How to establish brand awareness and brand legitimacy through Thought Leadership

Change is a constant. To be truly successful in any business, you must be susceptible to change and ready to adapt to it.

“After you’ve done a thing the same way for two years, look it over carefully. After five years, look at it with suspicion. And after ten years, throw it away and start all over.”

Alfred Edward Perlman

Getting heard above the noise

Today’s challenge is getting heard through the noise of multiple online channels such as LinkedIn and Twitter. If you’ve run a brand for a few decades, you should be aware that the entry level for competitors is very low. New companies spring up by the day. Those at the top are there because of Thought leadership and you can leverage this new trend whether you are a brand with a legacy of a fresh new start up.

Leverage your social media BIO

Start by optimising your social media profiles. Use your LinkedIn and Twitter bio to list your specific skills. Be careful not to roll off achievements or push your brand aggressively. Sorry to say it, but no one wants to hear about what you’ve done or how wonderful your product is, they want to know what you can do for them. Create a compelling story on your bios, tell people how you can help them grow their brand as in you, the individual, not your company.

Fill your social media bio with engaging relevant content like – blogs, white papers, videos, eBooks, and infographics. Make your social media channels hubs of information for the knowledge hungry. Offer your best insights calls to action. If they (the buyer) are just starting out, offer simple how to guides with a simple CTA, something like ‘follow us on LinkedIn’ or ‘subscribe to our email newsletter’. If you’re keen to impress, include options for daily and weekly content, ask which times are best to reach out, show that you are thoughtful and empathetic, you care about your client and you really want to support them.

The essential tools of Thought Leadership

To be a thought leader, your content needs to stand out on a number of factors:

  • Niche expertise
  • Engaging presentation
  • Genuine usefulness

It’s difficult to bring something different to the table in this era of market oversaturation. It is not necessary that you come up with a unique proposition, it’s far better you show you can do something and do it well. Time is another factor to consider. People are overwhelmed by the deluge of content. Is there a time when you can distribute content and it won’t get lost in the myriad of posts by your competitors?

SEO techniques

SEO is a tricky one, as SEO expert Neil Patel says:

“With so many SEO techniques, it’s become almost impossible to determine which ones to stick to and which you can safely ignore.”

One thing that builds authority is including relevant backlinks in your blog content. This may seem counter intuitive, after all, isn’t that giving away leads to the competition? Not necessarily. You have two alternatives:

  • the first is to carefully select valuable content that shows you know your niche and know a good brand
  • the second is to use backlinks that link back to your business partners, so long as they are authoritative.

If you choose the first option, you may get rewarded with backlinks to your own content on their site. If you choose option two, pick your partners well and you can form a strong and rewarding partnership that establishes both your partners and yourself in the process.

Avoid trying to write for search engines, they are very sophisticated these days and can spot keyword stuffing and other disapproved methods, otherwise known as ‘black hat SEO’.

Write for human beings, write content that is rich in value and guides your target audience. Take time to read the best content on the web and even some of the more mediocre to get an idea of the standard you must reach. You will find these people have great ideas, ask yourself ‘is there anything unique I can add to this?’. Take time to find something worth writing. Don’t put content out there for the sake of it, it will get lost in the pile. Think of your tone, do you want to be authoritative? Or would a more empathetic tone be better? Your content doesn’t have to be ground breaking, as long as it benefits the reader and makes come back for more.

Build your networks

There are a number of platforms where you can establish yourself as a thought leader. Your website, a blog posted on your LinkedIn page accompanied with a personalized message or a podcast (all three if possible) may harness the potential to elevate you into the upper rankings of your chosen niche. And, of course there is networking. Building a network for B2B on LinkedIn is a powerful way to develop cross promotion initiatives. You may chose to interview professionals in your field, you could even interview your own clients. Use quotes from leading thought leaders like this one:

“Any conversation I have about innovation starts with the ultimate goal.”

Sergey Brin

Share content by thought leaders and ask if they can share your content. Leverage the power of user created content and testimonials to amplify your message. If you indeed have that ‘secret sauce’, people will recognise your value.

Benefits of Thought Leadership

  • The first benefit of being a thought leader is growth, people will discover your value rich content and become customers, your CTR, SEO and leads will automatically increase and you will gain the reputation of being a trusted advisor.
  • The crucial ingredient to thought leadership is finding your niche and bringing something new or unique to that niche that delivers.

Wherever you are at this particular moment, it might be the right time to reach out and book a free consultation with an appropriate consultancy (such as 2MARK-IT!) to discuss your needs.

About the Author: Peter Rovers is CEO of 2MARK-IT a global Social Selling & marketing, consultancy, enablement and training firm.