Light bulbs that represent thought leadership and coming up with ideas

Thought Leadership: What is it, and How Do You Build It?

For any business, thought leadership is a marketing technique that can lead to the exponential growth of a brand and the bottom line. However, what’s unique about thought leaders is that they are the true experts in their field, providing not only advice to others, but paving the way for new innovations. Thought leaders are the ones who people go to for a thorough understanding of an industry’s trends, business advice, and the answers to the biggest questions.

What this also means is that there is a high level of trust placed on thought leaders. Being a trusted expert in a certain field or niche also requires one to be up to speed with the latest trends and news. It also means having genuine connections with a community and being able to help grow it.

There are various ways to establish yourself as a thought leader, but it doesn’t just happen overnight. Being a thought leader is more than just writing a post for your blog every once in a while, more than just a retweet, and definitely more than simply popping by a conference once a year. You need to be so integrated with your field of expertise and network that your perspective has credibility. This takes patience, focus, as well as the willingness to learn and listen to others within and outside of your circle.

 

Statistics about thought leadership

When you’re able to engage potential leads and customers using thought leadership, you will be able to see results. In fact, according to Edelman’s 2020 B2B thought leadership impact study, 48% of decision-makers spend an hour or more reading thought leadership material on a weekly basis.

In addition, 89% of decision makers perceive a brand differently thanks to thought leadership. After engaging with thought leadership, respect for an organization increases along with the perception of its capabilities and the level of trust.

 

Statistics about content creation

A greater commitment to thought leadership is also the key to a business’ content quality. According to the study, such a commitment results in greater rewards over time. In fact, 35% of thought leadership producers who have been creating content for 21 or more years find that the quality of the content is either very good or excellent. Those who have committed 11 to 20 years and six to 10 years are both at 29% when it comes to the perception of quality.

Having quality content is related to discoverability, as 54% of decision makers come across thought leadership content while they’re conducting research on a specific topic. Meanwhile, 26% of decision makers get influenced by the content thanks to it being pushed by someone they trust.

 

There are a bunch of other ways to capitalize on thought leadership. For one, you should make yourself accessible. It’s useful to get your name out there by making connections with the media, bloggers, and even other industry leaders who are already well-known by your target audience. You should also nurture these relationships, too. It’s easy to just send out a press release and have your name and brand in the news, but forming real and genuine connections through in-depth interviews or even a phone call to catch up with the happenings within your network is the key to success.

 

FYA graphic about online presence

Another way to create a space for yourself as a thought leader is to have a strong online presence and reputation. This can be done through social media platforms such as Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram. Using social media to connect with your audience is a way to build trust and a useful way to keep track of what others are saying about you and your business. Communicating directly through social media outlets can also be a way to mitigate conflict as quickly as possible. Don’t be afraid to start and drive a conversation as a thought leader, either. You can showcase your expertise on a subject and gain high content engagement rates by doing this.

A decision maker’s trust in a company is also related to how they perceive the company’s authenticity. According to a study conducted by the Boston Consulting Group, authenticity is what attracts decision makers to a brand. The study also found that for millennials, the importance of brand authenticity is only second to discounts that are rewarded for brand loyalty.

It’s a no-brainer for businesses to build thought leadership, especially in an ever-evolving marketing landscape with more and more millennials joining it. In fact, according to the same study, millennials will most likely outnumber the number of baby boomers at 78 million compared to 56 million by 2030.

 

FYA graphic about thought leadership speaking

Another technique to employ for increased thought leadership is making things more personal. At the end of the day, we are all human beings and are susceptible to getting our heartstrings pulled by powerful and emotional pieces. You don’t need to be afraid to give your thought leadership content a personal touch before sharing it with your target audience. The power of storytelling through a blog, video, article, or social media post can, in turn, generate more authenticity for your brand.

Of course, a part of that authenticity comes from your genuine passion for what you do as well. To become a thought leader, you should be willing to always learn what’s new about your industry and how it has an impact on your target audience and the industry as a whole. If you don’t love what you do or have no genuine interest in it, then your audience would also notice this in the form of your tone and lack of involvement in events. Without passion, you would also find your work as a thought leader draining, which is the antithesis of what a thought leader should be in the first place.

 

When you’re enthusiastic about what you do, it shines through in your work and the way you present yourself to others. It may sound cheesy, but being yourself is a solid piece of advice when it comes to building thought leadership.

Thought leadership is changing the business game, and the need for consistent and quality content is higher than ever in ever-competitive industries. To work with the Find Your Audience team and take your business to the next level, shoot them an email at hi@findyouraudience.online. If you’re feeling more talkative, then hit them up with a phone call at 647-479-0688.

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