With the rise of LinkedIn, the concept of “thought leadership” is a priority for brands.
But what does it mean? A thought leader is an individual or organization that prospects, clients, intermediaries and even competitors recognize as one of the foremost authorities in selected areas of specialization, resulting in that individual or organization being the go-to source.
The buzz-worthiness makes sense: now that brands have multiple platforms to amplify their voice, they’re each competing to be the voice that rises above the rest.
When done effectively, it can elevate the brand above the noise—and add a human touch to the experience.
Take ownership of your expertise.
No one—despite what they may tell you—is an expert in absolutely everything. That’s why it’s important to know what you’re good at, and be laser-focused on it. Evaluate what your brand knows or does best, and look to your industry to see where you can fill in conversation gaps. From there, you can build key talking points and messaging that complements your brand and also brings value to industry chatter.
Speak to your customers (with potential customers in mind).
Once you’ve established your key messaging, envision who it is you’d like to talk to. Though audiences may vary, brands are almost always looking to speak directly to their customers. There is always value in this strategy, because it solidifies already valuable relationships while leaving the door open for growth. But it’s important to keep potential customers—and even competitors—in mind, too. Ask yourself what it is they’re craving or doing in the industry space, and adjust your message accordingly.
Reach them in expected (and unexpected) ways.
These days, you’re behind the curve if you’re not on social media. Of course you’ll want to reach your audience on those platforms, and many of your most valuable interactions will occur there. But think beyond Facebook and LinkedIn. Curate a weekly newsletter of valuable industry information, or better yet, write your own articles. Develop a media relations strategy that crafts your brand as an expert within news media as well.