Crafting thought leadership is like making a pizza. If you need crust, sauce, and cheese to make a basic pizza, you need experience, current industry knowledge, and content to craft your thought leadership strategy. In today’s In-Sites, we’re giving out answers to your questions about thought leadership and how you can use these answers to help you craft a thought leadership strategy that is successful within your industry.
What is thought leadership content?
Thought leadership content is anything that you are knowledgeable in within your industry. For example, whenever you are in doubt about how to create thought leadership content, use this formula: your experience + past and current industry knowledge + continuous learning and practice = thought leadership.
First, start with your experience. Whether you’re 10 years in or a first time newbie, take what you know and use that as your starting point. Then use past and current industry knowledge to stay up to date with what’s happening. Especially with technology constantly being updated and improved upon everyday, you have to know how that will affect your business and your industry. For instance, if you’re a tech company that specializes in virtual reality, then learning from Pokemon Go and the folks from Niantic is definitely a current topic of interest for your business. Finally, use your experience, take your past and current industry knowledge, and then apply it as a continuous learning and practicing process.
You are never going to know everything. And no one is asking you to. So set up a process for yourself that allows you to learn as much as you can and then apply what you’ve learned as a form of practice. That way, you are not only growing your experience as well as your industry knowledge, but from that practice, your confidence in that topic will grow and will allow you to feel confident enough to teach it others. And that confidence in your knowledge is the definition of thought leadership.
What we actually learn, from any given set of circumstances, determines whether we become increasingly powerless or more powerful.—Blaine Lee
Do I need to be a big brand to become a thought leader?
No. In fact, you can learn techniques from big brands and apply it to your business regardless of its size. For an example of this put into practice, we adapted big brand social media campaigns into doable social media campaign ideas for small business success in the following In-Sites video:
What if a certain topic in my industry has already been talked before especially by my competitors?
If two people can’t talk about the same thing in the same way, the same goes for talking about topics in your industry. What your audience needs and what their audience needs is completely different. Instead, focus on creating content especially if the topic has been talked about and distributed from here to Mars. Take the topic, find a new standpoint that fits with what your audience needs, provide that solution, and the distribute it. You don’t know if your perspective may help someone out. So create that content regardless of your competitors’ previous influence.
How do I become a thought leader in my industry?
Best way to become a thought leader is to craft a strategy. In fact, here’s 5 tips that you can start implementing now to help boost your thought leadership.
- Know your industry and audience.
If you don’t know who you are talking to or what you are talking about, then dump your trash can, because you just wasted your time. Your time and energy are investments, and if you spend it without focus, then what’s the point.
That’s why you have to get focused first on your industry and then your audience. Know what you’re talking about and what is being discussed in your industry currently. Then see how that correlates to your audience’s pain points. And finally, create content that provides solutions based on your knowledge.
- Teach and trust your employees.
It goes without saying that if you don’t trust your team to help support your message and vision, then go look down the drain, because that is where your money is. In order to be a thought leader, you have to have support. And the easiest way you can do this is with your team. These people are basically your first audience, and whatever you do, they will look to you to see if you practice what you preach.
Teach them your message and trust that they will carry it out for the benefit of your brand. Yes, if a campaign fell through or some leads weren’t converting into sales, then it’s back to meeting room. Revisit your message and the purpose of your brand, understand what you are trying to solve for your audience, and then match your team’s skillset to projects that will successfully create beneficial returns. You may not receive them all the time. But that’s okay. As long as you trust your team to carry it through, best believe they got you too.
Start with good people, lay out the rules, communicate with your employees, motivate them and reward them. If you do all those things effectively, you can't miss.—Lee Iacocca
- Create content about your industry for your audience.
Creating relevant may seem daunting at times. But it’s not if you know your audience. If you need help getting started with a good content marketing strategy, check out this quick insight from Amy Schmittauer:
- Keep it short, simple, and interactive.
With apps, videos, and instant everything, getting straight to the point is pretty much a given in almost every situation nowadays. With your content, it’s the same deal. You need to keep it short and simple so that your audience understands what you’re discussing especially if most of your audience is in a time crunch.
And a great way to solve the time crunch is to make your content interactive. Especially if you have tons of information to share, create a fun infographic or a live Q&A session to really get your knowledge out there while appealing to your audience’s time and attention span. The more interactive you can be in different areas of your content, the more ways you can grab your audience’s attention.
For more information on how to become a leader in your industry, explore this quick In-Site:
Until next FAQ Friday, keep your communication lines open. Don’t know the answer—ASK. If you have questions you would like to see featured in our weekly FAQ Friday, please submit them in the comments below or mention us @DirectImages on Twitter.
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