If you are in business, one of the best things you can do is establish yourself as a thought leader.
A thought leader is an individual or firm that is recognized as an authority in their field. Their opinions are sought after and rewarded. They are often asked to speak at public events. What’s more, when someone has established themselves as a thought leader, it is very difficult for competitors to dethrone them.
A thought leadership platform is a vehicle that helps thought leaders grow and promote their ideas and opinions to better establish themselves in their industry. If you are thinking of developing a thought leadership platform, here are the steps that will help you do so effectively.
Collect Contact Info
Just like any campaign, the best way to start your thought leadership platform is to come up with a way to keep in touch with your target audience. You can collect contact info by creating on opt-in page or button on your web site.
However, you don’t want to just ask people to give you their email addresses, you want to give them a reason for providing their email addresses. For instance, providing access to a highly informative resource or article may entice them to provide their contact info.
The opt-on button you provide should be highly visible. For best results, integrate it on several pages of your web site.
For instance, Bright Talk is a great place to host webinars in your area of expertise.
Forbes Councils are invite-only communities that allow you to publish your ideas on CommunityVoice on Forbes.com with a Forbes Council byline. In order to be invited in the group, you must have established yourself as a leader in your field and there is also an annual fee.
Issu.com lets you convert articles into a PDF format so they can be used as newsletters, eBooks and more. Unlike regular PDF’s, Issu.com lets you include links in your content that link to specific pages in the document so you can feature different ideas on every page and send custom links to those that are interested.
Use Multiple Platforms
To get the word out to your target audience, you should be promoting your content across a variety of platforms. Social media is an effective way to share links to your content, start groups and create posts that promote your thoughts and ideas.
Blogs are also quite effective. Thought leaders should be continually creating updated and engaging content that provides innovative ideas.
In addition to having a blog platform on your own web site, you may also want to network with other bloggers to get work published through different channels. This will help you reach new audiences.
And while the internet provides several options for self-promotion, there is still a lot of value in face to face contact. As a thought leader, you must keep yourself visible by networking at public events, giving talks, making speeches and so on.
Send Out Newsletters
Once you have contact information on your target audience, be sure to keep in touch by sending out newsletters on a weekly basis.
A newsletter can consist of repurposed content that you have featured on your other platforms. For instance, you may want to summarize a blog you published on your web site, a podcast or interview you conducted or some other form of media you put out.
Sending out regular newsletters will keep you fresh in the minds of your target audience and provide them with valuable content that let’s them know you are worth their time.
Network with Others
Networking with others is a great way to promote your business and establish yourself as a thought leader.
We already mentioned the value of guest posting on someone else’s blog. If you know of a blogger that works in a similar industry, try reaching out to see if they will consider swapping blogs for a day. Give them an opportunity to write on your blog and see if they will let you write on their blog in return.
You can also reach out to influencers. These are people who have built up followings through social media and other channels and have the power to influence purchasing decisions and public opinion through their authority.
You can reach out to them by sending them sample products, press releases and other pieces of media to see if they will promote you and your products and services.
Press releases can also be sent to PR people in an attempt to get media to promote your platform.
CTA’s, or call to actions are pieces of text that clearly state the intention of your content.
On the surface, your content might serve to bring value to customers, but ultimately, you will want them to repay you for the value you are providing by buying your products or services, subscribing to your newsletter or finding out more about your company.
Whatever the purpose of your content may be, it should be clearly stated in a CTA format. Examples of CTA’s include:
- A question or thought that promotes a conversation in the comments section of your blog, group or forum.
- A link that takes users to another piece of content relevant to your products and services.
- If you are posting in social media or on another platform outside your web site, you can include a link that takes readers to your landing page
- Opt-in pages that can be used to collect contact info
Establishing yourself as a thought leader puts you in a great position to conquer your industry. However, it is not enough to simply put your ideas out there. Ideas must be promoted through a thought leadership platform that helps you reach a greater audience.
What tactics do you use to promote yourself as a thought leader?