The Value of Leveraging Your Thought Leaders

Jun 24, 2019

In today’s media market, communicators must navigate through an unprecedented number of platforms and ways to reach their target audience. With so many options to choose from, it can be difficult to grab your audience’s attention, and even harder to keep it! With that said, it is critical to develop and embrace new ways for your brand to remain relevant in a crowded market. One way to accomplish this is by successfully leveraging your company’s talent as thought leaders. Most recognize a thought leader as an individual or organization that holds authority and influence in a specialized subject matter. In communication, building and marketing your team members to become “leading experts” offers a direct return on investment.

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A successful thought leadership program has become indispensable to staying ahead of the game, especially in the digital sense. Identifying the value in promoting your company’s thought leaders can be the key to bolstering your brand. When executed strategically and successfully, a thought leadership program can help better position your company in the following ways:

Boost Credibility:

Establishing an individual or team as a knowledgeable reference within your industry, media market, or community positions them as a “go-to” person on a given topic. Audiences are more inclined to listen to a subject matter expert with a strong and credible point of view. Developing this relationship forms the foundation to establish trust and earn confidence from the desired audience. Successfully marketing your company’s thought leaders can allow you to build stronger relationships with newer, broader audiences. Building this rapport creates a snowball effect of conversations, enhances brand recognition and increases customer referrals.

Increase Effectiveness:

Producing interesting, innovative and opinionated content is the crux of a successful thought leadership program. Generating content that is easy to digest, effortless to share, and matters to the right people allows your brand to more effectively meet your clients’ needs. In particular, building a strong digital presence filled with unique content and developing a reliable network that can be mobilized serves as an essential problem-solving tool.

Once established as a marketable thought leader, the content produced can create conversations and headlines, reversing the traditional role of who pitched who. Building stronger relationships with media, industry and community leaders creates the opportunity to leverage those relationships when necessary.

Differentiate Your Brand:

What about your brand stands out to a prospective client? Incorporating a strategic thought leadership program can set your leaders above the competition, making it an easy choice for new clients. Regularly publishing and promoting unique perspectives, insights and analysis as part of a thought leadership program enables your brand to stand out, become more attractive and ultimately grow. Identifying and filling content gaps left by the competition is essential to differentiate your brand in the crowded marketplace. Another way to accomplish this is by rethinking your content delivery method and redesigning the avenues used to reach new audiences while maintaining existing audience engagement. Marketing your thought leaders with a strategic content publishing plan not only increases awareness of your brand but also makes it more desirable to both prospective and existing clients.

Strengthen Networks and Relationships:

Thought leadership is about constant innovation to grow your brand. It is a critical component to any growth strategy and can be as valuable to your business as the services you offer. A successful thought leadership program has the ability to redefine your audience while strengthening your existing network. Sharing strong, unique viewpoints on cutting edge industry practices regularly creates the opportunity for conversations with the right people and solidifies the decision of existing clients to choose you and your business. Taking the time to invest in a thought leadership strategy to reshape the way your brand engages audiences is essential to growing your brand.

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Elizabeth A. Hansen is the Executive Vice President at Southwest Strategies. She brings extensive experience in community, government and media outreach programs, assisting public and private clients through the entitlement process. Read her full bio here.

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