If you’re looking to change industries, advanced in your current career path, or develop your personal brand, thought leadership is a tool that you can use during this time of development.
This content is adapted from a presentation at Women in Technology International’s (WITI) 24th annual conference co-presented by Parna Sarkar-Basu, CEO & Founder of Buzz and Brand Marketing, and Pushpa Ithal, CEO & Founder of MarketBeam. The conference occurred from June 10-12, 2018 in San Jose, CA.
What is thought leadership and its benefits?
“A thought leader is an individual or firm that is recognized as an authority in a specialized field and whose expertise is sought and often rewarded.”
A thought leader can develop from any function in a company since knowledge lies in every part of the company, not just engineering, design, or marketing.
For startups, a way to develop thought leadership from a company level is to encourage everyone regardless of their job function to write one blog post per week because everyone has something to share.
It takes 30 minutes a week to develop thought leadership. Remember to start small, listen, and learn as you go!
Step 1: Where should you start?
Make the most of your network. Keep up to date and know your target audience. Start on social media by using networks such as LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter by doing the following:
Step 2: Engage in person
Take advantage of local Meet Ups, trade shows, and conferences. Talk to the audience you want to associate with. Think about “who do you want to emulate?” Identify those individuals and determine events to attend accordingly.
Step 3: How to scale your effort?
Now you’re ready to scale your effort. Here’s how you can do this:
Social networks: Quora and Reddit are great places to gain visibility and establish credibility.
In-person: Start speaking at events. Participate as a speaker for a company event. Speak on a professional organization’s panel. University alumni associations often look to re-engage with alumni.
Topics: Select topics you are passionate about that align with your expertise, or the expertise you want to build.
Content: Start writing your own content whether it’s a blog, podcast, going live on Facebook or YouTube, or publishing articles on LinkedIn or Medium.
Step 4: Content, content, content
You can share a few types of content with your network to develop your credibility as a thought leader:
Share your company content such as: product updates, press releases, white papers, or company blog posts that are readily available.
Suggest content to your Marketing team such as: industry news, opportunities to innovate, regulatory changes, and economic shifts.
Create original, engaging content