One of the must-dos of inbound marketing is being a thought leader. Put in a simpler way, you have to be the guy who everyone goes to even before the Google.
The truth is most people can figure things out on their own or have enough information to do so. But as they are also sociable beings, they’d rather flock to others they deem trustworthy. We just have this need to have others verify things for us.
So when people are aware that you know more than the others (and are good at organizing the info) you leave the competition biting your dust. You are placed in a position of authority to the point that they’ll ask you to be not just one but several points of references in a given topic.
How do you get this far though? Do you keep blogging all the time? Do you spend hours compiling the data? Or is it just something that you have to just let happen to you?
Well, here are some tips that can set those questions straight:
This obvious (too obvious even) but that doesn’t make it any less important to remember. Keeping up-to-date with your industry really is the very first step to getting an expert’s reputation. It helps you stay on your toes in case new demands or trends arise. It’s how you’ll earn the trust and respect of your customers and prospects.
Be the Guile Hero
A guile hero is not just a walking Google. They’re quick to observe. They’re pragmatic. They know how to handle solutions more efficiently than everyone else.
In other words, they’re like a tactician and the only thing that differentiates them from the all-around leader type is that you give your expertise from the back instead of the front lines. And yes, that is in fact a very good position to be in when you’re gunning to influence those leaders as part of your marketing strategy. Customers don’t like controls taken away from them but at the same time, value expertise that’s understands their perspective.
You’ll Always Be Genre Savvy
One way or another, being the expert makes you genre savvy about it. However, the thing about having that label on you is that you’ll either end up the straight man or the snarky know-it-all.
This usually happens when the people who look to you for expertise end up doing things that are contrary to what you know.
What does this all mean? It simply means you have a responsibility as the voice of reason for all of those who don’t know enough about your industry, the solutions it provides other businesses, and the problems they’re asking you about. The way you express what you know can be the difference between them following your advice or do something crazy to prove you wrong.
Avoid the Wiki Walk Talk
The wiki walk is one way to describe starting a topic, knowing it full where you started but not exercising enough control that end up drifting to where you expertise may not matter anymore.
For example, you blog about the relevance of telemarketing and sales working together but then all of a sudden, someone comes along and uses your comment section to turn into a conversation about pizza. That’s good for casual forums but not always for when you’re trying to be a thought leader.
Now these are actually just the basics of thought leadership. Who knows when you’ll find something else out there that says there’s more to it. But if you want to start establishing a rep now, start exercising the above in all your marketing campaigns.