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Thought leadership: What is it and how can it help your small business?

By February 11, 2019 No Comments
Thought Leadership - Chess piece

Thought leadership - ChessboardYou’ve probably heard the term “thought leadership” knocking around quite a bit the last decade or so. To a certain extent, it’s a typical piece of business jargon – one of those annoying buzzwords you see quite a bit on LinkedIn.

But put your preconceptions aside. Being seen as a thought leader can have real advantages to your small business. Let’s explain why.

What is thought leadership?

Strictly speaking, a thought leader is a person or a group who is seen as being authoritative in their field. Someone who has expertise and can be relied upon for informed comment or advice.

When it comes to business, it’s useful to think of thought leadership as a kind of content marketing which emphasises the talent and expertise within your business. It’s all about establishing the authority of your brand.

It can be a very powerful way to position yourself in the marketplace and indicate to your customers that you know what you’re talking about.

How do I become a thought leader?

When you first heard it, the term “thought leadership” might have seemed a bit off-putting and inaccessible. “Oh that’s just for big brands or Nobel prize-winners,” you might think.

But it’s actually easier than you think to use in your marketing, whatever size your business is!

Here are a few tips to help you get started:

  • Write about what you know – Let’s say you’re a florist. You can quite easily position yourself as a thought leader in your field because you know what you’re talking about when it comes to flowers! You can set up a blog and start writing guides and advice on flower care.
  • Give your opinion – It’s not a pre-requisite but expressing an opinion as part of your content will help you to stand out from other companies in your field.
  • Don’t be promotional – You have a business and you want to sell your products and services, of course you do. But when it comes to thought leadership, you’re playing the long game. Be too promotional in your thought leadership content and you’ll put people off. Save your promotional language for ads and product pages – with thought leadership, you’re educating your audience rather than just selling to them.
  • Don’t limit yourself when it comes to content types – A lot of thought leadership content takes the form of length whitepapers, but it doesn’t have to be that limited. It can be anything, from a video or a blog post to even just a tweet! When it comes to thought leadership, the quality matters more than the way it’s distributed

Have you used thought leadership as part of your marketing? How has it helped you? Let us know on Facebook, LinkedIn or Twitter!

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