Establishing industry thought leadership is extremely important for both startups and well-established businesses. Even if you have a loyal fan or customer base, building and maintaining thought leadership should be an ongoing initiative for the following reasons:
- Competitors will constantly be working to capture greater market share—including going after your current customers.
- New concerns and questions will come into play from both new and former customers as new products and services emerge and as technologies and industries evolve.
- Loyal customers may bring in steady profit over time—but in order to see growth in one’s business, continuous conversion of one-time customers to repeat, loyal customers should take place.
Creating and following through with a well-defined thought leadership plan—usually a segment of a larger content-marketing strategy—is more complicated than it may seem. The following factors are crucial to the success of a thought leadership initiative:
- Utilizing the right platforms for the business
- Keeping consistency with engagement and posting
- Providing quality and originality in all content posted
How to Build Thought Leadership:
There are a number of resources businesses can utilize to build and maintain thought leadership:
LinkedIn recently opened LinkedIn Publishing to the public, previously a premium tool only offered to a few high-profile thought leaders (think: Ariana Huffington, Bill Gates, Richard Branson), which gives users another way to develop credibility in their industry and as a business leader. Here experts can build thought leadership and add value for their target audience by posting relevant industry articles and comment responses to other people’s articles and questions—resulting in more page views and a higher level of engagement from followers.
Thought leadership efforts don’t stop with LinkedIn though—and it would behoove industry professionals to know of the many other thought leadership-building resources they have at their fingertips. Beyond Fifteen employs the following tactics for building thought leadership:
- Issuing Press Releases. Showing client authority in a particular field or industry, highlighting advancement and progress, and showcasing milestones.
- Securing Opportunities. Tapping into third party credibility of the press by securing client interview and article placements with broadcast, Internet media and print outlets.
- Award Nominations. Submitting clients for awards that vouch for their leadership and successes.
- Creation of Content. Ghostwriting for clients to showcase their leadership in the best light possible.
- Spreading the Word. Across many relevant traditional and digital channels, engaging in active pitching to target interested parties.
- Getting Social. Creating social media campaigns, and promoting engagement by commenting in both general (e.g. Yahoo! Answers, Quora, Klout Experts) and industry specific forums as well as any applicable social networks available. General forums allow organizations to capture the attention of new audiences while industry specific forums help build relationship with those who already have some interest re: topics relevant to the industry.
Since our last social media blog post, Facebook now has over 1.15 billion users, Twitter has over 550 million registered users and 215 million monthly active users, Google Plus now has over 1 billion enabled accounts and 359 million active monthly users (i.e., a growth rate of 33% per year), and LinkedIn hit 300 million users. There are social media networks that cater to B2B and B2C brands—so no matter what an organization provides, there is a proven benefit to sharing your content socially and commenting across various platforms.
Thought Leadership Support for Business Success:
Thought leadership is a worthwhile initiative for any organization to endeavor upon, but one might consider consulting with a communications firm first. At Beyond Fifteen, our focus is on utilizing PR and social media to build thought leadership. Whether it is securing media placements for thought leadership pieces or showcasing well-deserved awards, we are all about putting the spotlight on our clients and letting them shine.