These 13 tips can help entrepreneurs showcase their skills and expertise to emerge as thought leaders in their fields.
Thought leadership is a good position to be in. You can showcase what you know, which drives client interest in your brand. After all, when experts speak, others listen.
But getting established requires patience and diligence. This isn’t a fast process, especially if you’re looking to create something sustainable. Content creators need to post regularly and with depth, and the subjects they discuss must matter to the industry. Don’t expect to keep your audience if all you post about are your latest promotions and company updates.
Not only do you need strong, well-researched content, you also need the right presentation and approach. This means you should make sure your interface is clean and your content is easy to share. It also means drawing in potential readers, by offering valuable information of your own or as a guest blogger on related sites. To help guide you through the process, members of YEC offer their advice:
1. Use Medium to start.
Medium is a great platform to get started with blogging and building up a following. Rather than start on your own blog that might not have a large readership, you can open yourself up to a massive one with Medium, and if you publish great content, it’s going to be seen. You can then leverage that experience to secure more prestigious guest-posting opportunities. It’s a long-term play, so don’t expect results overnight. – Jonathan Long, Blerrp
2. Cite your own data and customer success stories.
Create content driven by your own data and customer success stories to build credibility. Since we’re a PR tech company, we like to share when our customers see success with specific PR efforts. The stories tell themselves when they’re based off of what’s working for leading businesses. This works well in both blog content and thought leadership articles. – Sharam Fouladgar-Mercer, AirPR
3. Create newsworthy content.
Don’t create a blog for the sake of it. When creating content, make it worth the reader’s while by showing them how certain developments in current affairs will change your industry. This makes your content newsworthy, and it makes you quotable by any news outlet that is looking to back up (and backlink) its viewpoint. – Cody McLain, SupportNinja
4. Go deep when writing.
Entrepreneurs’ blogs are awash with shallow thinking, self-promotion and – worst of all – self-congratulatory humble-bragging. True thought leadership is all about careful, evidence-based analysis that reveals a deep understanding of your field. Your writing should add something new to the conversation, and it’s going to take time to think through and write. – Vik Patel, Future Hosting
5. Make your content question-based.
One of the simplest ways to generate useful, thoughtful and highly searchable content is to make it question-based. What questions did you have two years ago? Write as though you’re answering questions for yourself, based on where you were in your business a few years ago. Be the guiding voice you wish you had! – Kyle Goguen, Pawstruck
6. Choose a cadence for posting that you can stick with.
The biggest problem we see entrepreneurs make when they start blogging is that they write only when they have time, and let their blog die when they can’t focus on it. The key to building an audience that trusts you is consistency. Choose a cadence for posting that you can stick with, even through busy times. – Zach Obront, Book in a Box
7. Don’t insert sales pitches.
Resist the urge to sell through your blogs. If you insert sales pitches into your blogs, even subtle ones, people will stop reading. Instead, think about the problems your ideal customers are facing, and use your blog to help them solve their problems. – Ajay Gupta, Stirista
8. Come up with a title they can’t ignore.
Coming up with the right title is important, and it’s the best way to get a larger share of visitors. Eighty percent of people will read the headline of a blog post, whereas only 20 percent will read the actual post. Without an eye-catching title, no matter how good your content, it will go to waste. – Dave Nevogt, Hubstaff
9. Don’t underestimate coding and design.
A successful blog needs more than thought leadership. It needs careful attention to design, user experience, SEO and social media integration. Square away these foundations before you start writing to ensure your content is easily found, shared and consumed. – Sam Saxton, Paragon Stairs
10. Showcase a revolving door of influencers.
People read blogs to obtain insight into your world. Including a revolving door of influencers in your blog not only elevates the quality of your content, but demonstrates that you are truly a person in the know, as you are surrounded by top-notch professionals. – Abhilash Patel, Abhilash.co
11. Develop a deep understanding of your audience.
Try, as often as possible, to speak with the people you believe are your audience. You should understand them (almost) better than you know yourself. This type of intimate knowledge will lead you to the key insights your audience is hungry for. It will make you relevant, memorable and important. – Nicole Munoz, Start Ranking Now
12. Focus on your unique perspective.
Too many people attempt to be thought leaders with little in the way of original thought. At the same time, everyone brings a unique perspective to things. Focus on that uniqueness, and be brutally honest with yourself on your ability to provide high-quality content. If the niche is too small for consistent posts, then leverage other platforms where you don’t need to write as often. – Douglas Hutchings, Picasolar
13. Talk about your ‘why.’
Simon Sinek popularized the quote “people don’t buy what you do, they buy why you do it.” Since hearing it, I make sure that why I’m doing something is always apparent. Most information online is commoditized. The only unique factor that individuals can offer is their perspective, mission, vision or goal. Make that the central part of your message! – Krish Chopra, Nurse Practitioner Clinical Rotations
Scott Gerber is the founder of Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC), an invite-only organization comprised of the world’s most promising young entrepreneurs. In partnership with Citi, YEC recently launched BusinessCollective, a free virtual mentorship program that helps millions of entrepreneurs start and grow businesses.
Gerber is also a serial entrepreneur, regular TV commentator and author of the book Never Get a “Real” Job.