Do you believe in the value of thought leadership?
Is it worth the time and effort you’d need to invest in becoming recognized as a thought leader? The answer is a resounding “Yes.”
Thought Leadership Influences Decision Makers
CEOs and other executives are particularly influenced by the thought leadership (or lack thereof) of someone they are considering doing business with. The value of being a leader in your field also holds true for consumers, especially when making more expensive purchases.
- More than half (55%) of decision makers use thought leadership as a means of vetting potential partners and vendors.
- Seven out of ten decision makers base their expectations of a future business relationship on thought leadership.
- Do you think being a thought leader only matters if you’re a Fortune 500? A majority of decision makers feel that becoming a thought leader helps a small business build a great reputation.
- Want to make contacts with top execs? About half of top execs share their contact info with thought leaders who’ve impressed them. You never know what can develop from contacts of that caliber.
- Want to increase sales? Almost 60% of decision makers were influenced by thought leadership when awarding business.
- Thought leaders don’t have to sell themselves short. Six out of ten decision makers are willing to pay a premium price to an organization that has expressed a clear vision.
The Attributes of Thought Leadership
The term “thought leadership” is sometimes thrown around as a catch-all phrase for authoritative content, but it has a deeper meaning. Content can be useful and valuable (how-to’s, for example) without qualifying as true thought leadership.
Thought Leadership Adds New Insights
True thought leadership isn’t simply a rehash of what others have said on a topic. You’re an expert in your field and have opinions. Based on your experiences, you have insights into how the world at large is impacting your profession. You may have a solution to a problem many are facing. What does the future hold for your niche? What are the biggest challenges?
There are many topics you could discuss that would be relevant to your readers. Dig deep. If you’ve spent considerable time thinking about a subject, you have something new and meaningful to say that will expand the knowledge of all.
Do Your Research
Thought leadership content is based on facts. Often, new information is gathered from surveys. The answers received can be surprising and not what was expected. Search for the underlying reasons for the answers you receive. Content that explores the reasons behind the answers is true thought leadership.
Content based on your original research will be both persuasive and authoritative. Anything you post should be credible, but thought leadership demands a higher standard.
Third-Party Content Can be Useful
Look for other experts who could create authoritative content in your field. You’re probably too busy to handle everything yourself. Many companies regularly use the work of third parties for blogs and other content. This can be a win-win for both you and those you publish.
Thought Leadership Trends
Don’t be afraid to comment on world events and politics. While it’s best to avoid supporting one party over another, politics have an undeniable impact on business.
In most cases, a thought leader is able to respond quickly to changing circumstances. You won’t usually have months to process and publish.
Learn what your audience wants from you. In most cases, this means staying within the bounds of the overall topic of your blog or niche. Listen when your audience speaks.
Social media skills are increasingly important. Learn what’s trending and how it can be applied to your business.
Base your insights on real-world experiences, both yours and others. Supply the reasons, the data and the metrics that decision makers are looking for.
Would you like to begin planning a strategy for becoming a thought leader? Let’s connect today!