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The answer to the question, what is thought leadership (?) is that it is a type of content marketing strategy where an individual or group is acknowledged for their expertise and proficiency.
It seems like just another word in the corporate dictionary but its meaning is relevant individually as well as collectively on the business level.
A thought leader has to have a strong point of view regarding his or her topic and should provide guidance and insight to the person around them.
So, in a nutshell, we can say three things about what is thought leadership? it is someone who needs to have a positive, conclusive, and impactful influence on others with their knowledge.
What is Thought Leadership: All you Need to Know about it
Thought leader’s Influence on People:-
A person or society as a whole can get highly influenced by those trusted thought leaders, their creativity and techniques could be the inspiration for others.
Let’s take an example of a thought leader ‘Simon Sinek’ and what is thought leadership? according to him, Simon Sinek is both an author and a motivational speaker. He is the 3rd most-watched ted talks speaker.
He has a goal to influence people to wake up each day feeling inspired, motivated, and feel gratified at the end of their day.
Leadership is not a rank it’s a choice, says Sinek in one of his ted talk. Whoever is working in a firm or company can be a leader, “It’s choosing to look out for the person on your left and to look out for the person in your right”.
As quoted by Simon Sinek “The role of a leader is not come up with all the great ideas. The role of a leader is to create an environment in which great ideas can happen”, this the most suitable way in which a thought leader can be influential.
By creating an influential as well as creative environment thought leaders are all set for a huge influence on people around them.
The Ultimate Guide to Being a Trusted Thought Leader:-
Nowadays everyone wants to know about each other to keep exploring different ideas and mindsets. This is not a big issue.
Even though connecting with people is effective and making them understand what is thought leadership? It’s easy, yet organizations are lacking human constituents when it is about their content marketing.
Building reliability and authenticity via industry thought leadership creates a genuine meeting with your audience when organizing wisely and executed appropriately in the long run.
Now you understand what leadership is, let me shed light on the tips and tricks of being an authentic thought leader? They are as follows-
- Be familiar with your audience – the most important thing is to know your audience’s requirements and who they really are, it’s pivotal for marketing activity. If it’s not implemented to the correct and right audience then the content is worthless. When we are talking about thought leadership one should know their audience hence it comes before writing.
- Indulge in writing – it’s one of the most productive ways to jot down your content strategies and your plan. One can not remember everything they have in their minds.
- Clarify your area of expertise – don’t cover every area in your field instead of stick to one specific area. A true thought leader knows in which field they exactly want to invest their time and energy. By creating a niche ( specific area of interest) you are building credibility in not only your brand but also in your field.
- Adhere to your niche – thought leaders must stick on to their niche, I mean What is Thought Leadership without consistency.
- Keep building your knowledge about your industry – with time every industry evolves at a different pace. As a true thought leader, you have to be aware of what’s happening in your industry. Be up-to-date.
- Listen to and surround yourself with others- a thought leader listen and surround themselves with others in the industry to know about each other stories.
- Authenticity is your knight in shining armor – always be true to yourself and your audience digitally, honest content will drag to your website, they just authentic content and no click-bait. If there’s a sensational topic in your content then also the audience will lose interest in your content. Constancy is the key to a true thought leader.
- Set up your blog and website on social media – engagement with people can only happen you as a thought leader know how to build a great content website. Irrespective of where you are publishing your content make sure you are neither exaggerating nor compressing the content.
- Remain consistent – if you want your audience to believe in your content then you need to be consistent with your publishing aspects.
- Don’t give the upper hand on the promotions – last but not least, it’s true because people will lose interest in your content. Readers believe in credibility and people are more skeptical about the digital world, so just provide them genuine content. Once they sniff out that you are an authentic thought leader they will revisit your site.
These are my ‘top ten strategies of thought leadership’ that are effective and will help you achieve the aim of being a true thought leader if implemented wisely and thoroughly.
Different Variety of Content Well-known Thought Leaders Write:-
Always remember “content is the king” so work on it. Focus on widely read and circulated content, hot topic should always be a thought leader’s cup of tea.
Below are the three exemplar thought leader’s niche-
- Dave Ramsey- a finance expert, he holds a degree in Finance and Real Estate, and he is well known for his guidance to people on settling-off their mortgage. Ramsey set-off as a thought leader when his ultimate goal is to continuously indulge in producing content in the ‘finance’ industry, including writing books, hosting a radio show, and podcasting. He posts content that has a variety of topics related to finance/money-handling, such as ‘Don’t Play the Student Loan Forgiveness Lottery’ etc.
- Marie Forelo- a writer, orator, and life coach she is one of my absolute favorite thought leaders. The reason behind my fondness for Marie Forelo is because she vocalizes for day to day life difficulties and how to deal with them. She runs a youtube channel where she hosts her show related to ‘life-lessons’. Moreover, she teaches and sells her online courses specializing in copywriting. Due to her expertise in business coaching, she became a thought leader.
- Oprah Winfrey- a notable media person, the talk show host, given a speech at the prominent institution ‘USC Annenberg School for Communication’ and Journalism commencement ceremony in 2018. As a prominent journalist, she takes her time out to speak on the part journalists play in today’s era. She earns the title of a thought leader because of her pivotal role in the media industry and her expertise in this field.
All three eminent thought leaders are the perfect example of selecting your niche as you have read that these three have their own area of expertise, they just find their calling and make us understand What is Thought Leadership.
Tips on Writing Riveting Thought Leadership Articles:-
- Emphasize what you know- it is vital to concentrate on industry topics and matter that you are well aware of. Technically one can’t write or comment on unfamiliar topics because if you do then there are chances of you failing as a thought leader.
- Address pragmatic business problems- to be valuable, your thought leadership article should address the business problems hands-on along with the proper solution. Your article’s most important element should be ‘why your solution is better than others in the market’.
- Research properly about the topic- I cannot emphasize more on this point. This field is not a monopoly, there are numerous people out there who write the same niche. Research, read, and then write, especially grab an article from mainstream business or technology media outfits. The more you research the more you’ll understand.
- Validate your article with facts and data- not a single article will be read without a proper fact check. Authenticity and credibility is the key to the success of an article in thought leadership. Surveys, case studies will keep your readers hooked.
- Include storytelling- let’s accept it, everyone loves, to read real-life stories in the articles. Sometimes people connect with the stories a thought leader writes. Storytelling energizes the piece of the article. What is Thought Leadership without a real story? well lifeless.
- Don’t exaggerate and hype – never repeat and make your point of view without any exaggeration. Over-writing and hyping your own company or brand makes your readers bore, they will instantly jump to another article in seconds.
Writing riveting articles specifically leadership articles can be lingering and strenuous. However, it’s worth it as you make-up your audience and clouts your articles to expand your business.
What if Leadership is in a Crisis-
I have sum-up everything till now from What is Thought Leadership, to, thought leaders strategies on how to choose your niche, and how to write riveting articles. Sometimes leaders also go through the crisis but they manage it in many ways.
Some great lessons on managing the phase of crisis leaders go through are as follows as mentioned in the Wall Street Journal–
- Leaders must accept the reality- a true leader should face the reality in times of crisis, what led them into crisis is the first acceptance and if you want to know the reason behind the crisis then truth shall prevail in the organization. Leaders cannot win through the crisis without knowing the whole truth.
- Things will get worse- leaders constantly think that things will improve but no matter how bad things are they will get worse. The constant urge to believe things will improve led them to implement less powerful strategies that are not fruitful.
- Talk with others- in times of crisis leaders isolate themselves they think that no one can help them. In reality, if you bring people in confidence and ask people for help then who knows you will be free from the crisis.
- Always be ready to sacrifice yourself- there are many sacrifices which you will have to make. Leaders are always on the radar of the people they want to know what’s your next move in times of crisis. People will see if a leader will make short-term sacrifices or not to fix the long-term issue.
- Grasp the good crisis- when everything is going as per the leaders, they try not to make changes. The very idea of change haunts leaders but no that’s far from the truth make that major change. A crisis will knowingly and unknowingly make you change so why not implement those changes when things are right.
- Show zeal in the marketplace- it sounds implausible, but What is Thought Leadership without changes in crisis times, a crisis will eventually be a game-changer for you, you can gain market share with new product and services. Don’t wait for the marketplace to change things instead be the change.
Make sure to focus on these lessons when going through any kind of crisis. These will give a true thought leader guidance and act as self-help tips in times of crisis.
Five qualities of a True Thought Leader:-
Since it’s clear What is Thought Leadership as a whole, let us focus on a true thought leader’s qualities.
- A self-aware leader is always everyone’s ideal, make sure you are aware of yourself.
- Acknowledge others’ issue, don’t just speak but listen as well.
- Be honest with your writing and content, credibility is beneficial in the long run.
- Be innovative, innovation attracts an audience.
- Make complex situations easily understandable to others.
- Creativity and flexibility should always go hand in hand.
- Take risk hands-on.
- Transparency will make a visionary thought leader more interesting to listen to.
Thought leadership is about determination, creativity, passion, hard work, smart work, presenting your content, and being consistent in the area of expertise. Make yourself aware and keep building your knowledge to touch the heights as a thought leader. For more in-depth clarification on What is Thought Leadership, visit business and leadership Seth Godin’s blog.
About the author
A DU graduate who is working on her writing, capturing, and researching skills. I can read up to 30 books (if its's fiction) in a year. According to me, art in any form is an exquisite way to express itself.