According to a study by global communications firm Edelman and LinkedIn, 58% of the 1200 respondents read one or more hours of thought leadership per week. Additionally, 60% of decision-makers purchased products or services they weren’t previously considering because of thought leadership.
This shows how much impact thought leaders can have on their respective industries.
As a B2B tech PR firm, ReBlonde has had extensive experience in producing campaigns that turn clients into thought leaders. In this post we’ll talk about what thought leadership is, what it means to be a thought leader, and how you can get started becoming one.
What is a Thought Leader?
A thought leader is a person or a firm that is recognized as an authority in a specific field or industry.
What they do, or thought leadership, is demonstrate their expertise in their respective fields, usually by sharing innovative ideas or coming up with powerful insights.
Simon Sinek is a prime example of a thought leader. He was #11 in the 2019 Thinkers50 list of thought leaders. His work on teaching leaders and companies to inspire people has become a source of best practices by companies all over the world. His success, and his book “Start with Why,” makes him highly in demand as a speaker and organizational consultant.
Thought leadership doesn’t have to be limited to a single person, either. While inbound marketing and sales platform Hubspot has some very well-known experts in its payroll, it’s the brand that is widely-recognized as the leading authority when it comes to inbound and digital marketing. This translates into their success in terms of software sales.
Thought leadership is less about providing tangible products or service advice. It’s more about sharing ideas that could influence and shape the industry.
How Can You Be a Thought Leader?
Being a thought leader takes time, experience, and knowledge in your field. The first step is to define your niche that aligns with your expertise, interests, background, and passion. Focus on what you know best and learn everything you can about it.
Dave Ramsey started as a financial expert counseling people on how to pay off their debts over the radio. Now he is a thought leader in his field with books, radio shows, and a podcast that reached a billion downloads last March 2021.
Ramsey was a financial adviser from the start and by sticking to that path and building up both expertise and credibility, he has become a leading voice in his field of financial literacy.
Have a Strong Message
If you have decided which industry or niche you wish to focus on, figure out what stance or message you want to stand for. Thought leadership is usually about sharing A Big New Idea or Point of View.
Try to encapsulate our idea/s in a few statements, or credo, if you like. This can be as short as Sinek’s “Start with Why”, or as extensive as Stephen Covey’s “7 Habits of Highly Effective People,” or as revolutionary as HubSpot’s concept of inbound marketing. These are central, vital ideas that people can latch onto and become the basis of your brand.
By having a strong, consistent idea that you can build upon or expand on, you create a brand that can stand out and be recognized in your field.
Consistently Publish and Market Content
Publish as often as you can. Generating an idea, having a strong message, and coming up with insights are only effective if they can be spread throughout the industry.
With today’s digital landscape, the sharing of thoughts and ideas can easily be done online and at little cost. You can publish written works through blogging, discuss topics in a podcast, or start a YouTube channel.
Neil Patel is a thought leader in the search engine optimization field. He was one of Forbes’ top marketing influencers in 2017. He’s also one of the most prolific digital marketers, producing blogs, videos, thought pieces, and other content that is constantly shared and discussed by digital marketers all over the world.
Today you can still find him constantly publishing new content across blogs, podcasts, and his YouTube channel. This makes Patel’s ideas, products, and branding easily accessible to many on the internet, cementing his place as one of the industry’s top influencers.
Increase your Visibility
To get recognized, you need to get your name and your ideas out there. By sharing ideas with other experts and the people in your industry you’d like to influence, you get exposed to new ideas that you can incorporate to your own. Here are some tips to boost your visibility in your field:
Expand your Network
Networking is an important aspect of thought leadership. Attend industry events, invite other thought leaders, hold webinars, and get the discussion going in your field. The wider your circle, the more likely you’ll have other experts talking about you.
Leverage SEO and content marketing to increase your visibility
One of the key advantages that Neil Patel enjoys is that as a digital marketer, he knows exactly what he needs to do so that the content he produces gets found and read by his market. You can do the same to increase recognition of your brand.
Come up with a public relations strategy
For companies, especially those in highly-competitive industries like tech, having good publicity through public relations gives credibility to your brand. A 2014 Nielsen study found that PR is 88% more effective than advertising at increasing brand familiarity. And the more people talk about you in earned media, the more your ideas can take hold.
Becoming a thought leader is not an overnight process. “The key to success is life-long learning,” according to Covey. It takes time, commitment, and effort before you or your company build your expertise, come up with a Big New Idea, promote it, spread it, and turn you into an industry authority.
Award-Winning PR Solutions
ReBlonde offers effective public relations strategy to promote your tech company and its products with innovative solutions. Contact us today for a free consultation.