We live in a Twitter-dominated world. A lot of information we consume is reduced to catchy 140-character sentences.
It is hard to deny that a well-written headline is more likely to receive a social media “like”.
With 2 Million blog posts published daily, many businesses are quick to jump on the content creation bandwagon.
However, if your goal is to stand out from the crowd and be memorable, the “bait and switch” approach is no longer enough.
Furthermore, just having a business blog is not enough. People resonate with other people. They are 10x more likely to share content from a thought leader within a company than from a corporate blog.
Thought Leadership is not a new concept, neither can it be built overnight. Many elements contribute towards building your own personal brand.
Well-defined Content Strategy is one of them.
But if just a mere mention of a content plan or developing thought leadership makes you cringe, break the process down into 4 simple steps.
1 – Listen and Engage Your Audience
Contrary to what you may think, writing is not the first step in creating your thought leadership content strategy.
The only way to create successful content is to understand what your audience wants.
A simple Google search will reveal a large number of top thought leaders in your field. Spend some time researching the language and the buzzwords they use as well as the topics they cover. Read their blogs and subscribe to their email.
Particularly pay attention to how and what they share on social media. It will help you identify “viral” content worthy of your writing time.
Build connections with the influencers by following and responding to them on Twitter or LinkedIn. It will take you one step closer to your audience.
2- Plan your Message and Content
If you are not clear on what your core message is, you will not be able to carry it out consistently. And consistency is key in the content game.
And consistency is key to the success in the content game.
As you further research your audience and influencers, you will get a good sense of key questions your customers have. Quora, Product Hub or other niche forums are perfect for finding verbatims
Take one of the most popular questions and create 10-12 related blog topics.
Think about depth vs. breadth.
True thought leaders go deep into a very specific area and align all of their content with it.
Start with 3-5 blogs and monitor your audience response to them. Are you getting comments? Is your content being shared on social media?
Learn from it before you create more blogs.
3 - Repurpose your content
Once you have a few blogs written, you will have a body of content to work with. By aligning your content with customer questions, you gain focus.
Your next step is not necessarily to create new content. Rather think through other types of content you can produce. Be creative and go beyond the blog format.
One of the easiest ways to repurpose your content is to combine a few of your blogs into a short ebook.
As an added bonus, you can also offer this ebook for your customers for download.
Furthermore, you can create a short presentation to accompany your ebook and a short email mini-course with more hands-on information.
For example, you can combine some of your blogs into a slide-deck or a short email mini-course.
Before you know it, you have created a speaker package that you can pitch to various industry events.
4- Content Sharing Plan
One of the biggest mistake you can make as a thought leader is to underestimate the power of social media.
If you only share your blog once or twice per blog, you are missing the power of social to carry your message.
Creating exciting content for social media is easier than you think: An average blog can be broken down into 10-15 social media-worthy quotes.
Also if you created additional types of content from your original blog, you can have several posts for each of the types of content.
However, you do not want your Twitter feed be just about you. Remember to also share relevant pieces from thought leaders – These could be blogs written by others, your commentary on the current events, trends and more.
While you will not establish thought leadership overnight, you have everything you need to become a thought leader.
When you are just starting, it may be a lonely game. You may feel that you are talking to yourself as your audience will be very small. Your engagement will also be rather slow. Do not get discouraged. Repeat the steps 1-4 regularly and create consistency in the content produce. If you persevere, you are guaranteed to succeed.