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How to Become a Thought Leader in Your Industry

By Abby October 20, 2019

Thanks to continually expanding digital mediums, information has never been more accessible. In fact, with over 1 billion active websites, 3.48 billion social media users, and 1.3 million successful ecommerce companies thriving in North America alone, the information market has reached a point of oversaturation. This places marketers and business owners in the difficult position of trying to create quality content that stands out from the noise.

Does having a louder digital voice than the next company make your brand a thought leader? Should your brand start to weigh in on difficult conversations to grow its authority? Should you blog about cutting-edge digital advances? Every brand is asking these types of questions, but the answers tend to differ. At Snap, we take the topic of thought leadership seriously and strive to help our customers stand out in their respective industries. Does your brand have what it takes?

What Is a Thought Leader?

More than just another corporate buzzword, a thought leader is a person or brand that offers informed guidance or insight on a specific subject to those around them. Providing expert knowledge of their industry and contributing to difficult conversations when appropriate, thought leaders publish relevant content that can’t be found anywhere else on the internet. 

Establishing Your Brand as an Industry Expert

If you’re interested in becoming a thought leader, it’s time to start establishing or growing your industry authority. A person can’t go to school and study to be a thought leader, nor can the title be bought. You’ll need to earn it by implementing marketing strategies designed to showcase your industry knowledge. Consider your brand’s existing strengths and areas of expertise—then lean into them and share your unique knowledge with the rest of the internet.

What Thought Leaders Don’t Do

Thought leadership is accomplished through sharing expertise and providing something of value to your industry and your customers. It’s a quiet process, and the rise to influence often takes time. Many brands try to take the easy route by calling themselves thought leaders and industry authorities before they’ve contributed any valuable insight. The best way to prove your leadership and expertise isn’t to claim it; instead, it’s to lead by example and keep providing insightful commentary on relevant issues within your sphere. 

4 Ways to Set Your Brand Apart

Being an expert isn’t enough; your brand’s unique voice also needs to stand out and appeal to your target audience. As your company consistently produces quality products or services, hones its expertise, and seeks opportunities to contribute to relevant conversations, keep these things in mind. 

Stick to Your Niche

No matter what industry you’re in, preach what you know. If you head an agency that specializes in running PPC campaigns, for example, ads are your area of expertise. Your brand’s years of experience are helpful to both current and potential customers, as well as adjacent brands who may want to learn from you. Your niche knowledge also speaks to your authority and leadership. 

Publish Quality Content Consistently

Blogging is a great way to start getting your brand’s name and expertise out there, but simply posting for the sake of posting isn’t enough to establish a position as a thought leader. Whenever you post content, make sure that it’s well-written, concise, and insightful. Take things to the next level by publishing a guest post from other experts in your industry or contributing to a respected industry publication. By publishing high-quality work more often, in a variety of sources and digital mediums, you’ll grow your audience and build name recognition. 

Don’t Just Work With Influencers—Become One

A number of brands work with influencers to increase their audience reach. Influencers provide a helpful boost to social content and strengthen brand reputation—but who’s to say you can’t also accomplish these things by humanizing your brand? Watch how influencers within your industry operate and succeed. Note how they approach big topics and drive the growth of their personal brand. Can you emulate them by interacting with other brands in your sphere? What about partnering with a company whose products or services could work in concert with yours?

Stay Current

Do you have predictions about where your industry is heading? Are you curious to see how new developments and technologies will change your niche? By expertly sharing these curiosities and driving innovation within your field, you’ll encourage your audience to associate you with other leaders in your industry. Never stop learning, and never assume your brand knows it all. Start seeing growth as a moving target instead of a mountaintop that’s reachable if you just climb fast enough.

Lead the Way With Snap

There’s no shortcut to becoming a thought leader in any industry. Driving meaningful conversations takes time, effort, and an authentic willingness to admit there’s always more to learn. If you’re passionate about thought leadership but need some help stepping up your game, connect with Snap. Our experienced strategists and social media teams are ready and waiting to start positioning your brand as a thought leader.

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