In the age of content marketing, thought leadership is a highly coveted position. And while it may seem random (or largely based on luck), there is actually a science to becoming a thought leader. Earning the respect and trust of your audience doesn't happen overnight or at random. It takes continuous demonstration and strategic content marketing to position your brand. By engaging in these 4 strategies, you'll begin to see growth and success as a thought leader in your industry.
The worst thing a fledgling thought leader can do is let their content become stale. Continue doing research, keeping up with hot topics customers care about, and jotting down content ideas. To become and stay a thought leader in your industry, you need to avoid "fluff" content, or content that simply repeats what has already been said. Keep a list of any how-to ideas, blog series ideas, or informative social media posts that you haven't covered. This will ensure that you continuously provide value.
Another way to find ideas is to research what competitors are talking about. However, don't copy them. Ask yourself, "How can I delve into this topic even further?" These practices keep your content strategy on an upward trajectory over time - especially when you're struggling to manage business growth.
Elaborate on pain points
While general brainstorming is helpful, you need to specifically monitor what your audience cares about. This may be different from what you think they care about - and different from what you yourself care about. So put yourself in the customers' shoes and hone in on niche topics people need help with. One surefire way to find the right niche topics is to look at previously published content - both yours and your competitors. Which topics did customers respond to the most? What received the most likes, shares, and comments? Finding these pain points that strike a chord will show you what kind of content to develop next.
Keep it objective
For the most part, the content you produce should be objective and backed by recent research. It should contribute meaningfully the broad conversation in your industry. Avoid polarizing opinions and judgments, as these are unnecessary types of rhetoric that won't gain you the respect of your audience. To streamline this process, compile a list of organizations that have published research in your industry. Check back from time to time, as these surveys can provide a wealth of juicy statistics for your blog.
Assert when it counts
Yes, this may seem to contradict the prior point. However, asserting a subjective position every once in a while is key. It distinguishes your brand voice from the noise and shows your audience you're not just parroting the most popular thought stream in your industry. This is when brands need to get clear on their values. Any assertions you make should align with your business model and goals. Stating an opinion is the perfect time to let your brand values shine through your content.
Research has shown that customers are "most interested in thought leadership that is highly relevant to their situation (65%), that shows evidence of deep knowledge on a problem and its solution (60%), and that reveals specific case studies showing the solution successfully applied (59%)." By executing these points, your business is well-positioned for thought leadership.
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