Thought leadership is an increasingly important tactic to establish credibility and influence within an industry. These days, it’s practically a must for organisations to appoint a thought leader within their ranks. In the age of influencers and creators, thought leaders stand out as industry experts – authorities with proven calibre and expertise who can provide important insights that shape their respective fields.
What is a thought leader?
Often long-time industry stalwarts, thought leaders are visionaries who are fully committed to their industries and know their subject matter inside and out –– enough to gain a special kind of foresight that helps support and forward their industry. Thought leaders are some of the most effective kinds of influencers, as their prestige and reputation come with the ability to provide credible opinions on the issues that matter within their sector.; Industry insiders look up to their expertise and are always keen to connect with them and build long-lasting relationships.
Does my brand need thought leadership?
Thought leadership is essential to B2B public relations and corporate communications. During periods of uncertainty, such as a pandemic, an economic downturn, or even a major industry shift, thought leaders serve as an anchor for the industry, offering ideas and feedback on the best way to move forward. And at a time when brands ought to focus on creating long-term relationships instead of short-term gains, establishing trust and credibility is the order of the day – an element that thought leadership provides. It is one way to build your brand’s authority in the industry and deepen relationships.
Thought leaders do not simply parrot information that is available anywhere else. In order to become one, your experiences and credentials must vouch for your ability to provide unique perspectives on industry developments to educate audiences and give them some food for thought. These would be presented in interesting and compelling pieces — such as blog posts, video and podcast interviews, column pieces, as well as panel events and webinars.
These help you create a content marketing strategy that has an impact and provides value to those within your industry.
How to Become an Industry Thought Leader
Look within your ranks.
Your organisation does not need to stick to a single thought leader. Look for potential thought leaders within your ranks in order to mount a cohesive and widespread thought leadership campaign. Aside from demonstrating the range of talent within your organisation, different leaders may provide nuanced and different perspectives on your industry. Having a varied panel of thought leaders allows you to leverage their expertise and influence in other areas or sectors that are not given much attention. This lets you further cement your company or brand as credible industry experts.
Pitch opinion pieces with earned media.
The right public relations partners can help you connect with established media sources that your audience trusts. Seize the day on pressing issues that affect the industry by providing unique insights on these matters – what are perspectives that other organisations have not offered yet? These will help establish your insider knowledge and foresight. Once you’ve come across a fitting interview opportunity, engaging in media training with PR experts can help you establish a strong presence, learn how to give newsworthy soundbites, and avoid any communication missteps.
Establish a presence on social channels.
Almost everyone, whether clients or colleagues, is on social media –– and these channels are an effective way for you and your company’s leaders to connect with them and build your online reputation. Social platforms that focus on professional relations, such as LinkedIn, provide a key avenue to express your thoughts, share your company’s milestones, and widen your network for other potential opportunities.
Other popular social platforms, such as Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram, allow you to cross-post and establish cohesive social media messaging across different channels.
Take advantage of speaking opportunities.
Events and conferences provide further avenues for you to secure your reputation as a thought leader. Here, you can share powerful insights or nuggets of wisdom from personal anecdotes or experiences while strategically positioning your brand. Webinars and talks allow you to network with peers meaningfully and create potential business opportunities.
That said, while it may be tempting to say yes to every invite that comes your way, the quality and prestige of the event matter. Is this being organised by established or well-known figures or groups? Is the subject theme relevant to your business or industry at large? These factors must be considered in every potential engagement.
Shaping thought leaders do not happen overnight –– this requires careful planning and execution, tied together by key and consistent messaging. An experienced PR team can help you craft a cohesive and strategic thought leadership campaign that strengthens your brand’s positioning and helps you meet your goals.
With a high-value network of trusted partners across Singapore, Malaysia and the SEA region, Blue Totem Communications’ team of specialists can help you spark the right conversations, shape your messaging, and connect with the right media sources that serve as your gateway to emerging as a true thought leader within your industry. Get in touch with us at bluetotem.co/contact-us today.