How to Become a Thought Leader in Today’s Competitive Marketplace

A thought leader carries a level of credibility that makes others want to pay attention to what they have to say giving them a competitive advantage. This is extremely important for brands, whose goal should be to have a handful of well-respected thought leaders on staff giving the overall brand a higher level of credibility in front of clients, employees and industry observers. But there is more to it than just that.

Thought leaders provide insight based on their experience and passion. They share their expertise through industry stories, blog posts, videos, infographics, eBooks and on social media. By providing real value through these channels and as they build a reputation, they attract business, especially in the B2B market.

Two-thirds of executives, according to a study by Grist, look for thought leaders to help them stay ahead of the curve. Furthermore, executives are more willing to buy from thought leaders, especially in the complex world of B2B sales. They are even willing to pay a premium to work with thought leaders.

Example of a Thought Leader

That competitive advantage comes from five emerging trends, all of which add to the importance of positioning yourself as a thought leader.

  1. CEOs aren’t as trusted as they once were
    Business leaders are looked at with increasing skepticism in each market. Recent studies have shown that a shrinking number of people view CEOs as highly credible. That leaves a massive pool of people who are looking for businesspeople who they can trust. This has created a market for fresh thought leaders to emerge who may reside outside the C-Suite.

  2. People are demanding high-quality content
    Content marketing is the biggest trend in business communications right now. By providing free, valuable, actionable guides and content, businesses build trust with potential clients. It generates leads and then it converts them to sales. But not all content is created equal. The standard people expect from this content is getting higher and higher. Creators on YouTube, bloggers across the web, and designers putting together infographics have built their skills and honed their messaging. It is not just presentation, but the insight as well which is getting more developed. Spending time going in-depth on a topic with genuine fresh content will build your credentials.

  3. B2B decision making is complex
    The responsibility for B2B purchasing decisions is not something one individual wants to get stuck with. This has spread the decision-making process across departments and levels. By being a thought leader, it makes it easier for people to justify purchasing goods or services from your business. They have evidence to point to that makes their choice easier to validate.

  4. It sets you apart
    By being a thought leader, you stand above the crowded market. With the internet making it easier than ever to launch a new company and compete, you need every edge you can get. Cultivating your image as a thought leader is one such advantage.

  5. Demonstrating experience wins clients
    By putting together case studies and relating your own experience, you not only build yourself up as a thought leader, you make it easier for businesses to see what value you contribute. Putting positive customer experiences out there attracts more customers.

PR has proven to help establish, solidify and reinforce thought leaders. PR representatives, particularly at agencies that understand the market, can introduce a brand’s thought leaders to respected journalists who are always looking for trusted, credible sources of information to either contribute insights to a story, or author inspiring and thought-provoking opinion columns. Through these vehicles of communication, readers will gain exposure to you as a thought leader and obtain a higher level of comfort and trust with your brand.

Thought leadership is an important brand building tool. By harnessing your experience and passion, you can give your business the opportunity to grow and expand. Learn how we can help promote your brand’s thought leaders by contacting our expert PR team today.