A thought leader is someone who actively tries to change how people think and, in turn, interact with the world in an effort to make it a better experience. These are the ground-shakers that are always pushing the status quo to help people understand ideas from new perspectives.
Becoming a thought leader is a worthy endeavor for any experienced business owner, as it opens up your company to new markets and presents your brand as an industry expert, which can build trust and attract more ideal clients. However, carving out your role as a thought leader isn’t as simple as adding those two words on your website’s homepage and calling it a day.
Instead, you need to earn the title of “thought leader.” Historically, a tried-and-true way to develop thought leadership is by earning press features. Even though you may not have full control of how your brand appears in third-party publications, being published builds trust and industry clout. Unfortunately, the tumultuous nature of this year has proven that crises can turn the media on its head and present unique challenges for business owners when it comes to getting published.
Fortunately, you have platforms of your own—particularly your website, social media, and email newsletters—where you can provide valuable content that inspires and educates your target audience and positions your business as a thought leader in the industry.
Why Content Marketing?
Content marketing is arguably the best method of defining your role as an expert. At its core, content marketing is all about telling larger stories about yourself, your services, your values, and your beliefs over time. Believe it or not, it often takes six to eight touchpoints for a potential client to even notice you, let alone consider doing business with you.
With a strong content marketing strategy, you build a layered story for prospects to follow and get to know you better in a natural way. By the time they’re ready to make a booking decision, they’ll trust you and be pre-sold on your offers. Selling becomes exponentially easier when you’ve warmed potential clients up with useful content marketing
Additionally, because most small and local business owners don’t put the time or energy into content marketing, you can beat the competition cheaply and sustainably by showing up with valuable resources for your ideal clients. The best part is that, when you’re generous with information on your website, your best website articles will grow in marketing value as Google indexes your website in search results — further securing your role as an industry thought leader.
Getting Started with Content Marketing
When you’ve been in business for a while, you start to see patterns throughout the industry. You notice the things that work well, as well as the prevalent issues that are missing viable solutions. When a true thought leader sees their clients struggling with the same problems over and over, they don’t wait around for someone else to fix it — they come up with their own solution.
This is where you want to begin as you dive into the world of content marketing. Start with the problem you see no one is solving and begin pulling content ideas out of it. You likely have strong opinions about what should and shouldn’t be done. For guidance, fill in these blanks:
“I believe my customer should be able to ________.”
“It’s unfair or inefficient that my customer has to _________.”
“The industry would be better if vendors __________.”
“Wedding professionals would serve clients better if _________.”
Once you have a solid list of ideal situations and industry challenges, brainstorm topic ideas that help your ideal clients realize their dreams and goals and overcome any problems or challenges. Then, simply take your topic to your platform of choice. If you love writing, feel free to write long-form blog posts (yes, people still read). If you’re hooked on Instagram Stories, focus on creating video content. When you start small on a platform you love, you’ll be more motivated to keep going and create awesome resources for your audience. Contrary to popular belief, you don’t have to be everywhere all the time with all of the ideas. You just need to find your happy place online, produce valuable content, and grow from there when you’re ready.