And before I explain what my article is all about, let me first tell you who thought leaders are (for those of you who aren’t already aware of them). Honestly, there isn’t much to explain; their designation is pretty self-explanatory! Thought leaders are people who are experts in their fields and are the ones responsible for coming up with path breaking ideas and innovations, turning them into a reality and then replicating their success again and again in the future by the best means necessary
Those of you who’ve been in a group project know how much of a drag it is – nobody takes any responsibility and it’s very difficult to get any work done. This is where thought leaders come in – with their out of the box ideas and charismatic natures, they’re natural leaders. Their actions intrigue, challenge, and inspire people, and they end up providing invaluable feedback to the brand as well as its company.
Getting back to the topic – how can you use content marketing to create a unique though leadership platform for your brand?? Well, here’s how –
- Sell ideas
Your target audience isn’t comprised of idiots – it’s full of extremely well educated, experienced and knowledgeable people from your industry. So if you’re making updates like telling them you have, say, the cure for cancer or that you’ve combated the problem of rusting on iron furniture permanently, then I have one word for you –
What you really have to do is hint at the fact that a solution’s possible. Say something like “up until now, cancer was thought to be incurable but new research has brought to light a path-breaking discovery”. So, you’re updating about how cancer can be cured, you’re offering a solution to your audience but you’re nowhere advertising unabashedly that it was you who came up with the cure.
And yes, that’s it. Your audience is smart enough to understand what you’re hinting at and they will immediately come up to you and ask you how you dealt with the unique problems you faced. And just like that, those conversations become your pre-sales pitch. Once you have the clients interested, there’s no going back; you can opt for a more traditional manner of a sales pitch.
- Always cater to your target audience
I cannot even begin to count how many times the biggest of companies make the mistake of catering their content for every single person on the planet. You’re wrong. That’s because your platform is only successful till the time people are reading your content. You might as well flush your money down the toilet, because that’s not how a thought leadership platform works.
Your content should be formulated in a manner that will help make the lives of your target audience easier, and don’t you ever forget that. Craft your messages smartly – people aren’t interested in how you make a product or how many inventors you have on hold for your company. What they really wanna know is if their purchase is going to be worth their while, and if yes, then how.
- Make your audience feel smarter
Do I really need to say this out loud? Alright.
Never post content which is condescending, ie which puts you across as an insufferable know-it-all who’s talking down to their audience. Treat people as your equals who know as much as you do, if not more. Be respectful and acknowledge the fact that you’re dealing with an extremely sophisticated level of audience.
Which brings me to my next point…..
- Be Humble and Sincere
Nothing makes your brand more attractive, and anthropomorphised, than admitting that you’re wrong or that your knowledge in a specific field is limited. You have absolutely nothing to lose by being humble; quite to the contrary, you gain a lot, most of it being respect from your audience.
Now for example, if you admit you don’t know what the future of your industry holds, you’ll be perceived as more sincere than a competitor who’s boasting of how they’re pioneers in their industry and how they’ll revolutionize it (that just makes them look conceited, and nobody likes a conceited person).
Please understand that thought leadership via content marketing is all about sharing your hopes and enthusiasm with your audience. Your content should excite them, and what’s more exciting than offering them a journey into the unknown?
- Get involved
Passion is another aspect of a brand that people love to love. Of course, the best bet is for you to get actively involved with a social cause and campaign for it. You can create awareness, raise funds or maybe get the NGO directly in touch with your audience – the options are many.
And yeah, don’t limit your passion to just social causes. Be passionate about what you do, and let it show! Sponsor or participate in trade fairs, run panels, lead societies, presentations or host parties. Let your customers know they’re welcome to be a part of your activities anytime they want (if at all that’s possible). Get them involved as well.
Yeah, it’s a little difficult in the beginning, but once you manage it, there’s absolutely no better organic publicity for you!
In the end, just remember –
Being a thoughtful leader is not an easy task. It requires you to be creative, coming up consistently with out-of -he box ideas and being patient with your team and audience. Your content strategy isn’t going to show immediate results; ideas take time to permeate through the content funnel, working their way towards building trust within your target audience. Dedication and perseverance are necessary and you should also have the ability to critically analyse whatever goes wrong in your campaign. Don’t lose hope – refashion your strategy and come up with an even better plan!
Remember what Edison said –
“I have not failed. I’ve just found 1000 ways that won’t work.”
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