Thought leadership is a type of content marketing that uses the expertise of people in your organization to solve the biggest problems that face your target audience. When done correctly, thought leadership will position your organization as the leading expert in your business category. It will also create respect and recognition, improve relationships with clients and the community and ultimately improve marketing and revenue-related goals. In this way, thought leadership can be as important to the brand as the product or service that it sells. Follow these seven steps to assure that your thought leaders have the most impact on your audience.
- Identify the topic and audience. Decide what topic is closely associated with your brand. Have only one focus at a time. Take a position on something and interpret it for others.
- Identify the questions surrounding that topic. Identify the questions that your customers are asking. Make a list of the top concerns and prioritize them. Thought leaders need to help people within an industry do something better, gain insight, or better understand their market or job.
- Answer across multiple formats and channels. Make sure your message is reaching the correct audience. Choose a format that your audience will be able to consume. Don't limit yourself to only one medium. Include white papers, panels, videos, social media, blogs, chats, and events in your overall plan.
- Create content in an engaging way. Using a lot of examples and quotes will help increase credibility and engagement. Be sure not to sell anything as this will decrease your credibility. Illuminate the problems that you are able to solve.
- Have a unique perspective. Curate content from other sources while adding your own perspective. Demonstrating your differentiation from competitors will increase your authority.
- Market your thought leadership. Thought leadership content needs to be promoted as if it were a product. Make sure that your message is being heard once created. It should be turned into a campaign, promoted on social media, and even advertised.
- Continue to grow your thought leadership. Thought leadership does not happen overnight or with one campaign but grows from hard work, experience and success.
Below is an excellent example of increasing thought leadership in the federal space. Capgemini Government Solutions recognized their audience's concern to reduce spending on information technology maintenance, and more on innovation. Federal News Radio's custom media department conducted an interview with their thought leaders to better divulge helpful information and solutions.