Thought leadership as a concept originated from the C-suite and the halls of some of the biggest companies in the world. And if you want to become a Thought Leader, it’s certainly an involved process.
Barriers to Being a Thought Leader
The road to being a thought leader can be a rough one, and one of the key issues here is the basic principle of return on investment. With something like a basic email marketing campaign, your end game is going to be pretty clear. You send out a set of emails that have a link to your landing page or e-commerce page, and you can chart your conversions to see how well you are doing. However, thought leadership is more of a long-term gain. You may need to put in months of effort before you can reach the point that you can say that your efforts are bearing fruit. This means putting in a lot of time and money upfront before reaping your investment.
Your second biggest issue when it comes to being a thought leader is competition in the niche. There are a lot of people who see the benefits of thought leadership, and you need to find a way for your content to stand apart. This can be done by either having a unique viewpoint or using different channels that competition hasn’t touched yet.
The Keys to Becoming an Effective Thought Leader
So what does all this mean in terms of being an effective thought leader? It means that there are three main elements that are going to go into thought leadership.
Thought leadership marketing is not the type of marketing that should be used for a person desperate to get their business off the ground. It takes time to establish trust, so you may want to focus on other methods while you try to grow.
Note that it’s not necessarily about being the greatest public speaker on earth. However, as some point, a leader needs to infuse their own personality into their content in order to stand apart. Otherwise, they are more of a reference source than a thought leader.
Remember, a good thought leader should be about helping people to an extent. A key goal should be elevating people in your niche with your knowledge.
Ways to Use PR to Become a Thought Leader
When it comes to thought leadership strategies, many people go through the effort to put together the concepts, but a lot of the time, the hardest part is going to be putting them into action. Creating a thought leader from point zero requires a lot of work, including:
- Figuring out who the person at your company is that is going to have this designation
- Creating a timeline of content to be put out by said person or ghostwritten under their name
- Promoting said content
- Promoting the thought leader for outreach opportunities
On top of all this, thought leadership marketing won’t replace your conventional marketing methods overnight. So, this suddenly leaves a whole set of new tasks for a team that may already be stretched thin. One way to get around this is through using PR in your thought leadership strategies.
Incorporating Press Outreach into Your Thought Leadership Strategies
People in business are well aware of the power of the press, but what they may not know is how to spin its power to their benefit. When it comes to thought leadership, one of the biggest things you are trying to do is build up credibility for your brand and the thought leader themselves. One of the easiest ways to do this is to attach a name and wisdom to an established publication. You don’t have to be a writer to do this, either.
For one thing, journalists of all kinds are always looking for expert sources and quotes to add depth to their content. What PR can do is put your thought leader into this pipeline, getting their name out and instantly associating them with credible sources of information.
One area where people may find trouble, though, is getting their voices heard in a crowded journalist’s inbox. This is where it may help to try and work with outside PR companies, as they may already have an “in” with potential journalists, even if it’s a simple as a database of up-to-date contact info.
Incorporating Guest Blogging into Your Thought Leadership Strategies
Press outreach is great for thought leadership in terms of increasing credibility, but the ultimate goal is to get more people interested in your content and websites directly. In this case, you may want to try and incorporate guest blogging into your thought leadership strategy. The basic principles are very similar—pitching an idea to a journalist and writing content to appear on their site. However, many of these arrangements will also allow you to put a backlink on the post, raising your ranking and potentially your traffic. With guest posts, though, you need to make sure that you are not only coming up with effective and interesting content but also pitching sites and publications that are a good match with your target audience.
One final thing that bears mentioning about PR and your thought leadership strategies is that while it is an essential component of getting your name and content out there, it’s not the only part. For one thing, you may want to diversify your reach by using content outside of guest posts or press outreach. Our full guide on How To Become A Thought Leader will help you with some of these alternative tactics, as well as the full way to leverage PR into your thought leadership strategies.