To be recognized as a thought leader you need to either be a recognized leading brand in your vertical, need to be endorsed by another thought leader in your space or need to have access to credible analytics to represent your insights. Also, it takes at least a few well circulated and discussed publications before anyone takes your thought leadership seriously. Once all that is in place, you need a strategy to build a following.
The intent behind thought leadership in marketing is that you want establish yourself as a reference for anyone in your vertical to understand emerging trends in your industry. Your insights must enable readers to understanding the existing and past trends and how they are going to shape the future. The best way to get started in establishing oneself as a thought leader is looking at the existing thought leaders in your space. Try to understand what is working for them and what is not by studying their previous few publications. Next, its critical to do a self assessment on the type of value you will be bringing to the table for your future audience. Things like access to industry analysts to endorse your claims, access to industry data by working with your company’s database analysts to identify trends, a good writer who can understand your industry and who can work with your company’s product managers to create a voice for your thought leadership. Having a PR company or specialist who can work with you to create a list of content distributors will also immensely help your cause.
When you have ironed out the details of your thought leadership, remember the following and keep repeating until your goals of thought leadership are realized.
- Use tables and graphs to show trends
- Use a consistent thought leadership format so that people can get used to your points of measurements
- Build a list of reporters, bloggers, publications who may benefit from getting your updates for their audience.
- It will be ideal if you have a particular person with a photo who acts as a voice behind your thought leadership claims. The audience loves real people who they can relate to.
- If you are able, it will be great to create a YouTube channel to discuss results of your latest thought leadership results.
- Definitely leverage social media like LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook where you see appropriate.
- If your report name names of brands, make sure you let leading brands know they were mentioned. I am sure they would love to brag to their followers.
Of course these are the general rules of thought leadership in marketing. I highly recommend you engage a SunMantra consultant to do a customized evaluation of your company’s thought leadership strategy and we would love to help you establish yourself as a leading authority in your business vertical.