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8 Steps to Becoming an Authentic Thought Leader in Your Industry

8 Steps to Becoming an Authentic Thought Leader in Your Industry post images
Image courtesy of Volodymyr Hryshchenko

Written By : Liam Webster

Posted 10/09/2022

So you want to be a thought leader. You want your personal and business brand to get noticed for the right reasons. And you want people to trust what you’re telling them, and turn to you for advice and expertise. But how do you create a successful content strategy with powerful thought leadership content that wows?

Thought leadership marketing comes in all shapes and sizes, covering all topics and specialist subjects. That said, not just anyone can become a guru and build a real rapport with readers. It takes practice, and it also requires an approach that doesn’t follow the same rules as typical marketing.

If you want to know how to become a thought leader in your industry, here are the 8 steps you need to follow:

1) Just start writing

Perfecting the art of thought leadership content takes time, and it requires you to practice your writing and communication skills. If you’ve never written content before, it can be hard to know where to start. But the best tip to starting building momentum is simply to start writing.

Even if you intend on hiring a content specialist to help you out, jotting down your thoughts or insightful nuggets of advice can be useful. Keep a notebook and start gathering ideas about what you want to write about.

2) Don’t promote yourself

The key to successful and sustainable thought leadership marketing is to be useful, helpful and relevant. You are not here to sell, but you are here to inform and make someone’s life easier or more enlightened. Basically, you need to provide value to your audience.

Self-promotion is a giveaway that you’re an imposter – a sales person in disguise! However, thought leadership articles can still work in favour of the products/services your company is selling. Just don’t treat your content like a sales pitch.

3) Be honest and authentic

This goes hand-in-hand with not promoting your own products. If you want to know how to become a thought leader in your industry – one that is trusted as a reliable source – the number one rule to follow is authenticity. Be authentic and don’t be afraid to dive into the pros and cons of certain technologies, solutions or services, even if it isn’t all about pushing what you’re selling.

To keep your content as authentic as possible, write down a list of topics or questions that you are genuinely passionate about sharing your thoughts on.

4) Find your specialism

One of the mistakes business leaders can make is believing they are an expert in everything. But the best thought leadership articles are born from years of experience, knowledge and research. So ask yourself this – “what area do I excel in?” or “what am I more passionate about than my peers?”

You could be a jack of all trades, but there will still be certain topics that are closer to your heart. This is how you establish your area of focus for a successful thought leadership content strategy.

5) Only publish high quality content

How you approach your content marketing is important. While the more you publish, the more you get your name out there, there’s an argument for quality over quantity. Striking that balance is essential – but if you ask our content team, quality should always be the priority.

Make your content relevant and interesting by answering questions that no-one else is answering. Solve problems, or bring new ideas and concepts to the forefront. Try to take direction from your audience too to diversify or repurpose existing content. If people are repeatedly asking the same questions in the comments section, use that as your guide and inspiration.

6) Have a thought leadership content plan

Never go in blind with your content strategy. Have a plan and try to be consistent. You can’t build a readership if your audience doesn’t know who you are. Trust and great relationships don’t happen overnight after all. By maintaining an editorial calendar and consistently publishing thought leadership content, you can start to build a following.

Real thought leaders are in it for the long haul. They’re not trying to earn a quick buck or get in on the latest trend; they’re passionate about their industry. Consistency in content, social interactions, and publication contributions communicates authenticity.

7) Work with a content agency

Knowing how to become a thought leader starts with understanding your own strengths and weaknesses. You may be an expert in your field, but you may not be the best writer or content creator.

Partnering with a content marketing specialist means you can let your ideas get turned into high quality content. The process is usually flexible, with as little or as much writing involvement as you prefer. Your content creation agency can also help you with strategy and content planning, ensuring your thought leadership marketing campaigns get seen by the right people, at the right time.

8) Get social

Social networking is a no-brainer when it comes to promoting your thought leadership articles. There are now 46 million B2B decision-makers on LinkedIn, making it the ideal platform for sharing your content, and Twitter can be a great place to engage with your customers and other industry influencers.

By growing your networks on social, you can build your reputation as a regular content contributor and expert, while boosting engagement and increasing awareness for both your personal and business brand.

Do you need help with your content marketing?

At Identify Digital, we can help you build a customer-centric content strategy and provide support for thought leadership content. To chat to a digital marketing and content agency that knows how to create quality content for any industry/sector, call 01924 911333 or fill in our online enquiry form.

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