Thought Leadership

Oprah Winfrey, Tyler Perry, Bill Gates, and Jessica Alba, what do these people have in common? These are the people that took an idea and turned it into millions, and even billions of dollars. These people are who we think of when we think of thought leadership.

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Maybe you’ve heard of the notion of thought leadership in a text book, or in an article or maybe in a speech. The internet is abuzz with conversation about thought leadership and its impact on the profitability and the success of a business. In an age where there is so much information and so much access that most people are afraid of getting downed in the onslaught, thought leadership is rising in popularity as a way to keep relevant. So what does it actually take to become a thought leader?

Well first we have to define what a thought leader is. To anyone who has never heard or experienced the concept it may be difficult to define. It defines a visionary who has a unique and applicable point of view that he or she uses in order to influence the world. A thought leader can also mean someone who is an expert in a certain field. This is a person who anticipates the needs of their audience build a relationship and gives them what they need and value. This can mean having your brand be viewed as different and exceptional.

I’ve talked a little bit about Coco Chanel in the video. Miss Chanel was unique in that she was able to predict the needs of the customers and provide them with the right product. During world war II she launched the Channel suit because she understood that women at the time needed more practical clothing since more of them where entering into the work force. Her brand was already perceived as elegance through minimalism and so when minimalism and comfort became even more necessary she became even more relevant. Her unique take on fashion revolutionized the industry and she became the symbol of simple elegance.

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A way in which companies establish themselves as thought leaders is through thought leadership campaigns. Thought leadership management is one way in which more and more companies are trying to carve out a place for themselves within the market. The key to thought leadership marketing is asserting yourself as the leading authority within the niche market that you have chosen.

Beginning a good thought leadership campaign starts out with finding you your specific target market, your niche. You have to define your target market as specifically as possible so for example, if your content is based on retail then luxury boutique owners that sell to older women seems like a very specific target.

The next thing you must do is find where your audience is and find where they get their information online and offline. This means researching what magazines they subscribe to, what social media they look out for, what blogs they are most likely to read and check on a regular basis. A great online tool that you can use is Survey Monkey, of Google surveys to gather information.  It’s all about knowing your audience.

The next step is looking at the list you have gathered and finding out the type of content they are most likely to read. For instance you may notice that most of the blogs they subscribe to have a theme like seven steps to achieving this or maybe they prefer 600 word blogs or maybe they are most likely to watch videos based on their interest.

The next step is to then repurpose the content that you have and model it the way your audience is most likely to consume. This means that if you have articles and your audience prefers videos you can turn your articles into videos. It’s all about catering to your audience.

The next phase is all about creating relationships with the people that put out content. This means going to editors, bloggers, producers and writers and convincing them of why your content is worth publishing and what value it will give their audiences. The good thing is that editors and media people are always looking for good unique content to publish so if you can provide it then they can pass it on. You also need to establish a tracking system involving your feedback channels so that you can monitor progress.

Having your content published though good is not the ultimate goal, it is the first step. A win should be based on what your ultimate goal is by putting out this content. Typically the goal is for these people that see this content to reach out to you as the perceived authority and to ask about what we can offer.
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This should be considered as an ongoing process and not just something on occasion.  We hope you’ve found this article helpful!

Written by Neheng Matsoso at  Odysseus Public Relations

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