Why Thought Leadership Is Important and How to Establish It

Establishing thought leadership can be one of the best ways to increase brand awareness and visibility for your business – especially if you are the CEO, Visionary, or Founder (well, actually, it’s great for employees and teams, too).

By cementing yourself as an expert in your field, you won’t only attract more people who look to you for advice and information, but you’ll also have opportunities to grow your business and your revenue. 

But we’re getting ahead of ourselves…

If you’ve been considering establishing thought leadership in your business, here are a few things that can help you on that journey!

What is thought leadership?

Let’s start with some basics. By establishing yourself as a thought leader within your industry, you’re not only offering advice to your followers: you’re also a hub of information, ideas, and guidance.

Put simply: thought leadership is about helping your community and audience make better decisions, understand situations, and move through life with more knowledge to back up their decisions.

And, although the term miiiiight seem a little “buzzword-y”, thought leadership has become more and more important. Steering away from traditional marketing techniques, businesses and brands now view establishing thought leadership as an essential part of building a community and growing their reputation within certain fields.

How can you be successful at establishing thought leadership?

Establishing thought leadership isn’t something that happens overnight: it takes plenty of time to acquire the knowledge, vision, and support to become a thought leader in any field. 

Thought leaders are in it for the long haul. They’re always looking for more ways to listen to their community, learn from them, and put in some extra effort to become credible sources of information themselves.

Thought leadership vs. influencing

It’s important to highlight that establishing thought leadership isn’t necessarily the same as becoming an influencer. 

Although influencers can make the move from traditional influencing to thought leadership, the main difference lies in their expertise. While thought leaders are meant to be experts in their field, influencers rely on different metrics to do their job.

READ: 3 Ways to Use Marketing to Become a Cultural Ambassador

Tips for future thought leaders

All of this sounds easier said than done, right? Not necessarily! 

Here are a few of our favorite tips to help you get started on the long-term journey towards thought leadership:

  • Find a mentor who can help guide you through the initial steps into thought leadership
  • Network, network, network! Thought leadership is about WHO you know and WHAT you know in equal measure. By meeting more people in your niche, you’ll start to make a name for yourself.
  • Reach out to other thought leaders for possible collaborations. Whether you’re writing a guest post for their blog or hopping on their podcast as a guest, it’s important to grow your audience and reach.

3 reasons why establishing thought leadership is important

Thought leadership is the way forward if you run a business or brand that hopes to create impact and generate positive change within the community. 

Through sharing knowledge, expertise, and their opinions on certain situations, thought leaders become culture-makers and shifters – presenting different perspectives and ideas to their community. Thought leadership comes with power and this can look like making an impact in someone’s life to help them understand different situations, topics, and ideas to make smarter decisions based on their own values and beliefs. 

Long gone are the days of following snake oil salesmen: audiences crave authenticity, genuine interest, and transparency. And thought leaders are here to provide exactly that.

So, why should you consider a move to thought leadership? Here are three of our top reasons…

1. It helps build trust within your audience

One of the most important things you can achieve by establishing thought leadership is trust. Through trust, you can also build credibility and authority – especially when you niche down.

As a thought leader, people within your community trust you and are eager to listen to you. Plus, they also believe you have their best interest at heart.

By creating trust, people will be more interested in what you have to say and the content that you’re producing. They’ll also be more likely to choose you over other businesses/brands who might work in the same industry.

What’s one way to start building a trustworthy relationship? By giving your audience something of value…

2. It adds value to your customer’s day

One of the most important roles of a thought leader is to provide their audience with the answers that they’re looking for, or at least ideas and thoughts to think about (we’re not all perfect and we won’t have the answers to everything – hah!).

After all, people come to thought leaders because they’re interested in hearing what the person has to say and the way they explain or share certain topics and ideas. Not only that, they’re also hoping that thought leaders will provide unique insights and possible solutions to current situations.

READ: How Purpose-Driven Brands Can Share Their Impact on Social Media

By adding value to your audience’s day, you’ll also be directly responsible for helping them on their own path to success – something they’ll be thankful for. This way, people will also start thinking of you as a mentor they can turn to, someone they can rely on, and someone who’s equally invested in their triumphs.

Sharing high-quality and valuable insights creates a rapport between you and your audience – which leads to brand awareness, business growth, and new opportunities. This can be applied to team members, as well, as creating a better hiring environment and company culture!

So, what’s one way to add value to your audience’s day? By creating great content!

3. It helps you create better content

Listen, we get it: content creation can be tough. It’s also not something that comes naturally to everyone.

Thankfully, thought leadership offers a ton of different opportunities for you – as a brand or business owner – to continuously generate well-planned out content without scrambling for tons of ideas.

BOOM! Content marketing strategy: sorted 😉😉

As an expert in your niche, your job as a thought leader is to share the wealth of knowledge that you’ve accumulated over the years – your lived experiences, culture, identities, stories, and more. But this isn’t about just sharing that information – thought leadership uses a special kind of storytelling!

What are a few different ways to make this happen?

  • Sharing infographics that are easy to understand or share
  • Hosting an online “debate” with other thought leaders in your field
  • Writing blog posts that are more in-depth, but still, help simplify certain concepts
  • Collaborating with other content creators to spread your message
  • Filming a video series that educates the audience and provides your unique insight
  • Starting – or participating – in a podcast to share your message to different types of audiences
  • And many, many more!

TL;DR: “Establishing thought leadership is essential to brand awareness…”

Overall, becoming a thought leader in your niche can be an incredible experience that will help you strengthen your connection to your community, create positive impact, and unleash change.

Plus, it can also help grow your business and increase your revenue. It’s a win-win for everyone!

When it comes to establishing thought leadership, it’s undeniable that…
1. It helps build trust within your audience
2. It adds value to your customer’s day
3. It helps you create better content

And, while thought leadership isn’t always for everyone, we believe that the only way to know is by trying it out for yourself! 

With the knowledge, the desire to create change, and the power of marketing behind you, thought leadership can be the next step to help grow your career and online presence while creating deeper impact within your community.

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