Sixty-five percent of businesses include thought leadership in their content marketing. That’s a lot of brands who believe (or want their customers to believe) that they’re experts in their industry. But what does it really take to establish your business as a thought leader?
You don’t need a million Instagram followers to position yourself as a thought leader. As a small business, you can build a reputation by offering your take on industry insights and knowledge in your niche. All you need is the willingness to put in the work and the patience to see results.
Here are a few best practices that can help you build and execute your thought leadership strategy:
Establish authority. Thought leadership should reinforce your brand story — the objectives, the feelings and the messaging that you want your audience to connect with. Think about unique ideas that align with your brand that can help light a spark in your prospects and customers.
Be opinionated. You don’t have to go along with the crowd. The essence of thought leadership is coming up with your own viewpoints and offering your audience a deeper understanding — not just regurgitating theirs. Be authoritative and authentic, and think outside the box.
Consider your audience. Who are your buyer personas? What are their needs? Their challenges? What questions are they asking on your Facebook feed? Think of how you can you respond in a way that provides solutions and relevancy, while expanding their perspective.
Prioritize your content. Your content is a vehicle for sharing your ideas. What are the best formats to engage your audience? From articles to webinars to blog posts, hone in on where your people are hanging out online and how they’re most likely to consume your content.
Open the conversation. Sure, your thoughts should get them thinking, but do you inspire your audience to take action? Do they walk away wanting to share your wisdom, recommend your brand or take the next step and reach out to continue the conversation?
Show your value. Remember, you’re more than just a brand trying to close a sale. Show your prospects and customers that you have something groundbreaking and thought-provoking to deliver that can help them learn and grow, too.
Don’t follow the leader — BE the leader
You’ll never become a recognized voice in your niche if you don’t speak up. Draw customers in with your industry authority, and in the process, you’ll build trust, become more memorable and ultimately guide them to the sale.