The most common definition of a thought leader is ‘an individual or firm that is recognised as an authority in a specialised field and whose expertise is sought and often rewarded.’
But what does it take to be recognised as a true thought leader in your field, rather than one of the thousands of thought followers? In a noisy world, a multichannel thought leadership approach is essential and will enable you to be seen as a true, genuine expert.
For businesses that already have a strong media relations programme in place, thought leadership will help them stand out from the crowd, gaining exposure above and beyond their established trade press. It is ideal if you are looking to establish your business in new sectors, create a strong online footprint, or would like to leverage the profile of particular individuals within your company. Whatever they are procuring, businesses buy leadership and expertise, and you need to ensure you demonstrating these qualities.
Although it requires time and energy, thought leadership status is important for both businesses, and the individuals within them. The approach is similar for both and can easily become part of your daily routine.
To be a true thought leader in your field, your approach must cover multiple channels, from social media to traditional broadsheets. Content isn’t just about filling column inches. Different channels need to be factored in; for example one theme can be used across several different formats: blogs, online or print opinion piece, LinkedIn pages and video.
We call this the Communications Suite and ensure we utilise each piece of content across as many channels as possible.
Below are our top 10 tips on becoming a truly successful thought leader:
- Having a passion is the key to becoming a thought leader, as passion drives innovation and there are no thought leaders without innovation. Pick a theme and ensure your message is being pushed throughout all content you produce
- Assess whether you really want to become a thought leader – it takes time and commitment
- Build and maintain a strong profile across your key print and online media
- Generate exposure around your business and its leadership story to emphasis your expertise
- Twitter, LinkedIn and all other relevant social channels, are invaluable tools when becoming a thought leader. Owning your social domain enables you to communicate with your industry in real time
- Writing a business blog supports your goal of establishing you and your business as a thought leader
- Know the difference between advertising and thought leadership. Everyone knows you can pay for exposure through advertising, thought leadership on the other hand generates credibility by building your reputation as having a strong point of view and understanding the industry you work in
- Connect with like-minded individuals, share opinions on topics you are mutually interested in
- Keep up with industry trends
- Attend key industry events and award ceremonies to discuss trends and leave your footprint
So what are you waiting for? If you want to build your profile attract and retain the best industry talent, generate new business and gain the recognition you deserve – begin your campaign to be seen as your industry’s thought leader.