses, it’s important to tread the thin line between being too aggressive and too passive in the hopes for them to realize how we can make their lives that much greater. Thought leadership is the solution to this problem.
Thought leadership allows you to brand yourselves as informative experts who know about more than just our product or service — you know about the whole industry. It is an essential tactic used to build trust and inspire followers.
So how ensure you are establishing your business as an expert without recommending your services or products?
Research in depth about the subject or topic to develop trust and establish your expertise.
Create recommendations for customer pain points.
Become a problem solver through your expertise to brand yourself as trusted source.
If you are able to help customers with their current problems with general recommendations or advice, they will most likely associate your company or organization with a level of expertise; thereby creating brand awareness and a greater chance of your product or service becoming useful to them. It is your experience, passion, and knowledge that will promote customers recognizing you as an expert problem solver.
Here are a several ways to implement thought leadership into your business marketing plan:
Post content related to your target market that highlights industry trends, news, and resources.
Engage followers in conversations about pain points.
Attract followers by either re-tweeting, commenting, or “liking” to promote your association with the topics they are discussing.
Include thought leadership pieces in your emails and on your blog.
Thought leadership will transform the persona of your company from a sales machine to a trusted friend, and it is a vital component of content marketing and social media marketing for a variety of organizations. The next time you’re working on your organization’s marketing strategy, remember to include thought leadership as a tactic to achieve your goals.