A lot of marketers have heard of thought leadership and thought leaders. However, there is a danger of those terms becoming buzz words, with very few people truly understanding what it actually means. This is something Selim Zherka, one of the original thought leaders, is trying to avoid. He wants to make sure people continue to understand what it takes to become a thought leader, and why someone should want to become one as well.
Selim Zherka Defines the Thought Leader
Thought leaders are not people who simply repeat the knowledge of others that is accessible to everyone. They also aren’t just experts. Rather, they are people who have their own, new, fresh, perspectives and ideas. This means that, in order for a thought leader to be created, a business environment has to be fostered in which innovation is embraced. At the same time, there must be a culture in which people who have the most innovative minds are recognized for their strengths.
Once prospective thought leaders are identified, then their insights and ideas have to be gathered, collected, and shared. Some of the ways to get that started include:
- To publish new content. Indeed, content marketing is a great way to make sure new ideas are shared with the market place. Webinars, white papers, audio interviews, blogs, and e-books are all great options for content sharing.
- To talk to the media. When a prospective thought leader has an idea, they should be shared with industry publications and editors. They may be happy to repurpose or rerun a white paper that was already created, or for an expert to write a new opinion piece or article on the subject for their publication. Once a thought leader begins to be established, the press will often come to them for further opinions. Once that happens, you must make sure that your experts are available and willing to speak to the reporters as well.
- To encourage public speaking events. It doesn’t matter whether it is a keynote speaker position at a huge industry conference or a free online seminar, public speaking events ensure your thought leader is able to build their reputation rapidly. These types of opportunities are not to be missed, and thought leaders should be encouraged to accept any public speaking request they receive.
- To use your website to its greatest potential. It should be filled with information created by your thought leaders. The website should always be fresh and contain links to media appearances, white papers, blog posts, speaking engagements, and so on. This content should be accessed for free at all times, and it should be very easy for interested parties to access it.
Once you know who your organization’s thought leaders are, what you basically have to do is promote and market them. You need to give them that platform to share their thoughts and ideas. Doing so will nurture them into having the confidence to keep going and to come up with ever-better thoughts.