Business leaders often tell me they have an opinion about something in their industry, but don’t feel that it’s relevant enough to their business or bottom line to speak out about it. My response is generally “that’s fantastic, you’re embodying a thought leader—let’s find a way to share that thought or opinion.” However, I’m often met with “ehhh, my opinion doesn’t matter. I want us to focus on the product only.” The problem with this mindset, is that your opinion DOES matter. A lot!
What many don’t understand, is that opinions and well-formed thoughts can ultimately be a huge driving force in acquiring business and building a company, if used correctly.
I know I’m not the only PR professional to experience this scenario and turn my efforts into education about what thought leadership is and why it’s important. So here it is—here is why it’s important and how it can ultimately help you grow your business, brand, and bring you authority and credibility.
First off, what isn’t thought leadership?
Thought leadership isn’t about your product. Is it related? Sometimes. But it’s less vendor or product-specific and, in fact, it shouldn’t be about the bells and whistles of your product or services, at all. That would make it more like a sales pitch and not thought leadership. Your commentary should not look like the copy on your website.
So, what is thought leadership?
Thought leadership is simply a well articulated opinion on a relevant and timely topic. And, as a leader in your industry, your insights, thoughts, feelings, and commentary about a certain topic are highly valuable in positioning you as an expert in your field. What do you uniquely know and understand about your industry that others don’t? What can you reveal about the market form where you sit that others can’t? After all, you’re often the ones chatting with customers, understanding common pain points or challenges, and because of this, you often have your fingers on the pulse of what might impact your industry next.
Like all things, there is an appropriate time and place to share an opinion that is not only beneficial to readers, but gives business a boost. No matter the title or years of experience, the thought of seeing your own name in print (or video!) can make even the most seasoned leader a little shaky.
However, the rewards far outweigh the scare factor. By sharing your voice, you will:
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Now that you know the benefits, what are the best ways to share your voice? Here are 4 tactics to get yourself heard:
The opportunities to share your opinion—especially in today’s digital age—are vast. Partnering with your PR resource is a great place to start brainstorming where your commentary will most resonate and they will help you put together the process and cadence in which to do so.
Ready to get started? Find a PR professional to help you sharpen your thought leadership now.