Creating awareness of your business is a key role for you as a leader. Thought leadership can increase your visibility to those who benefit most from your depth of knowledge. It’s sometimes called generosity marketing because you give away your expertise and share your unique perspective with others in your industry. In exchange, you’ll build your reputation as an expert worth following and a go-to person for services. Identifying and realizing your thought leadership can be a challenging task, but research shows that it undoubtedly pays off.
The value of thought leadership
Your thought leadership helps you stand out in your industry. By stepping into your expertise and focusing on those you want to serve, you’ll build trust with your audience and invite them to work with you. Your thought leadership will also attract the best employees to your team. People will see you leading and very clearly stating what you’re about, what your company does and how you bring the best to the table to serve your customers. They’ll want to be part of it.
There are additional business benefits of thought leadership, with word-of-mouth marketing at the top of the list. High–quality thought leadership is invaluable. It also clarifies and supports your business offerings. Contributing valuable information and helping people understand the trends in your industry puts you on the radar screen of decision makers and C-Suite executives. Your reputation will grow as an expert providing high-quality thought leadership and they'll come to you. They’ll see you as a resource to turn to when they need to learn about what's new in the industry. You’re building relationships, and transactions happen on top of relationships, not the other way around.
Research highlights the value of thought leadership and its role in building your reputation as a trusted advisor, generating sales leads and helping to close deals. Take, for example, the 2019 Edelman-LinkedIn B2B Thought Leadership Impact Study. It showed that 55% of decision-makers use thought leadership to evaluate potential vendors and partners and 58% said that thought leadership led directly to awarding business to an organization. Additionally, 47% of C-suite executives shared their contact information with a business after reading a compelling piece of thought leadership, 45% invited an organization to bid on a project after not previously considering them and 61% are more willing to pay a premium to work with an organization that has articulated a clear vision compared to one that doesn’t invest in thought leadership. The Value of Thought Leadership Survey conducted by Grist reinforces that business leaders want thought leadership. More than 84% of Financial Times Stock Exchange (FTSE) executives surveyed believe that strong thought leadership content adds value to their role. The majority of executives emphasize its importance in staying up to speed on key business issues (79%), decision making (76%) and taking a view on the future (76%).
Building awareness and credibility through thought leadership
The process of discovering and sharing what distinguishes you from the pack doesn’t happen naturally for everyone. Consider these tips to identify and elevate your own thought leadership.
- Recognize that you have the ability to be a thought leader. It may take some reflection to see and understand where your thought leadership lies, but you have the capacity to be a thought leader.
- Start putting your thought leadership out there. You have it. Now believe that you have it. The only way to be a thought leader is to put your approach and thinking out to your audience.
- Be generous, because that generosity will come back around for you. You're helping others in your industry by sharing your expertise and many will need to hire you to fully benefit from that expertise. No matter how many notes they take, they don't have your experience. They can’t see what you see or connect the dots in the way that you do.
Coaching is the first step to identify your thought leadership before working with a marketing firm to build a marketing strategy around it. Once you understand what you are bringing to the table, you’ll be able to develop better messaging and content that is specific to your expertise. That's where executive coaching can be valuable for you. I help my clients identify where they stand out and take that knowledge to build and support a team that is all working toward the same goal around the thought leadership of that leader. To explore coaching with me, schedule a 30-minute coaching discovery consultation.