It’s no secret that client’s love to deal with thought leaders- experts in their domain. Which client wouldn’t want to be consulted by Neil Patel on digital marketing or Larry Kim on Search Engines or by Guy Kawasaki
However establishing yourself as a thought leader in your domain is no easy task. It takes months of hard work to create the right perception and value among your target audience that you are indeed an expert. The value that one is able to derive once you have established you and your key agency resources as domain experts makes all the hard work seem worth its while.
Benefits of being an agency thought leader
1. Command a premium over competition
The biggest advantage of being considered a thought leader in your niche is the ability to command a premium for your agency services. The price value equation that is inherent in an agency business goes out of the window once an agency establishes itself as the dominant thought leader in its segment.
2. Attract better talent
Finding good hard working enthusiastic talent is a challenge in the agency business. By being perceived as an industry thought leader, you are able to attract talent to your organization by virtue of being you. For many years while I was running an agency, I managed to build a singular reputation in the marketing services business. Recruiting resources became much easier as I discovered people wanted to work with me, for me, often at pay packages below what competition was offering simply because they wanted to learn from me.
3. Getting clients to listen to you
One of the distinct advantages that I always had vis-à-vis other agency heads was the ability to convince clients to take my agency recommendations seriously. In an agency business there is nothing more frustrating that watching clients waste perfectly good money on a ham handed campaign despite strong recommendations otherwise. As a thought leader in my domain I often found it relatively easy to convince clients to view things from my agency perspective when it came down to brass tacks relating to my domain expertise.
Becoming an agency thought leader
Establishing oneself as an agency thought leader requires considerable personal effort and alignment of agency resources in the right direction. This is the biggest challenge that most agency heads and key management resources in agencies face- finding adequate time from the pressures of deadlines that they have to face every day. In such circumstances it may help to use the external services of agencies like Productive to assist you in this.
However whether you use an external service or prefer to do it in-house, here are some simple options to consider and implement on your journey to become the next Neil Patel.
Blogging is by far the best way to begin the process of establishing yourself as an agency thought leader. Begin writing in-depth articles on your industry or your niche and publish them on your website, LinkedIn and on Medium.
Blogging with high quality content helps in two ways. One, it begins to establish you as someone who knows his or her stuff. And secondly, it automatically improves your agency’s SEO considerably, bringing your agency into notice with new audiences.
Become a Guest Contributor
While blogging on your own agency website and your personal profiles on LinkedIn is a great way to reach out and influence people who are already connected with you and your agency. Blogging on other websites is even better in reaching out and influencing people who do not know you yet. Today, finding subject matter experts capable of penning high quality content is a challenge for most web publishers.
Find other online magazines, e-zines, publishers that cover your domain or industry and offer to be a guest contributor for their content. Not only do you get useful back links to your agency website but in the process you are able to project your personal brand to a whole new set of relevant audiences who could be potential clients down the line.
The next step in the journey of becoming an agency thought leader is to begin conducting webinars on your subject matter. Despite what you might read, conducting a webinar is not easy, nor is driving relevant audiences to sit through a webinar. It is hard work and will take time. Don’t be disappointed if your first webinar attendees happen to be only your agency staff and your wife.
What’s equally important is that people, who did not attend the webinar but learnt of it, begin to accept you as a knowledge leader. With time and persistence you will find attendance of your webinar topics increasing
Publish White Papers/E-Books
Another crucial step in the thought leader journey map is to explore the possibility of publishing white papers and e-books. As key agency personnel, your exposure to various marketing campaigns, success stories and failures would be immense. Encapsulating all your learnings into a comprehensive white paper or an e-book is a great way to not only establish yourself as a thought leader but also in enhancing the value perception of your agency
As an entrepreneur myself I am often on the lookout for speaking engagements within the community. Speaking at community events attended by your peers and prospective clients help in establishing your personal brand as a thought leader in your niche.
Good Content builds good thought leadership
The starting point of building and establishing yourself as a thought leader in the agency domain is to ensure that you have good high quality content. As an agency resource you have a head start over others when it comes to creation of quality content. Your team of graphic designers, creative communicators can assist you in crafting the necessary visual communication that best projects your content be it in terms of infographics, textual content or even video content or power point.
External agencies like the one I represent often work with agency heads in helping them create original deep dive content around marketing , digital marketing and communication subjects that are designed to build a though leader personal brand position.
Having your content written out for you by industry professionals from the same domain has its advantage. You don’t have to do an in-depth briefing of what exactly you or your agency does or what needs to be written.
When crafting content for building a thought leader position, focus on depth of content. Long form content with exciting graphic visuals work well. The deeper you venture into a subject matter in your content, the greater value you begin to build and the greater depth of knowledge you project as possessing.
Go Ahead-start building your personal thought leadership brand
One of the reasons why at heart I continue to be an agency man is the sheer adrenaline burst that only being in an agency can bring. Building a brand whether it be for a client or for oneself is a challenge that every agency man simply loves.
So what are you waiting for?
About the Author
Rajesh Menon is the managing director of Impact Marketing, an agency he has been running for the past 11 years where he helps other agencies & clients extend their influence with digital marketing. He is also the founder of How To Do Digital Marketing, a platform for small businesses to learn how to implement digital marketing for their business. He is an avid writer and contributes regularly his knowledge on marketing and digital marketing.