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An abridged version of this article originally appeared in the May 2017 edition of the Australian Chamber of Commerce’s Advance Magazine, which you can read online here.
Bill Gates, Warren Buffet, and Richard Branson are not only succesful, billionaire entrepreneurs, but also well-respected globally for their business insights.
This trio of titans regularly top bestselling author lists and each is guaranteed millions of views for every LinkedIn post, blog or newspaper article they create. These men constitute the very model of thought leadership.
Image c/r softtell.com
What is a Thought Leader?
A thought leader is defined as an individual or firm that is recognized as an authority in a specialized field, and whose expertise is sought and often rewarded.
In the analogue era, authors, politicians and journalists made up the 20th Century’s thought leaders as their messages were transmitted via publishing houses, TV stations and newspapers.
However, the democratization of information made possible by the technological developments of the digital age have demolished entry barriers. For better or worse, these days, everybody has a voice online.
As a result, thought leadership is increasingly being adopted by businesses as a cost-effective way to differentiate from the competition, while also increasing brand awareness, consumer loyalty and sales.
Image: Lexicon’s thought leadership
How can you become a thought leader?
The good news is that you don’t need to have Bill Gates’ level of wealth or fame to get involved with thought leadership. Most of the tools you need to create content and draw an audience are readily available for no charge, and if your company has a website or social media account then you’re already in position to get started.
As a Thailand-based professional, you undeniably have experience and know-how that others don’t; the key to thought leadership is to freely share these insights with others. For example:
- Tax professionals can dispense free advice on dealing with the TRD
- Recruitment companies can offer interview tips for those seeking employment
- Hoteliers can discuss the latest trends in the hospitality industry
The best place to get started with thought leadership is by writing an article on your company’s website on an interesting topic of your choosing. From here the benefits are multitudinous as Google rewards companies that produce regular articles with high search engine rankings, and your existing clients and website visitors are given social proof of your expertise.
Image: Lexicon’s Google rankings as of 14 July 2017
How today’s digital marketing tools help get your voice heard
Once you get into the habit of producing thought leadership content, either at an executive team or individual level, you can focus on increasing brand awareness and bringing in new clients. LinkedIn is an excellent platform for personal branding and connecting organically with your target audience; however, nothing beats the precision targeting tools available with Facebook, which enable you to show your content directly to very segmented audiences for a relatively low cost.
With traditional marketing methods, you could only speculate as to which campaigns brought in business. Now you can know with absolute certainty exactly who your clients are, exactly how they found you, and exactly what words, images and content brought them to you. This knowledge gives you an immediate pulse on the interests of your customers, and saves you time and money that can instead be spent on fine-tuning future campaigns.
As you increasingly become recognized as a expert in your field, you can extend your reach further using content marketing.
Find out which websites, newspapers and magazines your clients read, then reach out to these publications and offer to write a guest article. You won’t be surprised to find that many of these platforms are very receptive to publishing great content that they don’t have to pay a Setang for.
You can also give new life to your content and reach a whole new audience by turning your most popular articles into multimedia content, such as videos, infographics, photo sets, and presentations. You can even host live Q & A sessions using Facebook Live and other broadcast platforms.
The Australian Chamber of Commerce Thailand is always looking for ways to help our members, and the thought leadership approach to marketing fits perfectly with our core values of Business, Community and Connections. If you’re a member and would like to share your insights with other Thailand-based professionals by writing a thought leadership article to be hosted on our website, please get in touch.
David Norcross is a member of the Austcham Communications subcommittee and Managing Director of Lexicon Business Communications: a digital marketing, social media marketing, copywriting and multimedia firm based on Surawong Road.
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