thought leadershipBuilding thought leadership is one of the primary reasons companies engage in PR, so that’s our editorial theme this month (in case you hadn’t noticed). But who exactly are “thought leaders” and why is this so important?

Thought leaders are not only the go-to people in their industry, but those who move and inspire others in their field. Becoming a recognized thought leader can attract new business, boost sales, and make you indispensable to your client base.

Btw, that photo was taken at a thought leadership panel discussion I participated in a few months ago, co-hosted by WWPR, ColorComm, and Johns Hopkins, all organizations I’m involved with in some capacity or other.

So, how do you start building thought leadership in your organization? Have a look-see.

1. The Best Way to Measure Thought Leadership

Why: “Measuring an investment you make in thought leadership is extremely difficult. Many B2B marketers (the market I usually work in) end up measuring thought leadership programs on leads or content consumption,” writes Eric Wittlake for {grow}, as he explores what your business should be tracking when developing a thought leadership presence.

2. How to Become a Leader in Your Industry Using Social Media

Why: “… I’m sorry to say that it’s not going to happen in a month or two. Building a lasting quality reputation through content marketing and social media takes consistent, concerted effort.” Brian Honigman, as he explores a “regimen to reap massive rewards” as a thought leader in your industry.

3. 6 Tips for Building Thought Leadership into Your Marketing Plan

Why: “Thought leadership is what positions your brand as an expert in your industry. It is creating content that positions yourself as knowledgeable and keeping potential customers or clients coming back to you for more insight and information in your industry,” says Tony Adragna as he explains how to get people to view your brand “as a respected voice.”

4. Why You’re Not Going to Be a Thought Leader in 6 Seconds

Why: “You don’t have to be a world expert, but if you can point to your expertise in your given community, you have career insurance in an unstable economic climate,” explains Dorie Clark as she speaks with Jay Baer about how you can “get people to understand why they should hire you and not somebody else who invariably is going to be cheaper” through thought leadership.

5. Content Marketing: Without Community, It’s Only Half the Equation

Why: “You spent the first few months creating great blog content… But three or four months down the road, your client is unhappy with the lack of shares and engagement.” I explain why community engagement is an incredibly important part of building thought leadership in this recent WUL post.

6. 9 Things True Thought Leaders Always Do

Why: “Entrepreneurs are movers, shakers, innovators, disrupters and creators. They don’t follow the beaten path; they blaze their own trail. With this kind of chutzpah, entrepreneurs possess the character and persona to become thought leaders – good ones.” In this post for EntrepreneurNeil Patel explores what you “need to know before assuming the mantle of thought leader.” My $0.02: if you’re just getting started and feel overwhelmed, I’d focus on #s 9, 5, and 3.

7. The Big Three Mistakes Professionals Make Attempting To Become Thought Leaders

Why: “With so many professionals seeking to position themselves as thought leaders, the competition is becoming increasingly intense. Consequently, in order to become a thought leader, professionals need to meet some very high standards,” says Russ Alan Prince in this post for Forbes where he outlines three common thought leadership mistakes you need to avoid.

How do you maximize your presence as a thought leader in your industry? Or, who do you know who’s doing this very well? Please share in the comments below.

Shonali Burke
Founder and publisher of Waxing UnLyrical, Shonali Burke helps smart businesses make bank by taking their communications from corporate codswallop to community cool™. She is also the founder of The Social PR Virtuoso®, which provides online, on-demand training that helps you unleash your inner Social PR superhero. Shonali is mad about ABBA, bacon, cooking, dogs, and Elvis, though not necessarily in that order. Wouldn't you like to be in her kitchen?
Shonali Burke