‘Thought leadership’ is among the many terms that brands like to toss around these days. To be seen as an outspoken expert in your chosen field is the goal of thought leadership marketing. Yet, why do brands still fall short in staking their credibility?
What is thought leadership?
Thought leadership is a marketing strategy brands employ to showcase knowledge and build credibility within a chosen niche. Thought leaders are the reference point in their field of expertise and whose thoughts and beliefs shape the community.
Thought leadership also evokes meaningful discussion. Nicole France, former Head of Thought Leadership at Cisco defines thought leadership as “…creating a conversation that informs and shapes people’s thinking.”
Thought leaders not only engage the community with inspiring messages but also listen to the people’s opinions and experiences. Thought leadership plants seeds of motivation and inspiration within the community through open communication and well-researched content.
Developing a business strategy around thought leadership can be fun yet challenging. Let’s discuss the common mistakes in thought leadership and how to avoid them for a successful campaign run.
Mistakes to Avoid in Thought Leadership
1. Addressing a general audience
For thought leadership to be part of a solid business plan, determining the target audience is the first step. Addressing the public in general waters down the quality of your content and contributions to the community.
People deliberately seek out thought leaders because they don’t say the same things that everyone else is saying. Capture your audience’s attention with content that is specific yet concise, and speak confidently of your thoughts and beliefs.
2. Failing to establish your manifesto
Steve Jobs once said, “If you’re not passionate enough from the start, you’ll never stick it out.” Pinning down your manifesto is monumental to your progress in delivering empowering messages to the community.
A manifesto can be as simple as a list of how a topic makes you happy or as challenging as getting over certain fears. Take the time to sit down and reflect on your motivations for pursuing thought leadership. Envision the values you can impart to your target audience and the lessons you can pick up from their experiences.
3. Rarely publishing and marketing your content.
Publishing and marketing your content on the right channels are the next steps after establishing your manifesto. Don’t think that the Internet is overloaded with information already and you should post less. Share more of your think pieces. Staying quiet can hurt your reputation.
Plan a monthly content calendar to give you a head start in content creation. Choose a topic to cover per week or for the entire month, and jot down subtopics you wish to cover and the best medium to share them with the community.
Blog posts, podcasts, infographics, and the like rouse discourse among your audience and drive traffic to your social channels or website. Most importantly, publish content in the format you’re most comfortable with to make content marketing an enjoyable process.
4. Failing to engage in discussion with other people.
Sharing your expertise on a subject matter is not a one-sided relationship. For thought leaders, nurturing relationships is essential to raising brand awareness within the community.
Before you log off your socials, take some time to respond to replies. Interact with your follower’s content to show you value the community’s insights as much as they value yours. Discussion humanizes your brand and strengthens your audience’s trust.
Thought leadership is a constant exchange of ideas, beliefs, and insights on a given topic. As a thought leader, you have the capacity to shift people’s mindsets and guide them on their journey to success. Thought leadership marketing is the best approach for industry experts like you to establish brand awareness and motivate the audience to become better versions of themselves.
Final Thoughts on Thought Leadership Marketing
Thought leadership marketing establishes authority and showcases your experience working within a niche. You can launch your very own ideal thought leadership plan by keeping these main takeaways in mind:
- Stay true to yourself. You are a thought leader worth paying attention to; following in the exact steps of others will hamper your progress to grow and influence people.
- Share your content to whom it matters. A niche community regards your insights with more significance than a broad and distracted audience.
- Maintain consistency. Thought leaders present themselves and their content with a strong conviction, regardless of the content format.
Finally, we leave you with this quote from John, a prolific writer and speaker on leadership:
A leader is one who knows the way, goes the way, and shows the way.