Position yourself as an expert. Brand yourself as a thought leader in your niche and get paid what you’re worth…
According to Outbrain, thought leadership is the lifeblood of any sound content marketing strategy.
In a study conducted by Linkedin and Edelma, 55% of the respondents admit that they use thought leadership to vet organizations they may hire.
Also, 60% of business decision-makers said that thought leadership directly led to their awarding of business to an organization and they also admitted to buying a product or service they were not previously considering.
More than 55% of the decision-makers said that they had increased business with an organization based on their thought leadership.
In a different study, Edelma reveals that thought leadership helps about 83% of buyers to build their trust in an organization.
Of course, these show how important thought leadership marketing is for small businesses.
And thankfully, this article has compiled 5 ways you can you brand yourself or your small business as a thought leader in your industry?
So, let get started!
First, start by creating valuable content
The first step to thought leadership is creating valuable content and this does not necessarily mean that you have to own a blog.
Of course, it could be a guest blog, content sharing sites like medium, through newsletters or even social media.
But the important thing is having a platform that can help you to get your voice out to your target audiences and then build a following.
Try as much as possible to identify what they want, what their pain points are and how and when they want to be reached.
Then create content that would address all these in detail and also position you as a reliable source of credible information.
Maintain consistency in writing and avoid diving into areas you cannot give yourself over 75% in expert knowledge.
And, don’t make submissions you cannot defend.
Don’t shy away from using data
The 2019 Edelma Trust Barometer reveals that trust has changed profoundly in the past year.
According to the study, people are encountering road-blocks in their quest for facts and 73% of people are worried about the fake news being used as a weapon.
This shows that people are skeptical about the content they consume.
But one way to you can establish credibility is by using verifiable data from credible sources.
So don’t shy away from this doing. Try as much as possible to compile relevant statistics about a topic into your content.
A study by WordStream shows that content with original data and research naturally attracts more links. This is important because when people naturally link your content, it shows that they see you as authoritative.
Also, the good thing about backlinks is that it would also make Google see you as an authority in your niche and this would make their algorithm to rank your content relatively higher than those with fewer links.
Of course, you mustn’t be the original source of the statistics or data. The important thing is having credible data in your posts.
Studies show that people would cite content with credible statistics as a source even though the author is not the original source of the data.
Be active on social networks
There are over 3 billion active social media users spending an average of 142 minutes per day on social media networks and messaging.
So embracing social media and participating actively on the social networks your target audiencess are on can help you to build thought leadership.
Develop valuable content that would be of interest to them and share with your audiences. Also, don’t hesitate to take advantage of any opportunity to engage and open conversations with them.
You can start by researching trending twitter hashtags that are relevant to your niche and then join the conversation.
Answer their questions and then drop a link to any of your content that would provide more elaborate and detailed answers.
You can also join Facebook and Linkedin groups and try as much as possible to be active in all the relevant discussions.
Avoid the temptation to spam the groups with your blog links or unrelated comments and make sure that your audiences are also active in the groups.
Quora, of course, is also a veritable platform to build your following.
It won’t hurt leveraging it as well. Identify the questions your audiences are asking on the platform and then provide a detailed explanation.
If you have a content that covers the question in details, you can as well drop the link. But if you don’t, you can create a fresh one and then share with them.
Leverage YouTube videos
The platform has over 1.9 billion monthly users and it is the second largest search engine after Google and the third most visited website in the world as of today.
According to Google, 8 out of 10 people within the age bracket 18-49 years watch YouTube video in a month and in 2015 alone, the average time they spend on YouTube went up by 74%.
And, on average YouTube has more than 1 billion mobile video views.
Interestingly, the average session on YouTube lasts more than 40 minutes. This is more than the average time people spend on Instagram, Facebook or SnapChat.
Of course, leveraging this platform could be helpful in branding yourself as a thought leader.
You can start by repurposing some of your published content into YouTube videos and then leverage your social media following to build the YouTube’s subscribers’ list.
If you have decent activities on your YouTube videos and a good SEO, YouTube algorithm would rank your video higher.
This, of course, would expose you to a wider and more sophisticated audiences.
As social media has evolved into an integral part of our daily lives, the roles of influencers in shaping perception cannot be over-emphasized.
70% of teens trust influencers over traditional celebrities, 40% of consumers trust influencers’ recommendation and 6 out of 10s teens follow advice from influencers over celebrities.
In fact, 4 out of 10 millennials state that their favorite influencer understands them better their friends.
These show how effective an influencer can help to brand you as a thought leader in your industry.
In fact, 67% of marketer promote content with the help of influencers and 71% of them believe that influencer marketing is good for business.
So partner with some influencers and let them get the word out about your expertise in the industry.
Thought leadership is important for people trying to establish themselves as an authority in their field or build personal brands.
The key to building this thought leadership is having a plan, knowing who your audiences are, identifying what they want and knowing. And of course, taking the steps outlined above.