“Thought leadership” is one of those buzzwords that gets tossed around all the time. But unlike other buzzwords that are trendy one day and groan-worthy the next (I’m looking at you, “guru”, “blogosphere”, and “low-hanging fruit”), this one is actually vital to your marketing efforts.
As a thought leader, you’re a go-to authority in your industry. You’re the first person (or company) that everyone thinks of. You’re the one that everyone looks to when there’s a new industry development. In other words, you’re the top dog.
So, how do you actually establish thought leadership?
The best way to do it is to actively seek out content opportunities.
Partner up with a colleague and do a joint webinar
This works best if your work complements each other, instead of two people who do the exact same thing. For example, if you’re a marketing exec, team up with an exec who sells marketing automation software and discuss how your strategies can be implemented through his software.
Start a newsletter where you offer tips and insights
If you have a few extra hours each month, send out a monthly newsletter to your email subscribers.
For example, here at Marvel Marketers, we send out a monthly Blog Roundup email that quickly summarizes each post we published during the month, along with links. For us, it’s an easy way to share our advice and insights with our audience—and it’s especially helpful for people who don’t have time to visit the blog every week or simply forget to go check out each post.
Or, if you don’t have the bandwidth to take on an entire newsletter, write guest articles for other respected newsletters in your industry.
Entice new leads with gated content
Whitepapers, research reports, and case studies are valuable types of content that people will happily hand over their contact information to get. You could also offer an email-based course or comprehensive checklists. Just make sure that the content inside is worth signing up for, or else you’ll have angry leads clicking the “Unsubscribe” button in droves.
And no matter what content you use, be sure to have concrete opinions.
The word “leader” is defined as “the person who leads or commands a group, organization, or country.” You can’t be a leader if you simply go along with everyone else all the time. You have to stand out and take command, which means you need to have solid opinions that are backed up with facts and expertise. Without them, nothing will set you apart.