Own What You Know: 4 Ways to Do Thought Leadership (Without Feeling Slimy)

4 Ways to Do Thought Leadership (Without Feeling Slimy)


In Part I of our Thought Leadership series, I covered 3 Ways Thought Leadership Can Help Your Marketing. Need to catch up? Click here to read.

Some companies are hesitant about thought leadership as they don’t want to appear self-righteous or slimy. However, when done properly, thought leadership does the opposite, positioning individuals and companies in a way that can help others.

First, own what you know! It’s completely okay to do so; in fact it’s what sets you apart from your competitors. Thought leadership allows your company to share what it’s known for by being transparent about knowledge and sharing the information.What do you do best? There should be no harm in owning it!

If you are still uncertain about thought leadership and the way to approach it, here are a few ways you can ensure your company is viewed in a positive light.

Focus on your industry

Thought leadership is a great way to add to the overall conversation of your industry. This allows leaders to think differently about industry standards and share that information. Discuss the trends that you’ve witnessed over the years instead of putting the main focus on your company.

Quote others

If you don’t want your entire thought leadership piece to be about your input or opinion, include quotes from other experts. Sharing this information shows that you are attuned and knowledgeable about what other people have to say in your trade. Having similar ideas as other industry leaders helps position you as a top contributor, as well.

Educate and inform

Good thought leadership educates and informs. Educating leads to trust, which leads to action, which leads to increased value. When you sit down to create your thought leadership strategy, keep in mind the audience and how you can help them. One of the easiest type of content pieces for this is how-tos. They can be directly related to what your company does or related to a larger theme in your industry or business in general. For example, Mark Caswell, CEO of KSM Consulting, frequently shares thought leadership on topics around company values, design thinking, and more. While these topics aren’t selling their services directly, they help showcase KSMC’s company values and the approaches they use when working with clients. Read his How To Build A Mission-Driven Culture That Will Thrive Post-Pandemic on Forbes.

Free, shareable content

With thought leadership, you want to ensure that the people who benefit the most from the information are reading and engaging with it. In order for them to read and engage, they have to be able to easily access and share it. That means thought leadership content should be freely available. Consumers want to feel that their needs and wants are being addressed, not the company’s, so steer clear of charging people for your thought leadership pieces (even if the price is an email address).

No matter which direction you choose when it comes to developing thought leadership content, it’s important to remember the key goal: be helpful. Successful thought leaders develop a relationship with their audiences as they share their thoughts. Having a drive to help your audience only draws more people to you and ultimately your company.

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