You can say that you’re an industry authority or subject-matter expert all you want. But until you walk the talk, you’ll struggle to stand out among a growing crowd of faux entrepreneurs. You probably know that true leaders inspire others to action with their ideas. At a certain point, even the most well-connected person will lose their audience to someone who truly has something of value to offer.
That’s why thought leaders need to use content marketing to elevate their personal brand. Talk is cheap — but content marketing is more than what you say. It’s how you say it and the TRUE value that you provide! When done well, you’ll build a community around your ideas. Now that’s thought leadership — and the recipe for success.
Read on to learn why thought leaders need to use content marketing — and how to get started.
Prove Your Credibility
It’s easy to drop names and slap your degrees and certifications on your profile. Unfortunately, many people have done that even if they don’t have credible experience or education. People are skeptical of others’ LinkedIn profiles and websites — and rightfully so. Rather than listing your bio — no matter how impressive — let your expertise shine with valuable, original content.
- Share your published articles and presentations with your audience. If you don’t (yet) have these, create them:
- Release SlideShare presentations.
- Self-publish on Medium.
- Write an e-book.
- Launch a YouTube channel.
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Let these content pieces complement each other and establish your brand across your digital presence. Instead of relying on fluffy bios or resumés, you’ll demonstrate clear credibility and subject-matter expertise.
Build Trust with Your Audience
Trust is in short supply in today’s digital landscape. People have been burned by too many snake-oil salespeople and fake gurus. They’re skeptical of anyone who purports to be a thought leader. How can you gain clients or win speaking opportunities in such an environment?
The solution is to dial back your self-promotion and focus on your audience. Just as if you were giving a talk, you’re there to provide value to your listeners — not to blather on about yourself. Let your ideas speak for themselves, wrapped up in a relatable, trustworthy package: you! That will empower you to cut through the noise and build a more trusting relationship with your audience.
In terms of content marketing, this includes releasing valuable content (see item 1 on this list) and aligning it with your audience’s top concerns. Then, cultivate conversation. Enter spaces where your audience spends time. Invite comments on your ideas — don’t simply publish and run. Be open to feedback. Remember: the best leaders inspire action rather than demand it.
Warm People Up to New Horizons
One problem with many fluffpreneurs and mock gurus is that they push sales before establishing a relationship. Whether you’re building a consulting business or trying to get published or booked, you won’t get far with promotion alone. Those who do convert with minimal engagement are typically not the type of clients you want, anyway.
Instead, let your ideas intermingle with your audience. Invite them to muse and reflect on your ideas. Bring their thoughts into the conversation. Show them the value you offer, but keep them on their buying journey.
There’s really nothing like content marketing to achieve this. Ads, landing pages, cold emails, even your most impassioned social post…they’re all ultimately limited in their reach. If your audience isn’t warmed up to your ideas, they seem like cash grabs. Save those tactics for those who are truly eager to hear what you have to say.
After providing all that valuable information and expertise, you have an audience that trusts you. Only then can you call them to action: buy your book, download your worksheet, book you to speak, etc.
Sustain Client Relationships
Content marketing does much more than empower your conversions. You don’t have to stop providing value once you land a client or a gig. In fact, the relationship only gets stronger with constant content marketing. It’s your top method to retain your clients or perpetually engage your audience for future endeavors.
Many thought leaders create literal communities around their personal brand. There, they can continue digging into their ideas and providing value to their audience. Members also play a huge role in growing the brand as they share your ideas and invite friends and colleagues to join. There are several ways to translate your content into social opportunities, including:
- Private Facebook groups
- Email newsletters
- LinkedIn groups
- Patreon subscriptions
Think outside the box — we know you’re good at that! Imagine how your expertise can best serve your ideal clients. Then, create opportunities to continue doing so. You’ll cultivate meaningful relationships that sustainably support your endeavors.
Thought Leaders Need to Use Content Marketing – Plain and Simple!
As a thought leader, your primary source of value is, well, your thoughts! Skip the cheap sales-y tactics and leverage content marketing to forge strong relationships with your target audience. Be authentic, helpful, and ultimately valuable to them. Let your ideas guide your marketing efforts rather than the other way around. Once you start that momentum, you’ll grow an engaged community around your personal brand. And that’s worth more than any fancy LinkedIn profile.
Did we convince you that thought leaders need to use content marketing? 🙂 Awesome! But don’t know where to begin? We get that too! That’s why we’re here to help. When you work with us at Breezy you get an entire content marketing team right out of the gate to make creating thought leadership content easy and effective! Get started right here!