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There’s More Than One Way to Become a Thought Leader

By Kelsey Meyer

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Note: To start creating targeted, engaging content to build your thought leadership strategy while following along with the tips below, download the 4-Step Guide to Exceptional Content Marketing.

Nothing starts my morning off right like listening to a podcast on the drive to work. Tuning into the latest episode of NPR’s “Intelligence Squared U.S.” (my personal favorite) gets my intellectual juices flowing before I’ve even reached the office. And if I’m lucky, I squeeze another episode or two in during the workday, in between meetings or on my way to lunch.

That’s what makes podcasts such a fantastic form of content. Audiences can listen and learn when they’re driving, at the gym, or on their lunch breaks and learn about timely issues from credible experts. Podcasts — along with other creative mediums — provide thought leaders with a fresh way to expand their influence by sharing valuable insight a wide audience can easily consume. 

Unlock the Potential in Thought Leadership Content

Sharing original, insightful content boosts business leaders’ profiles, whether they want to raise brand awareness or establish credibility and authority in their fields. It also allows them to share their opinions, amplify their voices, and think critically, among other long-term benefits.

From a business standpoint, publishing thought leadership content can translate into more exposure and credibility for your company. If done successfully, it can also:

  • Build trust by educating target audiences and allowing them to engage with the brand on different platforms.
  • Keep your company top of mind with its target audience by consistently putting out fresh ideas and content. 
  • Close more sales by overcoming objections and reassuring customers through engagement and authority.
  • Attract top talent by showcasing the company’s culture, values, and commitment to employee satisfaction through different forms of content. 

5 Types of Thought Leadership Content 

While hosting podcasts is a great way to engage your audience, it’s certainly not the only means of establishing thought leadership through solid, accessible content. There are several types of content your company’s leaders can use to become authoritative voices in their fields.

1. Written articles in online publications 

This is what Influence & Co. specializes in. Written articles educate readers through their unique perspectives and actionable takeaways. But these articles aren’t promotional; experts leverage written articles to educate their audiences, which establishes their credibility and increases their following. 

One of our clients, Asha Saxena, published a piece in Smart Data Collective that accomplished just that. Asha provided readers with valuable tips for maximizing their business analytics, her area of expertise.

2. Written articles on your owned media (website/blog)

Your owned media platforms work well for sharing exclusive insights that boost your company’s authority. John Hall, the CEO and co-founder of Influence & Co., published an article on our blog about the LinkedIn publishing platform opening up to users. Because we were beta testers and had been writing on it before the expansion, John offered an insider perspective. His article brought in a lot of leads because people saw us as a leader in the publishing industry.

3. Video content 

Webinars, interviews, and how-to videos present many opportunities for creating content. Webinars are particularly useful because you can create a simple slide presentation with a voiceover or put yourself front and center.

HubSpot is known for its informative, thought-provoking webinars featuring experts such as Guy Kawasaki. Through these co-hosted webinars, companies are associated with the particular thought leader they’ve partnered with and can reap the benefits of that person’s knowledge and audience.

4. Visual content 

Visuals, such as infographics and cartoons, make dull content sexier. Lemonly recently created an infographic for a company called PerfectServe explaining why a HIPAA-compliant app doesn’t exist. The visual element made the dry topic more interesting. 

5. Audio content

We’ve already established that I love podcasts — and with good reason. Audio content prompts audiences to think more deeply about a topic and generates respect for the thought leader’s breadth of knowledge.

On a recent episode of “Intelligence Squared U.S.”, “Was Edward Snowden Justified?”, four debaters covered the Snowden NSA leaks. They solidified their opinions throughout the conversation by culling ideas from their expertise, and I came away with a greater knowledge of the topic — and an appreciation for all of the debaters. Recorded debates and speeches outside the podcast format also work as engaging audio content.

Each company and individual requires its own unique strategy and approach to establishing thought leadership. But it’s important to experiment with different platforms to keep your delivery fresh. This allows leaders in your company to quickly build a body of work that reflects their expertise and educates and entertains their audiences along the way. Download your Free Whitepaper

Posted on September 16, 2014

About Kelsey Meyer

Kelsey is the President and cofounder of Influence & Co. She loves reading, learning, golf, orange Gatorade, and, most importantly, her amazing I&Co. team.

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