“Thought leadership” has been a buzzword we’ve heard a lot. It may seem like a cliché, but based on my experiences as a coach and business owner to entrepreneurs and corporate leaders, I can understand why it is so popular.
It works because it is done right.
This is what I know from personal experience. Over the past 10+ year, I have seen the benefits of thought leadership in the lives of the clients I’ve worked with.
You can build trust and credibility with your customers by affirming or building your thought leadership in the right places with the right audience. This will help you become the go-to voice within your industry and create amazing opportunities.
Here’s my story
In 2010, I had the wild idea of creating JobJenny.com. This platform would provide professionals with answers to their most pressing career questions. It would also help them navigate business and job transitions. And inspire them to live their best life.
I had hoped to start a side-hustle business to complement my job as a head of a recruitment agency. I would answer most of the questions that I was asked about career development and job search, assist people with their resumes and help them grow their businesses.
I wasn’t expecting this. I was quickly becoming a thought leader by sharing my firsthand experience with how recruiters think, work, and the lessons I learned while building my own business via my blog, LinkedIn and subscriber newsletter.
That’s exactly what happened. I was able expand my services, raise my prices (a lot), close my recruitment business and attract lucrative partners, including one with LinkedIn Learning.
Although my thought leadership success was not planned, it is possible to make them happen. Your business and your thoughts may be more effective if you plan strategically.
These five tips will help you create thought leadership on LinkedIn, which is one of the most popular platforms for small business owners.
1. Consider your most important audience and what they want to hear.
You’ll want to be able to express your views and share information that is meaningful to you. This will also align with your business’ goals. When it comes down to the matter, it’s important that you are speaking about topics that appeal to your ideal audience.
If you aren’t sure, my non-scientific method:
Check out the weekly questions you get via email, contact page and LinkedIn InMails. What are the most common questions people ask for help with?
My experience shows that posts that are inspired by real-life problems and questions get the most engagement and shares. You’ll likely find a similar trend. Start by going into your email and looking for a similar trend.
Your inbox contains the answers to your question “What should we discuss?” Get started.
2. Consider Your Unique Perspective
Are you able to identify what makes you and your company stand out? It’s important. Ask your customers to tell you what they love most about you.
As a reference point, my unique perspective is that I insist upon being approachable and relatable.
I want it to be clear that I am knowledgeable about my industry and know exactly what I’m doing. It is not easy to change jobs or careers. So, I try to be non-intimidating and non-boring while still being incredibly useful.
And, it’s working. This is why I was selected from a pool of 3,273,204 LinkedIn job search experts to create LinkedIn Learning video courses. I was able to land a long-term columnist position at The Muse, one of the most prominent players in the career space, and a new, top-secret writing project. You’ll see more about that later in 2022.
Identify what makes you unique and make sure you share that content.
3. Brainstorm what you’ll share
Once you have a clear understanding of your audience and your unique perspective, it’s time to start brainstorming topics that are in line with your goals. Linkedin is a great place to share opinion pieces, industry data analysis, case studies, AMAs, and interviews.
As a way to help potential customers in their job search, I have recently started using AMAs (via LinkedIn Live), as a way to direct them towards my paid offerings. Here’s my first. The results have been very promising so far. I have already seen why 87% of LinkedIn users who use LinkedIn video marketing are satisfied with the results.
When you brainstorm, make a list of the best ideas that you have and use it for inspiration over time. We are all so busy. It’s important to know what you will share on LinkedIn and when. This will allow you to stay on track.
4. Play to your Strengths
Entrepreneurs are most stressed when they have to chart a course for building thought leader status. The dreaded imposter syndrome is the number one worry.
Clients have often told me “But, I’m no writer” or “I’m afraid to speak on camera.”
The good news is that you don’t need to create original content. Perhaps you are better off vlogging, or answering Q&As via LinkedIn Live.
You don’t have to be a great writer or comfortable in front of the camera. As a curator, you can still create thought leadership.
These are the magical people that we all know and love in our news feeds. They find the most relevant articles, trends, information, and other interesting things. Based on what they have read, they pose questions. They invite us all to contribute. They encourage thoughtful discussion.
We come to know them by their passions, intelligence, and engagement in their respective areas of expertise.
They become thought leaders.
5. Always be authentic.
You will probably agree with me when i say there are many examples of “attempts” to build thought leadership on LinkedIn.
You’ll see something if you take a closer look at the stinkers. Authenticity is an essential ingredient in most of those who fall under the “worst” category.
People will buy from and align with brands they trust, like, or feel comfortable with. (In fact, 86% of consumers believe authenticity is crucial when choosing brands to support and like. If you become too focused on looking professional on LinkedIn or any other social media platform, you risk people not seeing who you are as an entrepreneur and person.
You must be strategic. If you want to leverage LinkedIn to affirm or establish your thought leadership, then you have to be the real deal.
Trust me, you’ll be so happy that you did.
Did you miss our previous article…