Are You a Thought Leader?

This morning I opened my Inbox to 34 unsolicited emails each touting a webinar, product, service, event, white paper, or how easily I can get low-cost prescription frames. At that moment I hold down the shift key and start clicking through all of the email titles that I don’t want to read, and when ready, I delete them all. Which ones do I save? Any email with an interesting subject line promising relevant educational content or from an industry authority whose messaging I value.

Creating those interesting subject lines is part art form, part science, part luck—and the subject for another day. Establishing yourself as a trusted authority, on the other hand, is mostly down to hard work creating and distributing valuable content. Lots of hard work. And lots of valuable content. But the rewards are many. To get your message through to a target audience who sees you as a go-to resource is invaluable. Reaching that position of authority is a challenge, but if you’re ready to put in the time, energy, and expense, you can find yourself in the enviable position of having a listening audience ready to receive your message.

As a thought leader in your industry, your main role is to issue useful, educational, informative content and advice. Your point of view, your input or commentary on industry trends and news, your predictions about future direction and pending challenges, and action items that your audience can use in their day-to-day business. It is also advantageous to distribute this content in a steady stream of manageable, bite-sized pieces across multiple marketing channels where your audience can find and absorb them through various devices when they have time to dedicate to the task.

Critical to creating your thought leadership voice is approaching it from an agile, iterative point of view. That is, be prepared to test your content, review the feedback, and loop that feedback back into the creation process where you then make necessary adjustments and revisions and continue with the next round. This feedback loop allows you to fine tune your voice and messaging so that you and your audience have the best chance of staying on the same wavelength. If your feedback is telling you that you’re pushing too many buzzwords, change it. If you’re hearing that you are speaking at such a high level that your audience cannot translate your advice into action items, change it. Pay attention to how your target market is responding to your voice and always make sure that you are providing value that meets their needs and expectations.

Surely, much of this can be regarded as Marketing 101. But you’d be surprised at the number of customers we work with who have become lost in their own message. Their web pages, brochures, marketing emails, and webinar slides are awash in industry buzzwords and marketing babble. There’s no better way to kill your chances of establishing yourself as a thought leader than to flood your messaging with useless sales pitch verbiage. At BizDelta, we continue to guide companies through changing their messaging strategy to avoid such common pitfalls. Why not check your own messaging right now? Here’s hoping you don’t find superlatives and buzzwords—but instead find thoughtful, practical insight on your industry that supports positioning you as an authority worthy of holding a thought leadership role.