Business

How to Be a Thought Leader Through Your Web Content

When it comes to crafting killer content and polishing your own online marketing strategies, it’s best to learn from the best. But when should you actually ditch the patterns and prefabricated ideas already in existence and raise your own voice, pen your own thoughts on paper and become the one leading the herd?

You know what they say: there’s no time like the present. With a little bit of practice, you can position yourself as a LEADER through your fresh, inspiring Web content.

3 Remarkable Benefits of Utilizing Thought Leadership

These days, many people consider themselves thought leaders just because they have had the chance to launch a book, write an article or get a more or less exciting speaking gig. This is not what it’s all about. According to the Oxford English Dictionary,  a thought leader is one whose views on a certain topic are taken as influential and authoritative. According to Forbes, the real thought leaders are people whose work serves as an extremely valuable resource for others in their sector. You know that you’re on the right path to success when players in your niche start quoting you.

You may be wondering: is it really worth it to go the extra mile to reinforce your supremacy in your field of activity? When in doubt, you should keep in mind that those who are perceived as experts in their line of work get the biggest slice of the pie. They are courted by investors, approached by a variety of clientele, and envied by competitors. Here are some of the benefits:

  • The Key to a Flawless Reputation Management. If you own a company and you train your employees to act as thought leaders, they will help you build, display and preserve an impeccable reputation, while avoiding potential landmines that could put your good name on the line. With positive mentions, numerous awards and lots of stellar content on your side, you basically build a shield against negative comments that would otherwise hurt your business.
  • The Chance to Build YOUR OWN Solid, PR Relationships. Instead of investing time and money in dependent relationships with a PR company, you can use the influence that you have as an industry leader to build your own connections and boost your online visibility. Miracles won’t happen overnight, but if you craft and distribute content consistently, this will enable you to create your very own fruitful PR relationships.
  • The Opportunity to Roll out Effective Content Marketing Strategies. The insight of a thought leader represents the most important ingredient of a successful content marketing campaign. The Web writing that you distribute via media outlets will immediately put your interior content on full display, making more people land on your website and spread the word about your business.

Uncovering the Well-Kept Secret of Thought Leaders

So now that you are familiar with the benefits associated with the thought leader status, you are probably dying to know how you could get there. So how do you actually go from a very frustrating anonymity to industry prominence at the speed of light?

The answer is simple: Niche topics! Find what others HAVEN’T written about in your industry. Include news in your industry and your thoughts on that news, not just a “reporting” of the news. Be a leader by publishing LOTS of content (a very simple step). Here are three simple ways to boost your influence and make a name for yourself as a trusted expert in your sector in no time.

1) Target the Big Dogs in Your Circle and Use the Snowball Effect. Even if you are a new player in a certain industry, chances are that you can already identify the most important people in your circle. According to Inc, if you want to reaffirm yourself as a thought leader, a big first step would be to get in touch with super connectors, competitors with a consistent online presence and industry leaders. Tell them you’d like to interview them and publish the content on your blog. This would be a great opportunity to make new connections and build your content creation strategy around powerful names in your industry that will basically offer you the chance to profit from a megaphone and a receptive targeted audience at the same time.

This is when the snowball effect comes into play: by conducting interviews, asking smart questions, being inquisitive and creating killer content, you stimulate the curiosity of even more important influencers and draw more attention to your original ideas, vast knowledge and expertise.

2) Go Where No One Else Has Gone Before. Are you a listener or a communicator? Successful communicators are always good listener, but on top of that, they are also bold innovators. They uncover interesting facts before they actually hit the news, present exciting, relevant facts from a different perspective and elaborate on original content pieces with their readers in mind. Follow these simple steps to attain your goal:

  • Use the right tools and channels to reinforce your authority. For instance, Feedly.com allows you to stay in the loop, while organizing and sharing your ideas in a much more effective manner.
  • Stay active on social media platforms. This is the place where exciting stuff goes viral.
  • Prepare a series of recurring blog posts. This strategy will enable you to count on an uninterrupted content flow on a weekly basis and display your consistency — one of the main attributes of a real thought leader.

3) Sell Ideas When You’re Not Selling and Be Engaging

When you’re working on a thought leadership post, keep in mind that you have to resist the temptation to add powerful calls to action. You are not trying to convince someone to buy one of your products. Instead, you are offering food for thought to very refined consumers who know the difference between a shameless sales pitch and a high-value, informative content piece. To be successful, you shouldn’t consider thought leadership a mere revenue stream. In other words, as difficult as it may be, focus solely on brand value accrual, not on money-making strategies.

An article published by Huffington Post reveals that thought leaders are educators by default, who represent advocates for the success of their clients. According to ProBloggers, to become a respectable thought leader in your niche, you have to interact, inspire and inform. This means that you have to create awe-inspiring content and use it to build a bridge between you and your audience.

  • Inspire your readers by telling your own story
  • Interact with your readers by adopting a friendly, natural tone, cultivating their feedback and ultimately turning your blog or your Facebook group into an online social club
  • Inform your readers by delivering fresh industry news, publishing your own surveys and presenting real-life examples and case studies to prove a point.

Thought leaders aren’t born overnight. Nonetheless, you can add value to your business and your own image by simply upgrading your content creation strategy. Killer content tailored to your audience, correlated with solid distribution methods, will help you talk like an expert and be perceived as one in no time.

About the author

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Julia McCoy

Julia McCoy is a serial content marketer, entrepreneur, and bestselling author. She founded a multi-million dollar content agency, Express Writers, with nothing more than $75 at 19 years old. Today, her team has nearly 100 expert content creators on staff, and serves thousands of clients around the world. She's earned her way to the top 30 worldwide content marketers, and has a passion for sharing what she knows in her books and in her online course, The Content Strategy & Marketing Course. Julia also hosts The Write Podcast on iTunes.