We have fast become a connected world through web search, social influence and community following. We can be led in surprising and unexpected directions and new thought waves can go viral overnight by social influencers or industry thought leaders. There are many people leading us collectively in ways that add value to our lives by creating awareness through thought resetting. Reframing our ideas of self, our environment and how we relate, both personally and professionally.
Thought Leadership as a concept was a natural outgrowth of educative marketing. It began by developing relationships with prospective customers and engaging them with non-promotional and industry-oriented conversations. Providing value-added information that came from an expert source. In time, thought leaders forged their way into the public relations and journalism arenas, becoming the go-to people for research, insight and interpretation of the latest news and industry trends. Presently, through marketing, public relations and audience engagement thought leadership is an effective way to build reputation, awareness and brand.
What is it really?
Thought leadership is about providing ideas that require attention, that offer guidance and clarity and that can lead people by creating new directions. Researching, evidencing, writing or speaking about innovative ideas that become a precursor for change.
What Makes a Thought Leader?
Thought leaders are expert communicators and in every case, thought leaders write. They are columnists or bloggers, authors of reports, articles or books. Thought leaders also engage in PR, not the old-school promotion we have known. The public relations they are involved in is more authentic and engaging in nature. They are the source matter experts that appear in interviews, on podcasts, broadcast programs and the news.
Thought leaders present and are likely to be keynote speakers. These people may talk and present through webinars, webcasts, or podcast programs. Their communication style is inspiring and their ideas are compelling. These are not meant to be entertaining, but highly enriching and educating. The audiences are then motivated toward specific and measurable business and personal changes.
They have reputations that are easily findable in web search and are thorough and accurate. In the areas they are expert in, they are a ‘part of the conversation’ regionally, by industry and maybe on a global scale. True thought leaders ensure they stay present in the online communities where their audiences live, therefor knowing their audience. Many are social media experts or at least accessible and visible to the audiences who can benefit from their expertise. They present themselves in a way that reflects their own personal and professional personality. Thought leaders have learned to put their best foot forward within their niche and personal brand. Most importantly, true thought leaders are experts in the formation of social authority, market and industry comprehension and perception. The aim is to guide that perception toward specific goals and change.
Thought Leader How To’s
Develop a long term mindset, developing expertise, professional credentials and social influence is a steady build.
Contribute to a publication or communicate within your reach as an individual or organisation.
Collaborate with experts who can provide specialised editing, research or selection of groundbreaking topics.
Get ahead of the wave by forecasting. Look at past cycles and predict where your industry is headed. Link what you do with what you are analysing or forecasting.
Engage actively through constant reinvention and by being aware of the quick constant changes happening in your industry.
Communicate your point of view by adopting multifaceted messaging and allow adequate time for the propagation of thought leadership messages.
Make use of the best PR to creatively express what you want to convey. Undertake mobile marketing campaigns to make people become aware or to garner research data.
Test new technologies which the industry needs by deploying the latest research methods.
Ensure that you make your webinars, podcasts or literature available through various channels by linking them properly to your website.