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Thought Leadership Marketing

ArticleID 136  
Writer Isaac Thuku
Category Personal Article

To become a thought leader in a given industry, a company or individual needs to earn the position of an n expert by creating a well developed point of view. Many companies strive to be ‘thought leaders’ in their respective fields but only a few live up to that aspiration since not everyone is equipped with workable strategies on achieving this. Becoming a thought leader does not only entail developing that specific point of view; but also requires you to create an effective marketing plan that will determine how to effectively communicate your point of view to the niche market. Thus though leadership marketing. This post hereby examines the dynamics of being a thought leader, the best practices for thought leadership, the importance of a content strategy in facilitating companies to grow and sustain their thought leadership; helping with everything from navigating internal politics to prioritizing resources.

The Content Strategy of Thought Leadership.

For thought leadership, you need to exhibit expertise, insight and an above ordinary sense of analysis in a field. A thought leader is seen as an authority when it comes to issues concerning the given industry; therefore becoming the go-to source for research, insight and interpretation of the latest news and trends. Thought leaders develop relationships with customers, prospects and others by engaging them in non sales but industry related conversations; in turn gaining the trust of prospective customers. In time, these will be unconsciously lured to purchase from the thought leader organization.

‘Thought are a prerequisite for thought leadership.’ Neal Bruce; Head of Product Management at Lumesse. These conversations engaged with customers and prospects should contain your thoughts. These thoughts make up the content of the messages communicated to your target audience. The information you share needs to be written and packaged for easy consumption and also be applicable in the day to day reality of your audience. Your audience needs to relate to it. The messages should therefore be segmented for practicability.

A proper content strategy can support your thought leadership marketing campaign when the content you publish is original, unbiased, research driven, audience led and well layered. This content can be packaged in many different forms to suit the various available forums for communication. These are speeches, blog posts, web posts, tweets, Facebook status updates, stories for newspapers, reviews for journals etc. Your strategy should entail engaging as many communication outlets as possible in order to reach as much audience as possible.

Thought Leadership as a Pillar of Executive Influence.

‘We consider thought leadership to be one of the three pillars of executive influence.’ Appinions. Executive influence and visibility is very important in any thought leadership marketing campaign. Executives in any industry need to be seen as influencers and hence thought leaders in their given fields. Influencers who are also seen as thought leaders in their fields show contextually relevant opinions and express them in both online and offline media. They are not just heard but spur context sharing in others on social networks too.

Thought leadership is becoming an authority on relevant topics. It allows you to put faces on your business and may provide your customers and audience with a level of trust for your company. However, thought leadership alone is not executive influence. More specifically, what makes thought leaders more influential is a combination of factors that includes how frequently their opinions appear in various media and the prominence of the people or publishers that share their opinions, mostly on the topics in which they are considered to be thought leaders.

Content Marketing through Thought Leadership.

This is an avenue to engage targeted audiences and to showcase your expertise, to gain credibility, visibility and attract prospective clients. The concept of thought leadership is frequently used in both consulting firms as a way of re-framing issues or topics and also as a means of educating customers, potential customers and other stakeholders about new ways of looking at or solving a problem.

Here, the main aim is less to establish an individual as a thought leader, but rather lay claim to innovative thinking as a marketing tool. Thought leadership is often described as a way of increasing the demand for a product or service.

Thought leadership is hereby used as an avenue to market a product or a service e.g. though referrals from the thought leader or product mentions as the thought leader engages the target audience.

Social Media Influence and Thought Leadership

Virtually everyone is on social media. And the number of people logged into a given social media site at any point in time is just overwhelming; making social media a reliable platform through which a thought leadership marketing campaign can be conducted. Social media sites are also interactive, giving your audience a chance to engage with you for opinions or clarifications concerning a given issue and to exhibit the leader’s innovation. It is instantaneous. This direct communication gives the audience a sense of connection with the thought leader and hence trust in the thought leader develops.

Content delivered though social media should however be compelling and bite sized. They should be short and punchy for easy comprehension to the point that an audience responds in a conversation. The messages should also be timely so that the leader is seen as up to date; ahead of others and the first to deliver the news.

Building Thought Leadership beyond SEO

Do not confine your thought leadership campaign to SEO; explore other avenues for maximum reach of the targeted audience. This can be done through online conversations about your brand, product or service. Such avenues include Google + and other social media sites that allow you to initiate and maintain virtual conversations with your audience.

Thought leadership marketing is being done in all kind of shapes and forms. Sometimes it is pushed through social media, sometimes via SEO. In the past, brands often published white papers with all kinds of analysis as a way of educating customers. This is a different use of white papers than technical white papers that provide additional technical background. Consulting firms frequently own publications where they publish the results of research, new management models and examples. Thought leadership marketing has become a hot topic of online influence in the last year. However, only those that develop an effective and sustainable strategy to market their thought leadership have made it to the top.

Thought Leadership Marketing
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