5 Proven Ways to Position Yourself As an Industry Thought Leader

by John Bonini on March 4, 2013

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5 Proven Ways to Position Yourself As a Marketing Thought LeaderWhen it comes to the crowded world of online marketing, positioning yourself as an industry thought leader will make all the difference in setting your company apart.


Sounds great, doesn't it? But how do you go about reaching such a respected level of online expertise? It's been said before, and surely you'll said it many times more; with consistent, original content. There's simply no better way of conveying your industry expertise than by publishing consistent blog articles and publishing quality premium content in the form of whitepapers and ebooks.


Your ideal prospects used the Internet and Google to research their needs and challenges. By offering resourceful content that assists in this process, you're effectively positioning yourself as a thought leader, and as a result, someone with whom they are more likely to conduct business with.


In in our ebook “How To Be The King Of Content Marketing”, we define thought leaders as someone who not only has expertise on a topic, but who people trust and will take purchasing recommendations from. We likely don’t have to explain any further how that can immensely benefit your business, but the bottom line is that being viewed a thought leader will ultimately increase your conversions.


Becoming a thought leader doesn’t just happen overnight, however. You have to start from ground zero, which is placing yourself in the position to be able to even address any particular content topic in your niche or industry.  If you’re looking to make a name for yourself in your industry, and you’ve uncovered the topic that you’d like to talk about, consider the following first:


Positioning Yourself as a Industry Thought Leader


How Advanced Your Response To a Topic Should Be


Any topic that’s ever presented has as a natural progression in terms of development.  When a new feature or product is introduced, for example, your first piece of content may be “What is Product XYZ”?  You may then move to “How To Use Product XYQ” and then move on to “How Product XYZ Can Help You With Specific Problem A."


Your topics should continually evolve from the incredibly basic to the utmost specific, depending on just how well your audience understands the subject matter, and even what YOU learn about as you go along! Sometimes your audience’s feedback will tell you things you haven’t even thought of, and it could be what ends up making your product really standout.


Don’t Ignore the Data


As stated numerous times in our posts and ebooks,always use basic, simple, journalistic principles when collecting and passing on information. The best way to back up anything you say is to back it with credible data from a credible source. Remember this too: you can’t be selfish or biased about this.


You may think Website ABCD is a credible source, whereas most people wouldn’t consider that a reliable source. Think about this from your audience’s perspective, as it’s a pretty good sample section of the general reputation. Find info from sources that you definitely know not only provide strong and credible information, but audiences in general are likely to find authoritative.


When you incorporate specific data within your content, then your readers not only understand the importance of the subject, but they’re able to see the span of that item’s influence.  It helps them trust what you’re saying and are more likely to be convinced that yes, your product is right for them. When people trust what you write, they’re far more likely to believe you rather than dismiss your content instantly as some “hocus pocus” sales pitch.


Don’t Shy Away From Interviews


To add a similar yet different perspective to a topic that will help support your claims, consider conducting an interview. Again, here’s a great, basic, journalistic principle to use. Reaching out to third parties can work wonders by helping to add a new angle to your current content, or throwing in a new tone to help shake things up a bit.


If you’re struggling for content ideas, interviewing someone on something that you’ve already presented can even help extend the lifetime of any given topic, and you can always update content, thus making the ‘third edition’ or ‘fourth edition,’ etc. Additionally, many journalists would tell you that some of the best ideas for new material come directly from their interviewees, ideas they’d never thought of. You never know where a conversation may take you.


There are a lot of other benefits that come from interviewing third parties, too.  As with the above point, interviews help foster trust in your brand and your product, and it adds more credibility too.  When you’re able to quote other individuals that your readership can relate to, you’re sure to increase conversions and draw leads further down the sales funnel.


Show Through Personal Experience


If you really want to prove yourself to be a thought leader, then show yourself actually testing and experimenting with certain ideas.  This means taking pictures of you in action while you perform an experiment, or doing something to help further reinforce and prove the points that you make in your content.  It makes you more believable, more valid, and more valuable in the minds of your readership.


Choose the Right Content Format


Are you answering a FAQ?  Or are you simply voicing your opinion on a current event?  Depending on the type of content that you’re producing, a particular type of format may be more appropriate for your purpose.  Here’s just a quick list of different types of content you may be producing and the most appropriate format to choose for that content:


Opinions:  Any sort of reviews and thought leadership pieces are best presented in blog-form, though video format may also work well.  For further tips on how you can have the best business blog possible that will help you gain and retain a strong, targeted readership, give our free eBook “How To Start A Business Blog” a read.


Questions:  If you’ve been asked a question, then posting a blog “how to” post or list will work well.  Alternatively, you may find that a video response may resonate better with your audience than content.


Adding Context:  Looking to add a new angle on a particular idea?  Then look at creating lists, blog posts, or getting interviews from other industry professionals to further establish yourself as a credible thought leader and content producer.


To shed some light on becoming a leader in an online world by using effective internet marketing skills, consider the following quote from Ken Kesey, author of One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest. Ironically, he said this long before internet marketers and businesses thought they were doing great internet marketing by getting as many clicks as possible on an ad or wherever else, or on website pages.


It’s especially relevant to becoming a leader through good internet marketing though.  As many people learned with the unveiling of spam, black and white SEO practices, and the changes, rules, and implications of search engine science, any type of leadership is about much more.


“You don’t lead by pointing and telling people some place to go. You lead by going to that place and making a case.”

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