A 3-point strategy on how to position yourself as an influential thought leader
If you want to become a key influencer in your respective industry, you'll be spinning your wheels unless you're implementing a proactive strategy aimed at generating as much awareness and exposure as possible. The price of admission to thought leadership? You must be able to engage in intelligent conversation, communicate value through various platforms, and be able to capture the attention of your specific target audience.
That sounds simpler than it is, but the rewards are great. By positioning yourself and your business as innovative thought leaders, the benefits that come as a result are likely beyond what you're even imagining. Here's how it works in big picture terms: You will be able to command respect and authority within your market. Prospects and the related business community will take inspiration from your insights, which adds more credibility when you're closing deals. And what's more, the strategy behind a thought leadership initiative will allow you to grow and expand your brand equity, strategic positioning, and value-to-market.
Prospects want to do business with individuals who are experts in their fields. Period. Let's take a look at 2 pointers that can help you differentiate yourself and your business from the competition, build a competitive advantage and, over time, substantially improve your bottom line.
1) Get present to the Big Passion you have for your topic, and get your message out there!
Didn't your grandmother ever tell you not to hide your light under a bushel basket? If you have Big Passion for your area of expertise, it's your responsibility to tell the world about it! If you truly believe that your product or service can change the world, you should be looking at how to best leverage every piece of media/platform at your disposal to get your message out. This means writing and posting articles/blogs in a consistent, strategic manner with the aim of reaching as many people as possible, particularly those in your target market, of course. Conduct interviews with peers, produce engaging video content (doesn't have to be fancy, Facebook live is all about in-the-moment realness and spontaneity), and host public speaking events. It's all about sparking and contributing to the conversation, coupled with the genuine aim to help as many people as possible. Wash, rinse, and repeat: Keep doing those things, and over time, you will position yourself as a go-to expert and thought leader in your space. It's all about 10x'ing your efforts and being authentic. True thought leadership can only be achieved through authenticity.
2) Take the plunge and try live video & seminars--I promise it won't hurt.
You don't have to be a reality TV star to benefit greatly from the amazing potential of All Things Online. We are in the digital age, with new innovations popping up all the time, and as business owners, if we're not looking at using social media platforms as productive business engagement tools, we're leaving money on the table. I already mentioned Facebook, for example, which represents a significant opportunity to appeal to communities on a scalable basis. An increase in the popularity of live video has made the customer experience as refreshing and engaging as it's ever been. Take advantage of this and schedule times to post strategically to appeal to your target audience. For example, at lunchtime on Thursday/Friday, you could host a live feed of you taking questions on certain topics within your industry. Illustrate passion and depth of knowledge and spark communication. Appeal to your audience. If an idea pops into your head, go live straight away, and then ask your news feed for thoughts and suggestions. Take on that no-cost, low-time-commitment practice, and it will do wonders for your reputation, image, visibility, and value-to-market. By answering questions and communicating value, you will soon be regarded as a key contributor and will earn appreciation from your target market.
3) Make sure the right people are listening--build your network strategically so you have the perfect audience for your content.
The magic ingredients that will get your thought leadership campaign really cooking with gas are consistency and the beauty of the compound effect. Once you initiate a thought leadership strategy, it may start off slow in the beginning. This is why I would suggest building your network of a specific target audience before releasing content. Once you start releasing content strategically and on a consistent basis, it becomes a habit. As it becomes part of your regular routine to share this content, it will become a habit for your audience to pay attention to and heed your insights. Individuals will share your information with their network, and then some of those people will share it, and well, you see how this goes. This is the beauty of the compound effect. Consistent Actions = Consistent Results.
Deb Beroset, founder of Moxie Creative + Consulting, Inc., is The Influence Stylist and specializes in helping people consciously create how they show up in the world. She is an award-winning international journalist, the former head of Hallmark’s innovation think tank, a certified Neurotransformational Coach, and has relationships with the media worldwide.