Danny Shepherd

Co-CEO, Intero Digital

Danny Shepherd, co-CEO of Intero Digital, has over 15 years of experience in the digital marketing space, with a desire to “crush it” for our clients. Danny is an integrator, disruptor, and a leader, with a passion to push beyond the possible, thriving on uncovering the potential in any opportunity.

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How to Build a Reputation as an Industry Thought Leader

How to Build a Reputation as an Industry Thought Leader

How to Build a Reputation as an Industry Thought Leader

Danny Shepherd, Co-CEO • Intero Digital • November 26, 2021

How to Build a Reputation as an Industry Thought Leader

“Thought leader,” “thought leadership,” and “how to become a thought leader” are phrases that are thrown around by so many different people and businesses that it can sometimes be challenging to remember what they mean.

In a time when it seems like anyone with a sizable audience on Twitter or Instagram can be regarded as a thought leader, it’s essential to call to mind what authentic thought leadership is and how influential it can be for your business, company, and audience.

A thought leader is an expert in their line of work who imparts their expertise to a broader audience to educate, improve, and add value to the industry. Thought leaders fully immerse themselves in everything about their industries; they understand their businesses’ inner workings and know their audiences and competitors to a T.

However, these achievements take more than a clever advertisement, online ad, or blog post. To become a thought leader in a specific niche, you must become a trustworthy, engaging resource for other leaders in your industry. And sharing your experiences by making use of high-quality content — on your site and in external online publications — allows you to reach, educate, and engage with your audience effectively.

Thought Leadership Best Practices

People want to engage with people. This isn’t rocket science, yet many companies still overlook the human element in their content marketing. Building credibility through industry thought leadership helps you create authentic connections with your audience, so long as you do so effectively.

Below are six best practices for crafting a successful thought leadership marketing plan:

1. Start writing.
One of the most effective, scalable ways to posture yourself as a thought leader and reach your audience is through thought leadership content, which means you must start writing. This could look like blog posts or even researched pieces that explain an industry trend in your specific niche. No matter which route you choose, the most important thing is to get started writing somewhere.

2. Don’t be overly promotional.
You shouldn’t just create and publish promotional content about how much of a trendsetter your company is. Being overly promotional is only going to alienate your audience. No one wants an offering about your product shoved in their face every time they read the news. Your role as a contributor is pretty simple: to contribute, impart value, and spread your thought leadership insights.

3. Publish high-quality content.
Quality is essential for creating effective thought leadership content. If you’re at the farmers market and buy what you later find to be a bag full of moldy apples, you’ll probably avoid that stand next time, right? It’s the same concept in content marketing. You can’t settle for low-quality content because while you might get away with that a few times, people won’t come back if the trend continues.

4. Be consistent.
You can only build a loyal audience if your market recognizes you. Trusting relationships don’t happen overnight, after all. You can create lasting relationships by maintaining an editorial calendar and constantly publishing thought leadership content. Real thought leaders are committed to it for the long term. They’re not trying to earn quick cash or get in on the latest viral trend; they’re passionate about their specific industry. Consistency in content, growing your network, and publication contributions will signal authenticity.

5. Go social and join online groups.
This might seem obvious, but you’d be astonished by how many people leave their profiles half-done or abandon them outright. Your online presence is key to successfully becoming a thought leader, so ensure your LinkedIn profile is filled out thoroughly and your Twitter account doesn’t display a generic profile picture. Aside from that, it’s also best to find a strategic thought partner.

Beyond a complete profile, make sure you’re engaging with your followers. Being present can make a significant difference, but you should also strive to grow your social following and online community.

6. Remember that the best content should come from you, the expert.
This is also one of the most crucial keys to starting your thought leadership campaign as an ROI-driven strategy for your organization over the long haul. Making your brand more human means nothing without your employees. When you have vital employees contributing high-quality, non-promotional content, you’ll showcase the team behind the brand that people can rely on.

While challenging, your dedication to building thought leadership is crucial in humanizing your brand and crafting authentic long-term relationships. Start talking, share your insights, and reach out to build connections. Take the time to provide tangible benefits, and you’ll appreciate the payoff from contributing to shaping your industry.

Danny Shepherd

Co-CEO, Intero Digital

Danny Shepherd, co-CEO of Intero Digital, has over 15 years of experience in the digital marketing space, with a desire to “crush it” for our clients. Danny is an integrator, disruptor, and a leader, with a passion to push beyond the possible, thriving on uncovering the potential in any opportunity.