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What is thought leadership and how can it increase your sales?

Marketing has changed significantly in recent years.

Where once marketing used to take a promotional focus, with the advent of content marketing, thought leadership is moving to the forefront of marketing strategy as a way for businesses to build their customer base, enhance their reputation and increase their sales. If you haven’t considered using the principles of thought leadership to help grow your business, here are a few reasons why you should.

What is thought leadership?

Thought leadership is a term which is often misunderstood. In essence, thought leadership is the process of becoming a leading authority in your chosen industry. This can be done by providing up to date information about trends and developments, creating content of value, which your readers trust, and becoming an established expert in your field.

What are the benefits of being a thought leader?

As a thought leader you will be respected and trusted by your potential customers and peers. By positioning yourself as an expert and your business as a leading authority you can engage your customers and gain their trust. Consumers are more likely to purchase from brands they know and trust so the long-term effects of becoming a thought leader can ultimately mean increased sales and a strong loyal base of fans.

How do you become a thought leader?

Becoming a thought leader takes time and effort, it doesn’t happen overnight. You will need to build your authority by creating valuable useful content and sharing it with readers. Becoming a thought leader generally takes a multiple channel approach. Some of the places you can establish your authority include:

  • Your professional blog. Regularly creating and publishing blog posts on a range of topics relating to your industry and business can give your credibility a boost, increase your website traffic and help you build a community.
  • Other blogs and websites. To increase your reach it can be worth guest blogging for other websites, particularly those that are targeted at the same audience as yours. Submitting articles and blogs on a range of topics allows you to appear in front of a larger number of people as well as consolidating your reputation as an authority that people can trust.
  • Social media. If you are looking to establish yourself as an authority it’s a good idea to cultivate a strong social media presence. Participating in discussions and sharing relevant content with others can help you establish your authority and keep you up to date with industry developments.

When you are deciding what to write or post about, it’s important that you keep your audience at the forefront of your strategy. Endlessly blowing your own trumpet and talking about your business and its achievements is completely counterproductive when you are establishing yourself as a thought leader. If your content marketing is effective, your target audience will seek you out for advice and information and promote it on your behalf by sharing it with others, but only if they feel that they can trust you and have established a relationship with your brand.

About the Author

Jo Macdermott is the Chief Marketing Consultant at Next Marketing in Melbourne. She has 15 years of marketing experience, is a Certified Practising Marketer and is a sought after marketing media commentator. Jo specialises in working with small and medium businesses. Follow her on Twitter here.