Blog: Digital Strategy

Take the Step from Passive to Active Thought Leadership

Posted by in Digital Strategy on Friday, July 5, 2013

Digital Strategy

It’s one of the golden rules of online marketing: Establish yourself as a thought leader in your niche. With so much content being produced on a daily basis, it’s inevitable that a few essential “best practices” tend to get repurposed and repackaged over and over.

How then, do you establish yourself as a leader in your field, when most of the so-called “experts” are saying the same things across every online platform? The answer lies in becoming active in your thought leadership approach. Specifically, it’s the ability to demonstrate your expertise in a way that is unique, accurate, and quotable by others in the field.

With that in mind, here are our top four recommendations for becoming an active thought leader and a “doer” within your field.

Conduct Research & Share Reports

Everyone loves to quote statistics, and those numbers have to come from somewhere. If you have a sizable number of clients, web traffic, or other actionable data, you can put it to good use by crafting insightful reports.

Even if you don’t have data on hand, you can put together a questionnaire that will allow you to gather data that is relevant to your niche. Remember, the best reports:

  • Help to solve problems
  • Provide actionable insight
  • Are easy to understand and digest
  • Are easily sharable
  • Provide data that is relevant

Analyze Trends

If you don’t have a large audience to poll or a statistically significant amount of data to rely on, you can still generate very effective and insightful reports by analyzing trends. Think of this as a “meta” report – you examine data from multiple credible sources, combine it with your own expertise and draw relevant conclusions for your audience.

The same rules apply when analyzing trends – you want to provide analysis that provides actionable insight and is readily sharable/quotable by others in your niche.

Additionally, you want to make certain you cite all of your sources and back up your conclusions with the data you’ve used. In this way, you ensure that your analysis is considered highly credible and valuable to others in your field.

Share Original Tips and Tricks for Success

Your personal expertise is the foundation your brand is built upon. Capitalize on that by sharing what you’ve learned with others. While it doesn’t pay to share all of the innermost secrets that make your business a success, providing tips and tricks unique to your industry is a sure way to be noticed as an innovator in your field.

If you want the best response, you have to move past the typical “best practices” that most other companies share. Instead provide anecdotes of your own experiences and things that have worked for you, personally. This brings us to our final tip…

Be Engaged & Share Success Stories

One thing that thought leaders have in common is that they are more than the “company”. Thought leaders have a distinct personality and are always ready to share the passion for what they do with others. They tell stories and they engage with their audience on a meaningful level.

When talking about your success, stay away from the bland generalities and move into specifics. Talk about the time you helped a client figure out a complicated problem, and you demonstrate that you understand your niche and that you care about the success of your customers – two very important traits of leadership in any field.

 What are some of your best success stories? Let us know in the comments about how you’re becoming a thought leader and we’ll pick some of the best stories to share in future posts and newsletters. 

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