Better Thought Leadership Marketing
According to buyers, the two most important reasons they choose a firm are expertise and reputation. For firms trying to improve the expertise and reputation of their companies and attract more business, one of the most effective steps they can take is staffing thought leaders. But just what, exactly, are thought leaders? How does their presence affect the health of their firm? And how do you go about becoming one?
We set out to answer all of those questions in our latest research study. We surveyed more than 100 industry leaders with high marketplace visibility – and more than 1,000 purchasers of these experts’ services. This approach allowed us to gain valuable insight into both sides of the buying and selling equation.
What we discovered was that the path to becoming a thought leader is made up of seven building blocks. While the process doesn’t necessarily occur in any particular order, all seven components are essential to effective thought leadership marketing. The seven building blocks are:
- Commit to the process.
- Develop a strategy.
- Build visibility in a target market.
- Strengthen your expertise.
- Refine your communication skills.
- Become a teacher.
- Get the help you need.
If this seems like a lengthy process, don’t worry; there are ways to rise to expert status faster. In our research, we found a subset of experts who found a shortcut to success. We call these individuals “Fast-Trackers.” Not only do these professionals rise to the top faster than other experts, they also get more leads, partnership opportunities and speaking engagements. To top it all off, they also tend to charge higher rates.
However, Fast-Trackers don’t rise to fame faster by skipping any of the seven building blocks. Our research found these individuals actually add three extra steps:
1. Focus on a Target Market
Finding a niche market helps experts connect with “true believers” who can become advocates. In comparison with other thought leaders, we found those on the fast track were more than twice as likely to focus on a narrow target market. In doing so, they are able to differentiate themselves from competitors and build brand loyalty.
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