Thought Leadership…What is it?
Thought Leadership is a term that is becoming more popular in recent times as businesses and entrepreneurs look for ways to stand out in their market.
According to Forbes magazine, “A thought leader is an individual or firm that prospects, clients, referral sources, intermediaries and even competitors recognize as one of the foremost authorities in selected areas of specialization, resulting in its being the go-to individual or organization for said expertise.”
Over recent years the term has become somewhat diluted and is interpreted differently by different people. However, generally the term is used to describe a strategy of differentiating yourself from the competition in order to grow your business.
Benefits of becoming a thought leader:
Increased Exposure – share your ideas and experience to a wider audience
Brand Credibility – strengthen your brand by providing quality opinion and advice
Lead Generation – people want to do business with the best in industry
Promotion – not all thought leaders work for themselves. Many are employees of larger organisations. Becoming a recognised leader can open opportunities for promotion to higher level employment or head-hunting by other organisations
SEO – when your videos, articles and interviews are shared throughout the internet you organically increase your links and relevancy to search engines
How Video Can Help Your Thought Leadership Strategy
The growing popularity and versatility offered by video makes it a powerful tool for those wishing to build their professional standing, reputation and connection with their target audience. For this article I am going to use Gary Vaynerchuk as a case study on how he uses video to help establish his brand as a leading innovator in the Social Media field.
I am a big fan of Gary Vaynerchuk and his accomplishments. By implementing a strong video marketing strategy Gary has grown his family wine business (http://tv.winelibrary.com/) and has used his knowledge and skills to grow Vayner Media into a very successful multi-million dollar business.
You can view Gary’s YouTube channel by clicking below:
With a library of 100’s of videos Gary has developed an active YouTube channel that has gained a following of over 36,000 subscribers. Gary is often interviewed on TV and asked to give keynote speeches at special events.
So what does Gary do to create such a following and how can you copy his strategy for your own success?
- Sharing Knowledge for free – Thought Leadership in itself should not be a direct revenue stream but rather a tool to develop your brand strength. If your products and services are meaningful your audience will find them. The goal of a good thought leader video is to share knowledge or opinion without directly selling a service or product. Gary holds nothing back. He is not afraid to offer an opinion or share his vast knowledge without expecting anything in return.
- No Ego – There is a common saying, “ Show me don’t Tell me”. If you have to tell people you are a thought leader the chances are you are not. Leave your ego behind and openly show your audience how knowledgeable you are by discussing relevant topics and providing solutions to their problems but also be prepared to say you don’t know if the topic is out of your expertise.
- Focussed – limit your videos to one topic. Topics need to relevant to a specific audience. In trying to help everyone, generic topics invariably end up helping very few. Gary is great and cutting up a 45 minute Q&A session into a number of shorter videos that focus on just one question/answer. Mixing messages or trying to incorporate too much information is a common mistake in many videos.
- Shareable – The majority of Gary’s videos are short and to the point, often between 1-2 minutes. This helps makes his videos extremely shareable on social media, blogs and other online platforms allowing for increased exposure.
- Unique – No question Gary is a unique individual. He has a combination of entertainment, cussing and knowledge that makes his videos very watchable and informative. You do not have to be the next Gary Vaynerchuk but you do need to be yourself. Play to your strengths and put on a individual slant to help separate your videos from the competition.
- Content is King – In a perfect world everyone will have professional videos shot in full HD with perfect lighting, classical framing and crystal clear audio. Of course, we do not live in a perfect world. Some of Gary’s videos have distorted audio, shaky camera and grainy footage. Does that matter? Not at all because the quality of his content always tops the technical quality. Don’t hold back on posting your videos if you have some quality content to share.
Like most successful marketing strategies the key to becoming a respected Thought Leader is to distribute content through a number of channels. Incorporating videos in combination with relevant articles and audio podcasts can help you increase your professional reputation and open doors to speaking engagements, interviews, networking events and business opportunities not available to others.