You may have heard the term “thought leadership” before, but you might not be exactly sure what it means. Essentially, thought leadership is the practice of sharing your unique and valuable insights with others in order to establish yourself as an expert in your field. It's about leading with your thoughts, ideas, and perspectives, and using them to inspire and educate others.  

This can be accomplished through various forms of content, such as blog posts, articles, white papers, or even videos. The goal is to generate interest and engagement among your target audience, and to ultimately build credibility and trust as a leader in your field. So, if you want to be seen as a thought leader in your industry, then keep reading to learn more about how to make it happen. 

Is this the sort of thing big companies with huge budgets do? Sure! 

But here are five reasons why small and medium sized businesses should focus on a thought leadership strategy too: 

  • Establishing yourself as a thought leader can help to build credibility and trust with potential customers and clients. 
  • A thought leadership strategy can help to differentiate your business from competitors, which can be especially important in crowded and competitive markets. 
  • A thought leadership strategy can help to position your business as an industry expert, which can attract new business and opportunities. 
  • Developing a thought leadership strategy can also help to inspire and motivate your employees, as they will be able to see the impact of their work on the broader industry. 
  • Finally, a thought leadership strategy can help to drive content marketing efforts, providing a source of valuable and engaging content for your website, social media channels, and other marketing materials. 

So you’re on board—great! What next? 

Identify your unique strengths and expertise. 

The first step in developing a thought leadership program is to identify what makes your business unique and what sets you apart from your competitors. This could be a specific skill, knowledge, or perspective that you can share with others in your industry. 

Create a content plan. 

Once you have identified your unique strengths, the next step is to develop a content plan that outlines the types of content you will create and share with your audience. This could include blog posts, articles, videos, webinars, or other forms of content that are relevant to your audience and your industry. 

Engage with your audience. 

Thought leadership is not just about creating content, it's also about engaging with your audience and building relationships. This can be done through social media, networking events, or other forms of outreach. By engaging with your audience, you can gain valuable insights and feedback that can help to shape your thought leadership efforts. 

Collaborate with other thought leaders. 

Another way to enhance your thought leadership program is to collaborate with other thought leaders in your industry. This can help to broaden your reach and expand your network, as well as provide valuable opportunities for learning and growth. 

Measure and track your progress. 

Finally, it's important to track and measure the success of your thought leadership efforts. This can help you to identify what is working well and what areas may need improvement. By tracking your progress, you can continually refine and improve your thought leadership program to ensure its ongoing success. 

Where to find out more 

  • Blogs and websites: There are many blogs and websites that provide valuable information and advice on thought leadership, such as the Harvard Business Review, Forbes, and the Content Marketing Institute. These resources can provide valuable insights and tips on how to develop and implement a thought leadership program. 
  • Books and e-books: There are also many books and e-books on the topic of thought leadership that can provide valuable information and guidance. Some popular titles include "Thinking, Fast and Slow" by Daniel Kahneman, "Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion" by Robert Cialdini, and "The Innovator's Dilemma" by Clayton M. Christensen. 
  • Online courses and workshops: There are also many online courses and workshops available that can provide more in-depth training on thought leadership. These courses can be a great way to learn from experts and gain valuable skills and knowledge that can help to improve your thought leadership program. 
  • Conferences and events: Finally, attending conferences and events focused on thought leadership can be a great way to learn from experts, network with other professionals, and gain valuable insights and inspiration. Many conferences and events also offer workshops and seminars on thought leadership, which can provide more in-depth training and guidance. 

Thought leadership is an invaluable way for small and medium-sized businesses to establish themselves by building credibility and trust. They can differentiate themselves from competitors, and drive content marketing efforts. To develop a successful thought leadership program, identify your unique strengths and expertise, create a content plan, engage with your audience, collaborate with other thought leaders, and measure and track your progress.  

Now that you know, it's time to take action! Consider developing a thought leadership program for your own business, and use the resources and tips mentioned above to help you get started. By sharing your unique insights and expertise, you can position yourself as a leader in your industry and drive growth and success for your business.  

Take the first step and let us know how it goes!