Thought Leadership – what’s all the hype about?

Associate Director Zoe Symonds explains the importance of thought leadership and the influence your expertise can have on your stakeholders.

Often perceived as a buzzword in boardrooms, thought leadership has much more depth to its perception and, used effectively, it’s a great way for business professionals to showcase their expertise on a particular topic.

Although thought leadership has always been around, it seems to have made an almighty comeback over the last five years. Given the potential it has to unlock a whole new level of professional accomplishment, as well as providing you with the power to persuade, the status and authority to move things in a new direction, and the clout to implement real progress and widespread innovation, its popularity has understandably grown.

Put simply, thought leadership is a fantastic way for you to shine and demonstrate your industry knowledge.

What makes a good thought leader?

Being a credible thought leader takes time (sometimes years); knowledge and expertise in a particular niche; a certain level of commitment; and a willingness to buck the status quo or the way things have always been done. So, what characteristics make you a good candidate?

  • Expertise in a certain niche
  • Ongoing involvement or an association with that niche
  • A clearly defined point of view
  • Credibility
  • A supportive following

Thought leaders are the informed opinion leaders and the go-to people in their field of expertise. They become the trusted sources who move and inspire people with innovative ideas, turn ideas into reality, and know and show how to replicate their success. 

Furthermore, thought leadership leads to exposure for your ideas both inside and outside your company – particularly with journalists. It gives you accessto people who can help you make things happen.

Building relationships with the media

As a thought leader, you will be in the spotlight. Utilise this position and get journalists on your side. You will soon get noticed and generate interest, and in return you’ll receive plenty of media exposure. This is something a good PR agency can position you as.

This is a part of PR I personally really enjoy – identifying topics of interest with my clients for the media and developing a thought leadership campaign around these which over time positions them as the go-to spokesperson. It makes journalist’s life a lot easier knowing they have an expert on hand when needed. So, it’s a win, win situation.

It does take time to build these credentials, but done consistently it can open up plenty of opportunities to raise your profile with those particular journalists that you want to get noticed by. By newsjacking media opportunities or pitching you as an expert commentator in a subject you are affiliated with, interviews and editorial opportunities will naturally follow. So much so that they end up coming to you directly for a quick comment.

Growing your reputation

Social media is a powerful tool to turbo-charge all the good work you are doing. Use it to amplify your voice, opinions, and industry knowledge. Follow journalists you are interested in and thank those that publish your content. Don’t be afraid to share third-party content and comment on posts with your own views to demonstrate your breadth of expertise.

However, it takes a lot more than one blog, social post or a networking event to cement yourself as a trusted figure in any field. Expertise, insight and a valuable perspective are elements that lead to thought leadership status.

Showing your audience that you are a present, well-rounded professional can steadily build your reputation and credibility as a thought leader.Once your reputation or brand begins to grow, you can start sharing or making bolder claims and predictions about your industry. Continue this cycle to create consistency and build momentum and you won’t go far wrong.

For more information about how we can help position you as a thought leader, please get in touch.

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