So you know what to do to be an effective thought leader in your industry, but are you familiar with the don'ts? Here are a few points to avoid and what you should be doing instead for a truly impactful thought leadership.
It’s easy to fall into the trap of self-promotion. When you have a captivated audience ready to listen to everything you have to say, why not? As an extension of marketing, thought leadership is sometimes seen as the vehicle for promotion but when done overtly it can be a big turnoff, losing your audience.
Instead, let your thought leadership speak for its self. The goal of every engagement with your audience should be to offer something of real value. Doing so will set you and your company apart as the go-to industry expert, sans promotion.
This is something I like to call the shotgun approach or "spray marketing". The strategy is to blast the same message to as many people as possible and hope for something to stick. Using this method may work short-term but it never takes into account audience preferences or buyer persona data, hurting long-term performance.
Instead, map out your buyer's journey and plan what message/content is appropriate for each phase. When talking to your audience vary your message per platform, audience, and desired end result.
Your digital presence can be easily forgotten if your thought leadership strategy involves a lot of in-person events like industry presentations and round tables. Why would you need a strong digital presence, isn't your audience receiving all of the information they need from you in-person?
The answer is no. Your audience will always look for supplemental information online whether it's on your website, press room, or social media profiles. When they are researching you and your company they will be looking to validate your claims so it's a good idea to have things like success stories, past event recaps/recordings, awards, and blog/additional content. These items will help them to trust you and re-engage with you after you're gone.
Thinking you can reach your audience without the help of industry outlets is a mistake. Overlooking your industry's biggest outlets will keep you from reaching a very targeted and captivated audience.
Industry outlets don't operate in isolation and collaborating with them will be vital to successful thought leadership. Take a look at their editorial calendars to see what their upcoming topics are and try to pitch ideas that will benefit their readers.
Ever read something in a magazine or trade publication that was so dry you couldn't finish the entire article? Chances are the writer left their personality out of the article so the content could apply to everyone. Unfortunately, this leaves the piece sounding robotic and textbook.
When writing or engaging in public speaking, remember that you are a person talking to another person. People like humans! Cut the business jargon and insert your personal style. If you're sarcastic, funny, or playful, use it. It'll make you memorable and more relatable.