Unleash your influence with thought leadership

Instagram made me buy it. TikTok has as well. LinkedIn has convinced me too, as has Facebook in its day. 

My closet and office are full of impulsive buys from social media – shoes, mouse pads, pencil cases, clothes and knick knacks galore. I’ve even taken courses and attended business events I first discovered on LinkedIn. 

Consumer behavior has changed. What we buy, where we buy, and most importantly, why we buy has all shifted in the last few years. The buying process has also changed. 

Word of mouth, especially when recommended through a trusted influencer, still works. Yet, for the most part, shopping is now a solo escapade. 

Let’s take the last business course I purchased. I first saw a post from the founder by scrolling through a hashtag on LinkedIn. Snooping around the company’s webpage, I learned about its services and read a few blog articles. I then signed up for their bi-weekly newsletter, hit follow on their socials, and watched a free webinar.

It took a good amount of content to get me off the sidelines to become a customer. This is true for most buyers today – consumers looking for personal goods as well as B2B decision-makers looking for a service or product for their company.

It was also really good content. 

The content I was consuming from the company helped me rethink the challenges in my business. I often walked away from an article or social post with a new idea or question that helped me re-examine my assumptions. I also had the chance to learn more about the brand, its services and the value the company has delivered to other businesses like mine.

Such content is called thought leadership. And, it can be a really smart marketing strategy. 

Is thought leadership for you?

Like any marketing strategy, thought leadership isn’t right for everyone. It can be powerful for B2B startups breaking new ground or established companies looking to make an impact in their market. It can work for many others, too: consultants, coaches, wellness and health professionals and the list goes on. That is, if it’s approached correctly and done well.

Clickbait statistics and repeating others’ ideas or insights is not thought leadership. It’s not influencer marketing that’s focused primarily on brand recognition. It’s also not sales materials that describe products or services. 

Instead, thought leadership delivers a consistent stream of content that offers expertise, guidance and unique perspectives on a topic or in a given field. The purpose is to provide your audience with value: help them build their knowledge about a topic or give them a fresh idea to ponder about their industry or company. 

Is though leadership a smart strategy?

Thought leadership often comes in the form of a thought-provoking article or a well-researched report. Insights can also be shared in a video, webinar, social post or live presentation. Successful campaigns often come when insights are repurposed and reshared across a mix of formats and channels. 

Using content to deliver value to your audience, you’ll be able to build brand awareness and visibility that’s more firmly founded on your company’s capabilities. It can also help you build your: 

  • Influence and credibility: Over time, thought leadership can position you as an authority in your field, giving you the opportunity to influence opinions and shape industry conversations. The more reliable and thought-provoking you are, the more credible and trustworthy you become to your audience.
  • Engagement and connection: By sharing valuable insights and ideas, you engage your audience at a deeper level. Focusing on a specific set of topics relevant to your audience and the work you do, you’re able to engage in meaningful conversations that will build real connections with your audience.  
  • Differentiation and innovation: In a crowded marketplace, thought leadership can set you apart from the competition. By offering fresh perspectives and innovative ideas, you can distinguish yourself as a forward-thinking leader.
  • Lead generation and sales: Each of the above, together, will open you up to new, expanded audiences. It will also create the right conditions to inspire confidence in you and the work you do, turning prospects into customers.

Ready to start?

Thought leadership is a long game of strategy. It begins with identifying your unique perspectives, insights and expertise. Then, sharing them with the world.

To get you started, download our new go-to guide on thought leadership. Designed specifically for business leaders or marketing teams at the start of their journey, the playbook offers six strategies and a whole bunch of practical actions to help you unleash your influence. 

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