This is the second in a four-part series of blogs that explore what it takes to become a successful thought leader. To read the first blog, click here.
Lots of companies embark on thought leadership or other communications campaigns without thoroughly assessing their readiness to execute. If you’re planning on a few tactical activities, this may not matter so much. However, if you’re planning to invest in a thought leadership initiative, it’s important to start by understanding exactly what you need to achieve to make thought leadership a reality.
We’ve created a matrix you can use to determine your readiness to execute.
Here’s how it works:
- If you have absolute authority and high recognition, then capitalise on that by doing more, faster.
- If you have absolute authority and no recognition, then you need to find your voice and communicate your message.
- If you have no authority and no recognition, then you need to build quality credentials or artefacts, then move to the communicate phase by setting up communications channels.
- If you have no authority and high recognition, you should build quality credentials or artefacts, then amplify them by moving to the communicate phase using existing communications channels.
Artefacts that create authority
There are any number of artefacts you can create to demonstrate your authority and expertise in your area. These include:
- write the book, literally
- commission quality research or build an index
- start or chair a think tank, government advisory panel, or industry association
- develop patents
- collect customer testimonials
- create a show reel
- implement a PR campaign
- enter (and win) relevant awards
- undertake strategic sponsorships
- go on trade tours and write insights
- draft whitepapers, tip sheets, blogs and information guides
- conduct an event series such as roundtables
- raise capital
- create jobs
- develop a dedicated website, separate but connected to your business website.
The artefacts you create should map to the type of thought leadership you want to engage in. For example, writing a book is ideal if your thought leadership is based on your people, if you’re a CEO, or if you want to take the lead on political or cultural matters.
Communicate to build momentum
Once you’ve created these artefacts, you’ll need to communicate them to your target audience. Simply creating the content then letting it languish unseen is a waste of time and money. Sharing your artefacts via social media, promoting them via Google Ads, and conducting communications campaigns are essential.
As these artefacts are exposed to your target audience, you’ll start to build a reputation for thought leadership. You can then build on this momentum to cement your position as a go-to person for input and information on your key topics.