Between the “new normal” keeping us from attending events, classes, and conferences and the ever-expanding list of digital technologies, tools, and tactics, it’s a constant challenge to stay up-to-speed on your industry and profession.

This creates a huge (and growing) demand for content. There is always an appetite for more and there’s never been a better time to join the thousands of contributors creating content for digital publications.

There are several benefits, least of which is the traffic you might draw from people clicking on links to your website in the content you publish.

Benefits of thought leadership include:

  • Awareness of your brand
  • Awareness of you as an expert and your views on your industry
  • Growing your social media following
  • Original content you can share on your own social media
  • Inbound links from high-authority industry publications
  • Credibility that helps you get published in larger publications

A study on the value of links as ranking factors conducted in 2020 by Perficient showed an increasing correlation between links from high-authority sites and rank in search results (Source: Perficient).

This is possibly the most important benefit of a thought leadership practice, but the intangible value of your peers and potential customers seeing your words published in a respected publication should not be overlooked.

Producing thought leadership content has many benefits but “the catch” is producing quality content can be a time consuming process. Fortunately there are habits and tools which can ease the burden of regularly publishing thought leadership content.

Here are five simple (and quick) habits to publish more quality thought leadership content in less time:

Create Twitter lists of thought leaders in your space and monitor them daily

Twitter is full of vocal thought leaders, experts, bloggers, and other content creators promoting their work -which can be quite good if you know where to look.

There’s no go-to directory of experts to follow on Twitter (unfortunately) but you can quickly assemble a list of smart people on nearly any topic using only Twitter Advanced Search and Google. Plus, any time you enjoy an article you read, check the author’s byline and add them if possible.

Twitter Lists are a simple, but effective way to curate tweets so that you can quickly review what’s happening in your space and then react.

Follow specialists across multiple niches within your field to gain a breadth of deep insights, standing on the shoulders of experts, as it were.

Curate the data, ideas, and content they share and provide context on it to your network, or in your blog posts and other content, as a way to borrow their genius and add your own.

Scan headlines from relevant digital publications covering your industry at least once a day with Feedly

Feedly, if you’re not already a fan, is probably the best news reader out there, is free, and does just about everything you need a news reader to do pretty darn well.

With a news reader like Feedly, it’s easy to track dozens of publications, and even search through all the content, in one place with a very simple interface. Even better, you can attach IFTTT and Zapier integrations to Feedly in different ways to automate aspects of your thought leadership practice, such as sending content to your social media queue.

Spend 20 minutes a day scanning headlines, curating content to a social media scheduling tool like HootSuite, Buffer, or SocialOomph, and bookmarking articles / clipping quotes for use in your own content.

Get alerted to relevant topics and stories affecting your industry with MarketChorus Resonance as they’re published

Monitoring industry news and reacting to it is a very effective way to provide value to your network without having to spend hours developing your own narratives. Simply watch and react, giving useful interpretation to your audience that highlights your expertise.

Having the right tool makes all the difference and, in this case, MarketChorus Resonance is that tool (get a free account).

Tracking topics and stories across dozens of niche publications is a chore and spotting emerging trends before they become old news is quite difficult. MarketChorus makes it easy by automating the search and alerting you when relevant content is published.

Craft a search from keywords or simply paste in an article to find similar content. Refine with advanced search features similar to Google or Twitter. When you’re satisfied with your results, save the search as an alert to receive notifications when new, related content is published.

With a steady stream of relevant content delivered right to you, you can create and share more content, increasing your visibility as a thought leader.

HARO is the acronym for “Help A Reporter Out”, a newsletter service that connects journalists and bloggers with subject matter experts, to provide quotes for articles in exchange for a mention, and typically, a link to the source’s website.

Sign up for free to receive the HARO newsletter and you’ll receive emails in the morning, afternoon, and evening, with questions on all types of topics and the conditions for answering them as a source (occupation, expertise, etc).

Reply to the unique email address associated with the question you’re answering and provide your basic information (name, job title, website, etc.). It’s quick and simple and you can answer multiple questions a day, increasing the odds of earning exposure.

If your response is used by a journalist then you’ll receive a mention and a link (most of the time), improving visibility and, over repeated mentions, increasing your rank in search results.

Use A Tool Like Evernote To Capture Quotes, Notes & Thoughts

As the day wears on, we forget most of the information we consume. We simply can’t process all of it enough, consciously, to get it to stick.

If you’re doing all of the activities I’ve mentioned and then forgetting most of it, that’s a pretty tragic waste of your time.

The best way I’ve found to collect all the random bits of information that add up to a quality piece of thought leadership content, without knowledge leakage, is to use a tool like Evernote to clip quotes, notes, etc. religiously.

Saving bits of information you find online is quick and easy, if you use the Evernote Chrome extension.

You can save an entire webpage as a bookmark or simplified (text) version of the article or just a snippet of the page, like a quote, bullet-point list, or recipe.

Make clipping interesting facts, quotes, and other tidbits of information a regular habit and then review your treasure trove of data occasionally and create thought leadership from the insights that present themselves.

Photo: Jeffrey Paa Kwesi Opare

Now is the time…

There’s really never been a better time to produce thought leadership content. People are consuming more content than ever before, as incredible as that sounds. The barrier for entry is low as long as you start from the small blogs and publications and work your way up. And it can do wonders for search and brand visibility.

It’s easy to shrug off this potential if you are already busy, as most business leaders are, but a few good habits and a little automation can go a long way to ease the burden of thought leadership.

Spend a few minutes a day gathering data and resources, monitoring for opportunities to engage, and a few hours a week producing and sharing your original content and I guarantee you’ll be doing more than the average professional in your position. It all adds up and over time your thought leadership will build momentum around your brand.

The effect is largely intangible in the moment but exceptional over time, if you stick with it. That’s why good habits and consistency are so important. A little bit, over a long time, will do tremendous good for your brand.