Thought leadership is no longer just a buzzword. At a time when trust plays a significant role in influencing purchase decisions and shaping perceptions, thought leadership has grown to become an effective PR strategy.
As per an Edelman-LinkedIn research study, 55% decision-makers said they use thought leadership to vet organizations they’re considering to work with, proving the importance of such content.
Thought leaders are individuals who are considered to be experts in their industry or niche. The idea behind creating thought leadership content is to deliver business value, engage with your audience and establish credibility.
It goes beyond hard selling techniques and focuses on creating insightful content that solves problems and offers solutions.
Apart from benefitting B2B companies, thought leadership also aids B2C and nonprofit communications.
So, here are four steps to becoming a LinkedIn thought leader and strengthening your brand.
Determine your target audience
Your thought leadership strategy needs to be in line with your target audience and business objectives.
So, the first step is determining the target audience you want to reach through your thought leadership content — what are their needs, interests, pain points and challenges?
Chalk out detailed buyer personas to gain a deeper understanding of your audience so you’re able to create compelling content that speaks to them and is of relevance.
Optimize your profile
Having a LinkedIn profile is not enough, you need to make it work for you. After all, it’s the first thing people will see and you need to ensure it gives them an accurate picture of your experience and expertise.
Here are the key factors you need to take into consideration while creating a profile:
● Professional headshot
● Crisp headline that includes industry keywords
● Banner image in line with your line of business
● Brief summary that determines your unique value proposition
● Filled in work and educational history
● Recommendations from clients and colleagues to build credibility
● Contact information
Optimizing your LinkedIn profile is a basic step but an essential one. When people arrive on your profile, you want it to speak volumes about the work you do and the value you (and your business) can add.
Deliver unique value
The key to winning thought leadership content is delivering unique value.
What’s more, we are living in an age of information overload which makes it increasingly difficult to cut through all that noise and stand out.
Sharing generic company updates will not make you a thought leader. People want unique insights, original content and real-world experiences.
You can post educational content, address industry trends, use data, share case studies or even conduct your own research.
It’s also equally important to ensure your post captures people’s attention and makes them want to read it. Hence, go beyond sharing all-text posts. Use original graphics and videos to communicate more effectively.
Another interesting format you can use is LinkedIn presentation — it lets you deliver content in an engaging way.
So, while planning your thought leadership content strategy, ask yourself — what are you saying differently? Why should people listen to you? How are you communicating your message?
Join and participate in relevant groups
LinkedIn groups are a great place to connect with like-minded individuals and reach prospects. You get the opportunity to amplify your message, strengthen your brand and position yourself as an expert.
So, identify relevant groups where you’re likely to find your target audience. Make sure you actively participate, strike conversations and add value by sharing useful content. You can also use these groups to conduct polls, surveys or questionnaires and uncover valuable customer insights.
Once you have made significant connections, you can also start your own LinkedIn group to attract prospects and build a highly engaged audience.
Whether you’re looking to create brand awareness, capture leads or generate revenue — it all stems from building trust which you can achieve by driving thought leadership.
However, it’s important to remember that thought leadership takes time, patience and consistency. So, focus on creating valuable content that your audience can derive value from and it’s sure to benefit you in the long run.