Thought Leaders position themselves as experts in a particular industry or discipline and share their insight with a wider community. Thought Leadership Marketing takes this insight and uses it to build brand, generate leads and ultimately drive sales. When you see a reputed expert on a subject quoted in a news article, or a video on YouTube instructing you how to do a task, or a blog post offering insight into the latest trends or advances in a particular industry, this is very often part of a wider Thought Leadership Marketing strategy. They are positioning themselves as experts and hopefully setting themselves up as a potential business partner for interested parties.

A good Thought Leadership programme will help you to maximise results from your marketing budget. It should also go some way to reducing your reliance on dated business techniques, such as cold calling, while helping your business to shorten its sales cycle. By carefully positioning content, you will not only attract attention to your business but also help qualify leads (i.e. sort the wheat from the chaff) and even solicit enquiries and orders. Some businesses are built on very little more than great Thought Leadership and a good transactional website – although most of us will still have to pick up the phone and speak to the occasional prospect or client from time to time.

In this respect, you can think of Thought Leadership Marketing as your hardest working employee. You could hire someone to sit on the phone and call between 30 and 40 prospects every day, perhaps generating one or two warmish leads to follow up on. Alternatively, you could spend half a day writing an 800-word article, publish it to a blog or trade publication, where it can potentially be read by many thousands of readers, and have the leads come directly to you. Thought Leadership Marketing empowers individuals within corporations to evangelise outside of the normal constraints of marketing. It is agile, adds personality to a brand and is perfectly suited to the socially enabled (networked) world in which we live.

Undoubtedly, social media will play a huge part of your Thought Leadership strategy, but be warned, it is neither the foundation nor structural makeup of your programme. Many people are socially connected; few are Thought Leaders.

Becoming THE Expert: Enhancing Your Business Reputation through Thought Leadership Marketing – Available now from Amazon Kindle (US, UK) and the Apple iBookstore (US, UK)

Thought Leadership is one of the most valuable marketing tools available to today’s entrepreneur. Not only is it highly affordable (largely free), it is also available to anyone with an opinion – and who doesn’t have one of them?

Becoming THE Expert explains how business owners, entrepreneurs, marketers and sales professionals can better position themselves as experts in their own particular industry and help to build brand awareness, generate leads and ultimately drive sales through the sharing of their detailed knowledge and insight.

Written in plain English and using real world examples, the book explains how to find your voice and then plan, create and distribute Thought Leadership Marketing campaigns using a wide range of channels including blogs, white papers, videos, podcasts, webinars, PR, the media, books, eBooks, public speaking opportunities and social media.

This book is for any business professional who values the idea of sharing knowledge, empowering the people they work with and building their reputation on the back of holding an open and honest dialogue with the communities they serve.