In my previous article, I shared three easy steps to start your thought leadership marketing. In summary, I raised the reasons why one should consider thought leadership marketing and how to get it started. I also added that increasingly, thought leadership views are in demand and these experts are sought after by industry peers and media reporters for their valuable insights. In addition, decision-makers and consumers these days tend to lean towards thought leadership as influencers in their buying or executive decision. Amplifying your thought leadership is a great content marketing tool that helps not only to raise your personal brand but also the organisation you represent, as authentic influencers.
The shift from traditional to social media thought leadership.
In the past, traditional media is one of the best mediums to raise thought leadership. If you have a public relations (PR) team, chances are they will be the ones who observe and follow industry influencers or fellow thought leaders’ content and insights on local and international print media and trade magazines. They court media reporters by following the stories they cover, observe the editorial and opinion pages for their insights and readers’ comments and responses. They also take note of insights from industry thought leaders who are quoted in media reports; and leverage on similar news to engage media to get their organisation’s thought leaders featured.
However, with the exponential growth and reliance on digital, social media today has become the platform where thought leaders and influencers ‘hang out’. Social media platforms such as LinkedIn and Twitter are heavyweights with thought leader posts and tweets. They make the perfect and most effective mediums for thought leaders to demonstrate their expertise and encourage direct exchanges between them and their audience as well as offer and exchange insights. Besides engaging with their current community, it also allows them to engage with a new audience, growing their influence, connection, and community. The best part, with social media, their thought leadership views are not only confined to where they are. They can help make an impact to those who resonate with it around the world.
1. Start by creating a professional profile.
With social media, the first thing people notice would be your professional profile. As a thought leader, highlight your expertise area for people to connect with you immediately. On LinkedIn, maximise the About Page to state your experiences so that people can resonate with your niche area. On Twitter, indicate your profession and expertise area as well. For example, suppose you are an accountant with a specialisation in corporate tax. In that case, you might want to include the different topics you can address, where you have been quoted and outcomes on various platforms.
2. Post regularly and often.
Grow your community by providing valuable insights, tips, sharable content, and tweets that can be a resource to those in the industry- including the media. I would like to quote an article by Gary Vaynerchuk on the topic of overnight success. He said, and I quote, “When people tell me I’m “lucky” that I’ve had so much “luck”, I get so frustrated. Luck has nothing to do with it. I worked weekends and holidays every day, starting at fourteen years old, to make this happen. I think back to all the time I put in of real, hard work before I saw any of the benefits.” Like thought leadership or social media marketing, it takes consistent effort to be seen as a true thought leader. Some of the thought leaders I had the privileged of working with in my past organisation took between three to five years to be identified as a credible expert in their field. So, be patient and consistent in building your brand.
3. Repurpose other contents and get new conversations going.
Hinge on other thought leaders views and create a discussion and conversation to get reach and possible media coverage mileage. Look out for content from fellow thought leaders that you can reshare, comment, retweet, and repurpose. There is no harm in sharing other people’s contents (but do credit them), and if you do that, you may just reciprocate that gesture by others. That’s how we grow positively!
4. Create a calendar of contents.
Either you or your PR team can put up content weekly based on a content pillar. Create a calendar of topics and have them scheduled on a social media calendar and pushed out during optimal hours. Curate content that encourages your audience to seek further inputs and engage in a conversation. However, most importantly, once you get engagements, do not forget to engage back! It will not do you any good if you’ ghost’ on those who take the time and effort to engage with you, especially from the media. Don’t lose the opportunity to be featured!
5. Complement your insights with visuals!
Image-centric social media marketing is hot. Marketing trends all point to the increasing use of visuals to complement the content. Social posts, insights, and views accompanied by creative infographics, videos, slides, and images that help interpret your data increase people’s chances of clicking to read or find out more. As a consumer, image-centric posts and content can also make purchase decisions much faster and marketing efforts effective.
6. Network with other influencers, thought leaders, and media reporters.
Besides growing the community with your audience, one other way to raise your thought leadership is through active networking with fellow thought leaders and influencers. Do not let the pandemic and social distancing stop you from growing your influence. Leverage on technology and take part in webinars, zoom calls, podcasts and online interviews. Cross-share and collaborate with fellow thought leaders on the latest insights, current affairs issues, and studies and come online via Facebook LIVE or LIVE shows.
7. Aim towards getting earned media coverage.
As thought leaders, always gear your content marketing towards getting earned media. Identify, read, and follow the reporters who write about your niche. Keep abreast of the latest trends, activities, and breaking news for you to engage with the media. Work closely with your PR team to build relations with them and boost your visibility. Pitch yourself to the media by sharing your views and opinion pieces for their consideration. Consider niche publications for a start to build momentum and get exposure.
Convert thought leadership to leads and new business opportunities.
In today’s age of digital jungle and massive information overload, thought leadership content marketing is one the best way to get new business or career opportunities, build new relations and get media coverage success. Remember that thought leadership content marketing also helps to garner eyeballs, retweets, shares, and downloads if it resonates with the right audience group. The best part is when all these clicks convert to leads and increase your credibility as the best resource to go in the industry. Use your social media channels to your advantage as part of your thought leadership marketing strategy and create valuable conversations today.