When considering your business’ brand, reputation, and influence, one marketing tactic that cannot be overlooked is developing a solid thought leadership strategy for your senior leaders.
Thought leaders are individuals in their field who give their opinions and explore topics within their niche industry to inspire and inform their network. They are seen as the go-to source for information and expertise about their particular subject, and their influence and reputation, in turn, boosts the reputation and awareness of their business as a whole.
But, a good thought leadership strategy can take a lot of time and effort to craft, especially if you need the infrastructure to support it within your firm, and the senior team are inevitably very busy with the ‘day job’.
So, why not use what you do have at your disposal, your professional network?
Most business leaders have a ‘black book’ bursting at the seams or LinkedIn connections in the thousands, and within these are most likely going to be some incredible opportunities for amplifying thought leadership content.
Establish your niche
While it might be tempting to give your opinion on everything and anything in order to keep your name front of mind, this can quickly dilute your message and lose any weight your opinion holds. To maximise the time and effort put into your thought leadership strategy, pick a specific topic that you specialise in, be it copyright law, inheritance tax, or investment fraud, for example – and focus your content on that.
By picking a niche and giving quality, experience-backed opinions, you can steadily build a reputation by commenting on topics you have a deep understanding of. And gradually, your connections and professional network will come to your name first whenever they seek an expert in your field.
Some cost-effective, low-effort ways you can share your content and establish yourself as an expert in your field include:
- Blogging – we have discussed the benefits of a blog strategy on our blog
- Long-form social media posts, such as on LinkedIn
- Short videos shared across your social media channels (no need for fancy tech; use your smartphone – it adds to the authenticity)
Use trending news topics, pop culture references, and comment on other thought leaders’ content to make yours relatable, authentic, relevant, and engaging for your target audience. Using low-cost tactics such as these, you can build your reputation as the go-to person to include if readers, listeners, or viewers want the best take on your topic.
Top tip: make sure your thought leadership content provides value for your audience, ‘it’s not about self-promotion, it’s about creating value for others’ and offering insightful information or solutions to problems that you are an expert in.
Utilise your network
Once you have established yourself, it's time to get that little black book or scroll through your LinkedIn connections and identify potential collaborators to amplify your thought leadership content even further.
Looking for non-competing connections with the same agenda and an established following of their own is a great start, especially if they are regularly sharing thought leadership content. For example, if you aim to establish yourself as a thought leader in property law, collaborating with a thought leader in the surveying industry or a financial adviser would be a great way to create added-value content that appeals to both of your audiences. This approach also allows both parties to tap into the other's existing following and amplifies both of your messages to a new, captive and industry-relevant audience – generating almost a ‘halo effect’.
Use your existing connections to also look for opportunities to share your content on a new platform or in a new format:
- Do you have any connections who regularly organise or attend relevant industry events? Could you provide value by filling a speaking slot or sitting on an expert panel?
- Do any of your connections host a relevant podcast? Could you appear as a guest?
- Do you know anyone who hosts a regular webinar series? How could your thought leadership content add value to that?
- Do any of your connections have a strong Instagram following that could work for your industry? Could you consider Collaborative Posts or a story ‘takeover’?
- Is anyone in your network looking to write a white paper or an e-book that could benefit from a perspective from your industry?
Running events or producing a podcast is a project that takes a lot of time, effort, and financial resource, so piggybacking off an established platform with a well-known format will save you both time and money in the long run.
And it is not purely selfish; event managers, podcasters, and content creators are always looking for 'fresh perspectives’, new ideas, and exciting guests, so by proactively providing them with your thought leadership content, you're saving them a job, too. It's a win-win!
Share your story
Appearing on a podcast, panel, or webinar is just the start when it comes to getting your name and opinion in front of a new audience; this type of content is highly clip-able, reusable, and shareable!
Once the content is live, make sure to share it with your network, tag the collaborators and other guests, and comment on the organisers’ posts. All of this activity will ensure that there is both a flurry of activity around your specific appearance and that when the other attendees and the organiser reciprocate and tag you in their posts or mention your name, you are getting in front of their audience.
And don't just share it once unless the content is particularly 'of the moment'; you can keep repurposing clips or details of your appearance as regular proof of your reputation as a thought leader in your space.
Top tip: always tag your collaborators when sharing any thought leadership content you’ve been part of on social media, even if you’re repurposing an old clip. If they choose to share it, then this puts your name right back at the top of their followers’ feeds.
Boost your SEO
Back in March, we covered how vital curating trustworthy 'backlinks' from third-party sites can be for your Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) strategy. While thought leadership is not an SEO strategy, it can definitely be used as an adjunct to bolster your existing efforts.
If you ensure as part of your appearance that any event brochure, podcast description, or whitepaper includes a link to your firm's website, this will signal to the search engines that your site is reputable and contains high-quality content, which will, in turn, boost your site's rank. This is particularly useful if the site with the backlink already has a strong search engine authority of its own.
Think outside the box
Developing a solid thought leadership profile does not have to take a significant amount of financial resource if you can spot relevant industry collaborators whose platforms you can utilise to amplify your message for your mutual benefit. And at Cal Partners, we can help you with that strategy.
We have a track record of supporting our clients across a range of industries to develop their thought leadership content and identify opportunities to broadcast it, including panel sessions, speaker slots at live events, podcast appearances, webinar appearances, and much more.
Get in touch today to find out how we can work with you to boost your marketing efforts.
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