With more than 4.4 million new businesses created in the U.S. since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, it’s important for entrepreneurs to stand out amongst competition by staying relevant, staying vocal and staying at top of mind. As business markets continue to saturate, business owners must prioritize brand awareness and raise their profile as a trusted industry authority to prevent being overlooked by consumers, media and stakeholders. This can be achieved by becoming a thought leader, which is someone who is highly regarded in their field for their expertise, new ideas and innovations that they bring to the industry.
As an industry thought leader you can:
Establish trust with potential customers by speaking authoritatively on a topics they’re invested in;
Increase exposure with opportunities to share your point of view on podcasts, at events and through broadcast, print and online media;
Increase your audience reach;
Improve your SEO; and
Improve your lead generation by building organic website traffic that drives your audience and boost sales
Getting to this point doesn’t happen overnight but it can be accomplished with diligent attention to elevating your business and personal brand. Read on for tips that our PR agency uses to position ourselves and our clients as thought leaders.
Find your niche
For maximum effect, thought leadership works best when focused on a specific topic that isn’t already occupied by too many experts who claim the same experience. What topics within your industry are you particularly passionate about? Where can you insert your thoughts to become the go-to source for consumers, journalists and investors? What areas could you write or speak on for years and years? Lastly, what areas of passion are most important or interesting to your audience? These are your potential niches.
Gain a strong social media presence
Social media offers the most direct access to your consumers on the internet. Your followers are craving authentic, organic content that sets you apart from the rest. With that content, you’ll want to be your best self, be compelling and be authoritative. It’s also important to diversify your content across platforms. Snapchat is great for connecting with people in your personal network but it probably won’t position you as a thought leader. However, Instagram stories about your thoughts on trending innovations, blogs on what you’re currently working on and LinkedIn posts sharing your opinions on how your industry is changing will. Lastly, regular engagement is key. Remember: if you’re not speaking, they’re not listening.
Join forums and online communities
A great way to begin participating in forums and online communities is to select a small batch of forums relevant to your business and actively participate. These community members should be your bread and butter. With hard work, they should know you by first name and should look forward to hearing your insights and expertise. With these new strong relationships, you’ll open yourself and your business to a variety of media opportunities and business connections. Additionally, these comments and shares can make your business relevant and generate traffic to your site, thus boosting your SEO ranking and enhancing your personal brand.
Network, Network, Network!
This tip is the most important. Without an audience to lead, there can be no leadership. To become a thought leader, you must have followers to lead. However, your followers must be willing to lead; this requires building influence in your relevant communities, both online, locally and nationally. This shouldn’t be confused with or tied to simply social networking; a quality network is built from attending in-person events, registering for seminars, hosting luncheons, joining charity organizations, and connecting with professionals who have been where you want to be. If you’re the smartest person in the room, you’ve got more networking to do!
Becoming a thought leader requires you to step out of your comfort zone and put yourself out there, which is often the hardest part. It takes time, constant effort and precise strategy and planning. The good news? We can help! We position our clients as experts in their industry by inserting them in media stories, profile features and by nominating them for community and industry awards. If you’d like to hear how we can ignite your brand, book your complimentary consultation here.