Let’s Talk Thought Leadership

Thought leadership is a term that should not be tossed around lightly. As a key component in marketing, it’s not an easy title to gain. A marketing phrase first, earning the right for this title takes more than just having a pedigree or accidentally stumbling on success.

Thought leadership is more than flaunting achievements and publishing a book. It’s a dedication to craft, subject matter knowledge and being an expert in your field. If you want to earn thought leadership status for yourself or your brand, here’s what you should know.

Thought Leadership is a trendy buzzword that's needed in content marketing

What is Thought Leadership?

Thought leadership, is the simplest definition, is a content marketing-based phrase earned based on talent, experience, and business passion. This is a trending buzzword given to go-to people in their field. Thought leaders are the influencers of their industry that guide, inspire, and innovate, all while building up status and pulling in a profit.

To secure such a title, an individual or company needs to be a subject matter expert, but the key is to have a goal of building industries up – not just relying on them for profit.

Thought leaders don’t just advance the brand; they push for the entire industry. Of course, this title isn’t earned overnight. It takes dedication, hard work, and little content marketing savvy.

Thought Leaders Doing it Right

So, what are some great examples of thought leadership? These companies have not only pulled it off, but they are also at the top of their game.

  • Bill Gates: Microsoft’s co-founder. A pioneer in personal computers, this man is still constantly evolving. He continuously pushes the boundaries of technology in the digital world and as a humanitarian. With his foundation, he gives backs to the community and he’s constantly working toward new innovations to change the world for the better.
  • Johnson and Johnson: This is a brand that has established a solid “brand story.” Whether it’s personal health, medical devices, or pharmaceuticals, this brand is on every shelf. The company name is synonymous with health and wellness. The company is making constant breakthroughs in behavioral science, healthcare, and business performance.
  • General Electric: This is a company that screams innovation. With a focus on multiple avenues, Earth, space, material, life, nature, energy, building, transportation, theory, and computers, GE has a goal to educate and break boundaries. It’s a company that is constantly evolving with “the future” as its goal. The brand is solidified as well since there are few devices that aren’t “powered by GE.”

Each of these examples has truly stepped beyond “entrepreneur” or “business” and has transcended to innovative thought leadership. So, how can you help your business get there? Here are a few tips to help you get started.

thoughts lead to actions

Building Authority

To become a leader in your industry, you have to establish authority in your field. Whether it’s pest control or a bakery, if you want to become a thought leader, you can’t become an influencer without first planting the roots. Build your business, do research into customer needs, and get the right support. Start a blog to build up followers and get your name out there. Construct a social media presence. Do what needs to be done to put your company at the forefront.

Establishing Credibility

Once you’ve built your base, branch out and establish your credibility. While you don’t have to go to an Ivy League school, it’s a good idea to put your experience and credentials on display. Any certifications, peer support, or accolades can go far when building brand awareness and strength within your field. Demonstrate your problem-solving and passion for the industry.

Gather a Following

A good way to build authority is through a dedicated following. Write a brand story worth following, with clear objectives and a noteworthy strategy to reach out to the right audience for your company. Whether it’s through innovative ideas or thoughtful education, build a solid fan base that will spread the foundation of your community.

thought leadership takes time and strong content

Stay Current

Whether you are just getting to the top or you are out of the game, stay current. Keep an eye on the industry and always try to keep ahead of the game. What’s more, try to be the innovation others are looking for. What’s new for your brand? What are you doing to advance your industry? Staying current proves your dedication to your craft and helps you stand out amongst your peers.

Support Your Industry

It’s not enough to profit from your industry. Thought leadership makes it a point to give back to the field and improve it. Real leaders build up their life’s work and passion. Support students, jobseekers, and other enthusiasts. Push your employees to strive and break boundaries. Never stop supporting others – they can just as easily stop supporting you and your brand.

Concluding Thoughts

Thought leaders don’t become established overnight. It takes time, dedication, and hard work to achieve notoriety in any industry. One thing is for sure, it’s impossible to achieve this title without a sense of community. Your audience, peers, and employees are what lift you to your achievements. Build your industry and community and earn your thought leadership status.

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