Establishing yourself or your company as an industry leader can benefit both your business and your industry. In addition to increasing your professional value, establishing thought leadership can expand your business network, positively influence brand recognition, generate quality leads, and attract valuable business opportunities.
Practicing thought leadership can help contribute to the conversation which is good for any industry, by raising awareness and contributing fresh ideas that can lead to further innovation. Acting as an industry leader also adds more quality resources to your industry and can help educate and inspire others, which uplifts the industry as a whole.
It’s not easy to establish yourself or your company as a highly trusted thought leader. It's a long game which requires more time and effort than simply updating a company blog every once in a while, or sending out a few tweets or emails.
Here are a few tips to help establish yourself as an industry thought leader.
Create Consistent, High-Quality Content
We’ve all heard content is key, so it makes sense that the best thought leaders develop consistent, quality content. Great content goes beyond superficial updates or social media posts — although those types of content do have a useful place in the sales funnel.
Website landing pages, blog posts, videos, case studies, white papers, and e-books are all content types that are integral to thought leadership content strategy. While shorter content pieces work to generate awareness at the top of the funnel, longer form content, like white papers and e-books can attract leads and do more to position yourself as an industry expert.
The best thought leadership content offers fresh ideas, instead of regurgitating what has already been published. Contributing something new to the conversation offers users more value. Inviting other industry experts and influencers to create guest posts on your blog or create content is another way to expand the conversation.
Some good questions to ask when creating content are:
- Has this been said before?
- What new perspective can I offer?
- How will this be useful to others?
- How can this help my industry?
- How does this further my brand?
Be wary of content that comes off as too self-promotional. The best content exists to serve others, rather than market your own brand. Too much self promotion can be a turn-off when trying to generate leads, especially at the top of the funnel. Educational, useful, and even entertaining content is more likely to attract (and convert) the quality leads you want.
Build and Follow a Content Strategy
A big mistake many companies make is churning out content, willy-nilly, without an overarching plan. Creating content to check off a to-do list only adds to the “noise.” Having a clear strategy will steer you toward creating high quality content that matters and is targeted toward your intended audience. Knowing your intended goals will also better inform your content strategy. Tracking and measuring KPIs is critical to knowing what kind of content is working, and what might be a waste of time and resources.
When considering your content strategy, you must first know your audience, which can vary based on their place in the funnel. Once you understand your audience, you can devise pertinent topics that will interest them and lead them further down the funnel, while establishing trust and expertise. A solid content strategy should also take into account the publication cadence. How much, and how often different content types should be published depends on your industry and goals; however you should always strive for quality over quantity for the most effectiveness. Lastly, make sure your content is published consistently. Posting gaps won’t do much make an influence.
Present Online and at Industry Events
Creating great content is one thing; getting your content in front of the right people to generate awareness, leads and conversions is another. Don’t forget to account for content promotion when devising your strategy. The most influential industry leaders have well established social media presences. Building up a strong following isn’t just for appearances; it’s a necessary tool for promoting content. Leveraging social media accounts and email newsletters lists is an effective way to present content to an already captive audience. Making connections with trade publications is another way to get your content in front of the right audience.
Another way to establish yourself as an industry leader is to appear at conferences and events. Speaking engagements will help your company find and reach an audience of influencers and like-minded peers. Events and conferences can quickly raise awareness of your brand, increase individual name recognition, promote content, and provide opportunities for making new connections. Since events and conferences are also widely shared on social media, you can reach a broader audience beyond the event.
How does your company position itself in your industry? Tell us about your content and speaking engagement strategies below!