Name an industry thought leader. Likely, certain people immediately come to mind. Would you expect the people in the industry you serve to consider you a thought leader?
It does not happen overnight or by accident. Recognition as an industry thought leader is developed over time with consistent effort and dedicated resources. You have to make a constant effort and follow a well-developed plan to get you there.
One secret to attaining industry thought leadership status is writing like a thought leader. The new engagement model perpetuated by a social media-centric market is one that rewards prolific and quality content.
Our staff of marketing and content development experts makes the following recommendations:
Showcase Your Specializations
Define your particular niche and area of expertise and make this the focus of your blogs, social media posts, e-books, and whitepapers. Think of yourself as the subject expert for this niche and write from that standpoint. It helps to participate in industry events, take advantage of speaking opportunities, and to post on social media often on behalf of your company. Make your persona synonymous with your niche. Write to inform and educate. Be a resource and give advice and comments freely.
Don’t make your products or services the main subject of your content. Save that for your product brochures. It’s okay to reference your company but don’t make it the main topic of your content.
Know What Your Audience Knows
Do you know the lingo the industry uses? Get to know who you are talking to and start with their pain points. Every industry has them. It could be frustration with credit card processing, or managing inventory, or perhaps aging technology and trends. Also have a clear understanding of how they describe your product and refer to your company. A great thought leader gets inside the mind of their audience and thinks from their point of view.
Be Consistent with Content
You can’t develop a reputation as an industry thought leader without cultivating an online presence. It’s time to get active on LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, etc. on a weekly basis, and contributing regularly to your blog.
Work smart to save time. Try using “listicle” articles such this article “4 Ways to Write Like an Industry Thought Leader.” Humans are drawn to organization and structure. Take advantage of bullet points and section headers to break up long blocks of text. Especially for key take-away points like this for people who merely skim, rather than read:
- Use the blog as the jumping off point for your content and then take that messaging across all the social medias. It’s okay to repeat yourself, just reword and resend.
- You don’t have to churn out a 3,000 word essay to get your point across. Most blogs are around 500 words. Anything longer than that and you are going to lose readers and attention spans about halfway through.
Make a Long Term Commitment to Industry Thought Leadership
Block off an hour on your calendar to dedicate to content planning for the next quarter. You’re your topics and then write a rough outline for each topic. Remember to stick to a single idea for each blog. Planning ahead goes a long way in helping you flesh out ideas and to holding you accountable to a publication schedule.
Your work will be rewarded with more social media follows and engagement, more traffic to your website, and more recognition. Your experience working with businesses in your industry uniquely positions you to share your thoughts, ideas, concerns, and analysis of industry challenges and trends. And sharing this information will let your customers and prospects know you care about their business success — and that you are someone they should call for help when they need a trusted business partner.