Why Employee Thought Leadership Can Help Your Marketing

Thought leadership is often thought of as a one-person endeavor, but really it requires team effort if you’re taking on this marketing strategy for your company. It takes thoughtful strategies to effectively establish yourself as a thought leader – and even more intention to create a community around the topics that matter to you most.

However, there’s really no denying that thought leadership marketing is a powerful and effective way of helping your brand stand out from the noise.

Whether you’re the Founder of your brand, or part of the team that is there to support the vision, thought leadership marketing is all about positioning the business as a go-to expert in a specific field.

Now, we’ve already discussed the importance of thought leadership as a CEO or Founder… but what happens when you – a leader – works to rally your employees so they, too, become thought leaders of their own?

Here’s a look at how employee thought leadership can help your marketing strategy, and what you can do to set that in motion.

Why is thought leadership marketing important?

Let’s face it: customers prefer to buy from a brand or business that’s considered an expert in its field.

Why? Because they feel more confident that the product or service will be more effective and bring the results they’re looking for.

No one wants to buy from a brand that doesn’t feel trustworthy, honest, or knowledgeable… and that’s where thought leadership marketing comes in.

With tought leadership marketing, you’re not just pushing to make a sale: you’re creating an idea around your brand and business. What idea is that? That you’re an expert, that you deliver on your promise, that you can “walk the talk”, etc.

Additionally, thought leadership marketing is also about creating community; because without a community to vouch for you and your business – you’re more than likely not to be taken seriously, and people would easily choose someone else over you.

That’s where employee advocacy and thought leadership comes in.

The ins and outs of employee thought leadership

No one knows a brand better than its employees – fact.

After all, it’s usually employees who, after a while of working for the brand/business, eventually become the face and soul of the company they work for: they advocate for it, they keep it growing through word of mouth, they make it feel more “human”, and they feel passionate about its goals, mission, and vision.

And, while as a founder or CEO, thought leadership is mostly about showcasing your expertise as “the brand”, employee thought leadership finds a home in one key element of growing a business: brand awareness – either for direct sales or recruitment.

READ: How to Use Brand Message Strategy With Thought Leadership

When employees from a brand or business start to show up – online and offline – as thought leaders in a certain industry or field… they’re also bringing the brand they work for with them.

This not only increases the visibility of your brand, but it also helps you reach a wider audience of people (aka potential customers or employees) who might not have found you if it weren’t through your employees.

Three ways employee advocacy and thought leadership can help your marketing

When it comes to employee advocacy and thought leadership, there are three main points to keep in mind as to how it can be embedded into your marketing strategy.

01. Employees add a touch of “realness” to the brand/business

Forget robot-sounding content that feels inauthentic because it’s coming directly from the brand!

By encouraging thought leadership with your employees, you’ll soon find that they can also work as a buffer between what you want to say and how you say it. 

Employees have a real understanding of how the company works, what it’s like to be part of this brand, and the ins and outs of how the brand is carrying out its mission. 

This means that they’ll be able to speak “for the brand” in their own unique, human, and even relatable way. And by letting their voice shine through, you’ll be promoting the idea that your brand/business isn’t just some faceless out-of-reach name with a pretty logo.

02. Employees are a reflection of the company’s industry knowledge

Let’s be honest for a second: you’re (more than likely) hiring your team based on the knowledge and support they can bring to the table.

That said, employee thought leadership marketing is a fantastic way to showcase that you and your business actually… know your sh*t.

If your employees are showing up online (and offline!) to openly discuss industry topics and teach others about the work they do, it’ll be a lot easier to cement your brand as an expert in its field because the public will soon start to realize that everyone who works there is knowledgeable – and they’ve got the ideas, words, and content to prove it.

Plus, you can rest assured that your employees will be doing a great job at showcasing their and the company’s knowledge accurately because they’re already clear on everything related to the brand message: and this is where true connection is born!

READ: 3 Thought Leadership Examples to Avoid Being a “Bro”

03. Employees interact with customers the most — and they understand each other

While, as a founder or CEO, you’re responsible for an array of tasks and responsibilities, it’s not uncommon for employees to be on the frontlines when it comes to interacting with your customers (or potential recruitees) on a daily basis.

With this in mind, the relationship between employees and your audience is, in some cases, a lot stronger than your relationship with them. This is especially true in larger companies where the CEO or founder is rarely seen directly communicating with the audience on a 1-on-1 basis.

This is one of the reasons why employee thought leadership content performs so well with audiences: it’s a much more relatable and personal experience when you see someone who’s “just like you” delivering truth bombs and sharing a wealth of information outside of the classic company channels.

How to encourage employee thought leadership in your marketing

Employee thought leadership isn’t something that can be forced – otherwise, it just starts to feel fake. And, trust us, customers will smell riiiiiight through the BS in these cases.

However, there are different ways to encourage employees to become thought leaders without pushing them into something they’re not comfortable with.

A few of these include…
+ Offer an opt-in program for employees who are interested in creating thought leadership content
+ Decide on incentives that might nudge people in the right direction (these can be monetary or not)
+ Discuss the benefits of thought leadership such as growing their network, new professional opportunities, etc.

READ: LinkedIn vs. Instagram, Wich Platform Is Better For Thought Leadership?

When it comes to employee thought leadership marketing, the most important thing is making sure your employees feel comfortable with the more “active” and “visual” role they’re about to take on.

TL;DR: an effective marketing strategy involves employee thought leadership

When it comes to putting together a strong marketing strategy, employee thought leadership and advocacy is one of the most powerful ways to continue to grow your business (through sales and recruitment) as you relate to more folx out there.

But thought leadership shouldn’t just be about making a sale or getting people to sign up for something, it’s about creating a community built upon trust.

Here are three ways that employee thought leadership can help you do just that:
01. Employees add a touch of “realness” to the brand/business
02. Employees are a reflection of the company’s industry knowledge
03. Employees interact with customers and potential recruitees the most — and they understand each other

By rallying employees to start showing up as thought leaders outside of the brand/business, you’ll be expanding your reach, increasing your awareness, and even adding a unique touch that customers and future employees can directly relate to.

Do you have an employee thought leadership marketing strategy in place? What does it look like and how do you encourage your employees to keep staring? Let us know in the comments!

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