Thought leadership marketing has become one of the most consequential and effective ways for business owners, entrepreneurs, and CEOs to brand themselves on the Web. The benefits can be myriad, and they include benefits both for the individual and for the company they oversee. We’ll get to those benefits in a moment, but first some groundwork is in order. What is thought leadership marketing? And what does it look like in practice?
Looking Closer at Thought Leadership Marketing
When you engage in thought leadership marketing, you’re positioning yourself as an authority figure, and a source of real expertise within your chosen industry or professional field. Basically, through effective thought leadership marketing, you’re hoping that other people will view you as one of the primary influencers and gurus within your sphere; if they have a question on that topic, they will come to you, and trust your judgement.
It’s worth noting some of the ways in which this differs from more traditional marketing and advertising. In traditional advertising, you’re selling a product or service. This is more about the idea of selling yourself, and specifically selling the notion of your expertise.
As such, thought leadership isn’t as much about giving an aggressive sales pitch as it is providing examples… practicing what you preach, as the saying goes. After all, the best way to convince people of your expertise is to furnish them with actual expertise! Thus, some of the common tools of thought leadership marketing include podcasts, webinars, YouTube channels, books, e-books, blogs, newsletters, media appearances, and active social media presences.
The Benefits of Thought Leadership Marketing
Why is thought leadership something you should explore? I can think of a few reasons.
- Trust. The first benefit that I’ll mention is trust. There is simply no better way to establish trust from potential customers, clients, collaborators, and peers than by actively showing them that you know your stuff; that you’re not just about the hard sell, but truly doing the work!
- Prestige. The trust that you earn through thought leadership marketing can’t help but cast your business in a more alluring light. People in the industry will want to work with you, and to partner with a company that serves as a beacon of knowledge and subject-matter expertise.
- Brand awareness. Along the same lines, I think thought leadership marketing can open the doors to more and more opportunities for you to promote your brand. For example, a well-read blog or a popular book can land you with interview opportunities, media invitations, and more. Each of these opportunities helps you spread the word about what your business does and how it can provide a benefit to customers and clients.
A Few Examples
As you think about ways to get your own thought leadership initiatives off the ground, it may be helpful to consider some prominent examples of thought leadership marketing done right. Allow me to furnish you with just a few examples:
- The radio host and author Dave Ramsey has become, for many Americans, a real thought leader in the field of personal financial planning.
- Seth Godin is something of a guru in the contemporary marketing world, someone who the experts trust to point them toward positive new strategies.
- Julia McCoy is another marketing guru, and specifically one of the most in-demand experts on the subject of content marketing.
- Finally, there’s inspirational speaker Tony Robbins, who in many ways set the template for contemporary business coaches and experts.
These are intended just to show you what really effective thought leadership can look like… but now, let’s get back to you! Now that we’ve celebrated some thought leadership examples, it’s time to explore thought leadership strategy.
What’s a Good Strategy?
I can think of a few important steps that can help you develop your own thought leadership strategy.
- Know your strengths. In what field do you plan to establish your thought leadership? Where is your niche? What are some areas in which you truly feel like you could be a guru, and how do those areas intersect with customer needs and pain points?
- Condense your message. One thing thought leaders need is an effective elevator pitch… a pithy way of explaining why people should trust you, specifically (and what sets you apart from other thought leaders in the same field).
- Determine your platform. Thought leadership marketing isn’t just about the message, but also the medium. How will you transmit your expertise? Through blogging? By writing a book? Via Twitter? Note that, to establish thought leadership, you’ll need to be pretty well-versed in the mechanics of marketing.
- Set some goals. What are you ultimately trying to accomplish? How will you evaluate your thought leadership efforts? When will you be willing to declare your thought leadership a success? Set some basic metrics, KPIs, and objectives for yourself.
More Questions About Thought Leadership Marketing?
As you think about different ways to demonstrate thought leadership marketing, I hope you won’t hesitate to reach out to me with specific questions. I love talking about this stuff, and am always happy to tell you more about my qualifications as a motivational speaker as well as an executive coach.
Reach out today and let’s chat. Contact me at www.rickgoodman.com or call 888-267-6098. Let’s get into the weeds of thought leadership marketing.