By now, you have a website, which is your most critical marketing asset. It's the central point that brings all of your digital marketing efforts together.
But your website is also your brand. It tells a story about you. Through it, you have the opportunity to offer your compelling view of the world, your unique point-of-view (POV). If you've positioned yourself well, there's a way to support and amplify your position.
That's though thought leadership.
However, it's often touted as some corporate buzzword, which has become so hackneyed, mentioning it can cause a few eye-rolls. The issue is that marketers often misinterpret and bastardize this concept, which adds to its stigma.
I've heard some say that it's simply content marketing while others say it's having a radical opinion. It's neither and it's both. Let me explain.
Thought leadership simply means to lead with thought. It's to share new thoughts or “pioneering thinking,” as the Oxford Dictionary says.
A thought leader is a recognized expert who offers ideas, insights, and guidance on a new way of thinking, a new way to look at the world, that others can appreciate and follow, and even apply to their own lives or businesses.
You can demonstrate your knowledge and expertise with the help of content marketing. You can even share your thoughts about your work and industry, too. But thought leadership goes a step further.
If you inject your content with your unique approach, innovative ideas, and an inspiring point-of-view, you lead by example. Or better said, your thinking does. You become an authority with sought-after knowledge and expertise.
Your insights help create thought leadership.
Your website is the ideal platform from which you can provide a steady flow of thought leadership. In doing so, your content will help with your SEO and attract potential clients naturally.
But there's an added benefit, too.
If visitors land on an article coming from a search engine, they're looking for information. But your positioning and your ability to help may not be as clear or obvious. Chances are, once they're done reading, they will leave never to return.
But by reading your insights, potential clients will become aware of your unique way of looking at the world. If it resonates with them, it will entice them to learn more about you and what you have to say.
While there, they will:
- Signup for your newsletter,
- Dive deeper into your blog to read other articles,
- Visit your core pages to learn more about what you do,
- And perhaps even contact you, looking to hire you.
Thought leadership creates attractability.
By leading them with your thinking, your website can lead them to learn more about the challenges you solve and your ability to solve them.
Ultimately, whether you use it as a business or marketing strategy, thought leadership is not about making some huge intellectual or innovative splash. And it's not about becoming an opinionated revolutionary, either.
It's about sharing how you think and not just what you think.