Every CEO wants to be known within their niche or industry. Establishing thought leadership means people trust what you have to say, and most important, what you have to offer. It’s important to start to build this reputation as early as possible.
When it comes to establishing thought leadership, it all comes down to content. Content reigns supreme, and the more valuable content you produce, the more you’ll establish you and your brand as thought leaders in your space. When this happens, you’re also creating credibility, and when you have credibility, you’re more likely to attract additional opportunities and increase your bottom line.
Write A Book
Yes, writing a book is a huge venture. But it can do a lot for your credibility. You don’t have to start out writing an entire work of nonfiction — you can write an ebook to avoid some of the bigger hurdles of the publishing curve. Depending on your level of expertise and current thought leadership position, you may want to consider giving the ebook away for free (or at least providing a free sample).
Otherwise, you can go the traditional publishing route and reach out to agents for representation, or self-publish your business book and take promotion into your own hands. Whatever you choose, be prepared to put the legwork in to get your book to the masses. Promotion and outreach play major roles in getting your book into the hands of the right people.
The CEO Should Be Blogging
In addition to having a company blog, many CEOs choose to manage their own personal blogs as well or contribute to the existing business blog. Charles Phillips, CEO of Infor, the world’s third largest provider of enterprise software applications, uses his blog to discuss everything from the SaaS industry to how military members can translate their skills to tech.
Craig Newmark, CEO of Craigslist, uses his blog Craig Connects to discuss different business and political issues, among others. It focuses on dialogue surrounding different initiatives, from peer-to-peer giving to online harassment.
CEO Joshua Strebel of Pagely, a WordPress managed solution with high-end clients like Disney and Comcast, has always been transparent about what’s happening behind company walls. For example, in this blog post about their 2016 year in review, he discussed what worked, what didn’t, and new 2017 goals.
There are countless examples of how CEOs are using blogs to voice their opinions, discuss the challenges of running a business, and create a dialogue around their products and services. Keep in mind that this doesn’t mean you need to have a separate blog and update regularly — it’s not uncommon for CEOs to be too busy for consistent updates — you can simply post every couple weeks or months onto your business blog. Find a groove that works for you, and be consistent.
Have A Guest Blog
When you have your own blog, you start to establish thought leadership, and this can lead to guest blogging opportunities in the future. The benefits of guest blogging are immense, and you’d be surprised at the results that come from it. Guest blogging can increase your SEO by offering more backlinks to your site, which Google takes very seriously. Backlinks act as verification — the more backlinks you have, the more valuable Google assumes your website is.
Through guest blogging, you’ll also reach a wider audience and forge relationships with other business owners and publishers. As time goes on, those connections will lead to other connections. And before you know it, you’re being invited to speak at industry conferences and guest blog on bigger websites. If you want to learn more about how to build an effective guest blogging strategy, check out this guide.
Be Active On Social Media
Today, people expect the businesses they buy from to be active on social media — across several platforms. Twitter and Facebook are a given. If you run an interior design business, potential customers might expect you to have Instagram and Pinterest. If you run a tech startup, they might expect you to be listed on CrunchBase, LinkedIn, and AngelList.
It’s important that you build a social media strategy that’s in line with your business. Be sure to not overly promote your company on your social channels, because this can easily come off as spammy and generic. Use your social channels to interact with your customers; answer their questions, share relevant content, join in on conversation taking place in your industry, and be a team player with your competitors.
The goal here is to be personable on social media. Consumers are much more likely to buy when they feel like they’re dealing with a human, rather than a money-making machines. Having a connection with a company entices them to make a purchase — even if your cost is higher than competitors.
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