Why You Don’t Need to Fear the Phrase ‘Thought Leadership’

Written on 03 November, 2016 by Cassie McBlane
Categories Blog

In modern marketing, the term ‘thought leader’ is often thrown around as a way to fluff up a conversation and give a sense of self-importance. That’s all well and good, but for thought leaders who are actually breaking new ground in digital marketing, it’s beyond frustrating. These days, there are thousands of self-proclaimed “growth hackers” and “thought leaders” who are ordinary people with social media accounts. But when it comes to a genuine, authoritative thought leader, the difference is phenomenal. These individuals can fluctuate traffic, change online trends and—obviously—influence the way people choose to think. They’re creators of behaviour.

How can you start being a thought leader?

I’m talking real thought leadership—not airy fairy efforts that just result in vague content spread across your social and digital channels. It’s time to hone your niche, and that starts with knowing exactly how to effectively curate content. This aspect is critical to the overall credibility of your business or personal brand presence. By identifying high quality content across the web and re-purposing it by sharing the work of others on your own streams, you’ll identify yourself as an influencer and a contributor to the industry. You put in a little, you get a whole lot back.

Curating is not an easy task though, and it’s not something you can just jump into without understanding how it works. Sharing links to third-party sites means you run the risk of losing audiences to competitors or other platforms, but it’s sometimes a risk you must take. Furthermore, pushing out broken or low quality links can kill your strategy entirely. It pays to know what you’re doing, and if you don’t, it’s important that you consult someone who does.

However, when you find that little golden nugget of perfect, flawless content, it’s an evergreen win. Really. You’ll find the traffic flows constantly and the results will be infinite on your Google Analytics dashboard. These are the pieces you see constantly being retweeted across Twitter, or flowing through Reddit. They were created by thought leaders and shared by them too. And these writers aren’t people to be intimidated by. They haven’t done anything spectacular. They’ve just understood and taken advantage of how the cycle works, and now they’re reaping the benefits.

Finding the best content is not a mammoth task. In fact, it’s completely do-able, thanks to tools like BuzzSumo, which allow you to pinpoint what’s pulling volume across the web. Thought leaders across the net use third-party platforms like this to better understand who and what is influencing their audience, and then take advantage of topics that are going viral. This becomes a part of that endless cycle of curation, and eventually, turns into credible, evergreen content.

Excuse the cliché…

Never give up. We know it is said too often and has lost its meaning, but it’s critical to pursue on in order to get anywhere. If you plan to start influencing people the way others do online, you have to be in it for the long haul. Curate content and create a bank through a tool like Buffer that lets you schedule it up automatically. Repeat. Repeat. Repeat. When a discussion begins with those tuning into all your content sharing, make sure you return the engagement. The cycle continues.

Above all, remember everyone around you has a voice too, so you need to shout loudly. Tell the world why what you’ve got to say is more important than what others are blasting.

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