With the plethora of platforms now available to aspiring thought leaders, the question is where to begin your journey.
Ask around (and other than the odd exception), the overwhelming response is: blogging is best.
Safe haven to clarify your ‘thought leadership’ ideas
I like to think of my blog as the jumping off point for all my thought leadership activity and a secure, non-threatening place to begin formulating my ideas.
Only once I have completed my post, do I dip into other thought leadership platforms such as social media, publicity, podcasts, videos and so on. The idea of speaking into a microphone or having a video camera poking into my face before I have my thoughts down pat is just too fearful to contemplate (at least for now).
I usually kick off the blogging process by jotting down my ideas which always prompt some research. This follows with the percolating of ideas over several days before finessing my thoughts and arriving at my final product and hitting the PUBLISH button.
I am also using my blog to gradually develop content for my thought leadership business book
Doing it over a period of time (in my case 6-8 months), reduces unnecessary pressure and gives me the opportunity to deepen my knowledge and further develop my thoughts and opinions. This means the book I finally pull together will have been thoroughly researched and will hopefully be my last word on the topic.
However, I won’t have wasted any time as I will have built up a blog following in the process.
Blogging helps you stay ahead of the thought leadership curve
Publishing timely content on a regular basis forces you to research the latest trends and news in your field of expertise which in turn encourages you to be forward thinking – one of the critical foundations of being a thought leader.
In an age where the business landscape is rapidly evolving, a bit of foresight will doubtless be hugely appreciated, not only by customers and clients, but also by those in your industry, even ecosystem.
Easy amplification of your thought leadership message
As most those building their thought leadership profiles are doubtless aware; blogging on your own little desert island – particularly at the start of your journey – is a huge mistake. You have no captive audience so no matter how incredible your posts are, your efforts are unlikely to produce results.
Fortunately blog content lends itself to easy amplification of your thought leadership message.
- Social media. This includes posting your blog on LinkedIn, Medium, and Quora and whatever social media platforms you have opted to use.
• Email lists. Ask most successful bloggers what the top source of traffic is to their blog and they’ll tell you that email is one of the best. Bottom line, your database will ensure you always have someone to get your message to!
• Guest post. Once you have been blogging for some time, kick things along a bit by guest-posting. Guest posting not only helps you reach audiences interested in your area of expertise, but is external validation that your perspective matters!
• Blog forums: Blogging on top forums in your niche is also a good source of traffic.
• Syndicate your content to top blogs: Many top blogs and networks will allow you to republish your content on their site with credit back to you. However your content needs to be good!
That said publishing regular articles (ideally weekly) still remains the most effective mechanism for building a blog following.
However, you need to keep at it, knowing full well that you may not see measurable results for quite some time. That’s quite normal. The benefit of thought leadership through blogging comes with time. The longer you are known for providing your audience with quality content and insights, the more credible you become as a thought leader.