6 min read
Five Actionable Ways to Position Yourself as a Thought Leader
By: Julia Fellows 11/10/20 10:30 AM
Building trust with your audience is an important part of marketing. One of the best ways to build trust with your audience is by establishing your company as a thought leader in the industry.
A thought leader is a person or an organization that becomes an authority on a subject by sharing educational content with their audiences that helps them to learn and to make informed decisions, without strictly promoting their own thoughts and services. Beyond that, thought leaders also share the news and views of other thought leaders in their industry.
Thought leaders provide this worthwhile content to audiences for free or at a low cost (such as an exchange of contact information). By providing this content to your audience with no strings attached, audiences begin to view your company or a particular member of your leadership as a partner who is genuinely interested in the success of their customers and clients.
In this post, we’ll review five ways that you can position yourself as a thought leader within your industry.
1. Share News, Make Announcements, and Celebrate
Making announcements about changes within your company is a great way to show transparency and build trust with your audience. You can share news on changes to company leadership, the opening of new locations, or the acquisition of a new brand through press releases or on your own blog. By sharing and celebrating this news with your audience, you can make your company more accessible and human. To take this transparency to the next level, use your blog as a platform to take a deeper dive into the reasons behind big decisions. You can also share and celebrate in the success of your customers and partners, which can go a long way in helping your customers to view you as more than just a vendor.
Testek Solutions announced their rebranding through a press release. They invited audiences to come and see the new branding in person at an industry trade show.
After WTI, a designer and manufacturer of custom test systems and test cells, joined CertTech, an expert in mission-critical and safety applications, they featured an interview with the leadership of both CertTech and WTI to explain the reasoning behind the decision and how the joining of the two brands benefits their customers.
2. Engage with Industry Audiences via Social Media
Another way that you can position yourself as a thought leader is to participate in industry conversations. Social media outlets like LinkedIn provide an open platform for both companies and individuals to engage in discussions about industry current events, challenges, and possible solutions. In addition to routinely posting your own content, you can actively participate in these social media conversations by reacting to, commenting on, and sharing posts from other people and brands with your network.
Ben Schuler, Founder and CEO of Infinitum Electric, is an active participant in conversations on LinkedIn about electric motors and various methods of reducing energy consumption. Glancing through his activity on LinkedIn, you can see him frequently reacting to posts by other thought leaders and brands within the industry and adding to the conversation by sharing thoughtful comments on these posts and re-sharing the posts of others. When he shares content from his own company, he provides additional commentary and insights to help contextualize it for his followers.
3. Create Content That’s About More than What You Do
Thought leaders don’t just talk about themselves. True thought leaders generate content that is relevant to their target audiences and their biggest pain points, even if it’s not directly relevant to your product or service. Positioning yourself as a thought leader is a way to help you build trust with your audience. By sharing the perspectives of others and sharing your perspective on other events in the industry, you can help your audience see you as more than just a company trying to sell their own products and services. Examples of this include blogging about trends and upcoming challenges within your industry, writing a white paper about how your product or service fits within the industry, and writing a case study with a customer perspective on your product or service.
4. Answer Your Audience’s Questions
This might sound crazy, but one of the easiest ways to position your brand as a thought leader is to give your audience what they want! Pay attention to the questions your customers and clients are frequently asking and answer them publicly. You can do this by creating a Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) page on your website and by writing blog posts that provide in-depth answers to specific questions. You can also use your blog and other pieces of content to address your audience’s pain points – and how you can help alleviate them.
In addition to answering questions about their innovative electric motor technology, Infinitum Electric answers questions about applications that can use their technology.
5. Create an Innovation Hub
Finally, you can position yourself as a thought leader by nurturing the ideas of others. Being a thought leader is not always about being the smartest and having the best ideas – you can also be seen as a thought leader by recognizing the thought leadership of others. Encourage other individuals and brands (both within and outside your industry) to share their ideas with the world and do what you can to amplify those ideas.
The Content Marketing, Engineered podcast features marketing advice and interviews with engineering leadership so that listeners can learn about growing technical companies with content marketing.
Hiller Measurements, a company that designs and manufactures mission-critical test systems, assemblies, and instrumentation, hosts a video interview series called ae2, short for Artists, Engineers, and Entrepreneurs. In the series, filmed in front of a live studio audience, Hiller Measurements President Jeff Olsen interviews (you guessed it) artists, engineers, and entrepreneurs from a variety of industries, who share stories of both perseverance and failure.
Wondering when to start creating thought leadership content?
The time to position your company or your leaders as thought leaders isn’t at the moment you realize you need outsiders to see your experience. It is years before. So if you’re wondering “Is now is the time for thought leadership content?”, it probably is.
Thought leadership content isn’t arrogant or puffy, rather, it’s experts talking about what exactly they’re experts at. A startup shouldn’t write about how to be a winning startup before they’ve won, but they can write about what they’re learning through pitching their business and rounds of funding. A test system integrator doesn’t need to talk about trends in aerospace test if they’ve only worked in automotive, but they can talk about key careabouts in automotive test and where the industry is heading. There will always be someone at the point where you were last year or five years ago, so be a leader to them.
Interested in becoming a thought leader? Learn more about our brand marketing services and how they can help you better position your company and yourself.