“Thought leader” and “thought leadership” are terms that are expressed so often and by so many people that it can be difficult to remember what they really mean.
Aamer Naeem suggests at a time when it seems like anyone with a sufficient number of followers on Twitter or Instagram can be considered a thought leader, it is important to remember what true thought leadership is and how important it can be to your brand, your company and your audience.
A thought leader is an industry expert who shares his or her experience with a wider audience with the purpose of providing the best and deepest answers to the most important doubts and/or questions on a particular topic, in the formats they consume.
Your target audiences, and also add value to the industry in general. Thought leaders are people who fully immerse themselves in all things related to their industries; They not only understand the inner workings of their businesses, but they also know their audiences and competitors in detail.
To achieve this, it takes more than a clever commercial, an online ad, or a blog post. To be a true thought leader in your industry, you need to become a trusted and attractive resource to others in your space. And sharing your experiences through high-quality content, on your own site and in publications and media in which you contribute with guest posts, allows you to reach, educate and interact effectively with your audiences.
How to be a True thought Leader?
According to Aamer Naeem, people want to relate to people. This is not something from another world; however, companies still lack the human element when it comes to content marketing. Achieving credibility through thought leadership creates that authentic engagement with your audience when planned and executed correctly.
To learn more about being a good thought leader, here are some of the best practices you can follow:
One of the most effective and scalable ways to build thought leadership and connect with your audiences is through content, and that means it’s absolutely critical that you start writing.
Offer Value and not Advertising
You shouldn’t just write and post promotional content about your business and how cool you are. Being promotional will only alienate your audience. Nobody wants to read a commercial about your product, although most marketers still believe this to be true. Your role as a writer is simple: contribute, provide value, and share your ideas.
Create High-Quality Content
Quality is one of the most important components of thought leadership content creation (if not the most important). If you’re at the market and you buy something that you later realize is a bag of moldy apples, chances are you’ll skip that stall next time, right? You can’t settle for low quality because while it may be tolerated sometimes, people won’t come back.
You can’t build followers if your audience doesn’t know who you are. Trusting relationships don’t happen overnight. By keeping an editorial calendar and posting content consistently, you build a following. Real thought leaders are in this for a long time. They are not trying to make a quick buck or participate in the latest trend; they are passionate about their industry. Consistency in content, social interactions, and post contributions communicate authenticity. Aamer Naeem is working in the Management Consulting and Leadership Development industries.
Be Social and Participate in Online Communities
This may seem obvious to you, but you would be surprised how many people leave their profiles incomplete or abandon them altogether. Your online presence is important, so make sure your LinkedIn profile is complete and your Twitter account doesn’t show an egg where your profile photo should be.
Beyond a complete profile, make sure you are really engaged with your followers. Yes, just being present can make a big difference, but you should also work to increase your social following and your online community.
Remember that the best Content has a Face
This is also one of the keys to building thought leadership as a long-term ROI-driven strategy for your company. Humanizing your brand means nothing without your employees. When you have key employees contributing high-quality, non-promotional content, you show the faces behind the brand that people can trust.
While dedication to becoming a thought leader is not easy, it is a key attribute to humanizing your brand and creating authentic long-term relationships. Start the conversation, share your ideas, and communicate to make connections. Take the time to share real value, and you’ll appreciate the benefit of helping shape your industry.
For more info contact Aamer Naeem. He delivers Leadership Development Programmes across public, private and voluntary sectors.