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How to Become a Thought Leader in Your Niche

You can turn your intellectual expertise into thought leadership. Here's how.

Why Being a Thought Leader Matters

Companies with an impressive digital presence are bringing on new business at a higher velocity & a lower cost-per-client ratio than those without a digital presence. They have influence far beyond their local marketplace and have positioned themselves and their company as true industry experts. They’re now a source of information or analysis well beyond their customer base, and their sphere of influence continues to grow.

If you’re interested in positioning yourself as a thought leader in your industry, we’ve built this guide to help you achieve the same results.

The Importance of a Strong Digital Presence

The information age is upon us, and the Internet is its wheelhouse. The average American adult spends over 10 hours a day on digital devices. The rise of smartphones and tablets has made searching for information even easier and faster. News and information is accessible like never before, and the amount of digital information is growing quickly.

Even those who are hesitant to purchase online are still doing product research and comparison shopping via the Internet before they purchase. Have you made a large purchase lately? If you have you most likely spent more time on the Internet asking questions and reading reviews than you spent talking to someone knowledgeable that works at a store.

The Internet is powerful. Your prospective customers are seeking information about your products or services, and if they can’t find what they are looking for they will look elsewhere. If you want to sell to them, you need to build digital resources for them to discover. Satisfy their need for information, and you’ll be one of their trusted resources when it’s time to buy.

Strong digital presence

The marketplace has shifted, can you compete?

Organizations who want to compete in the digital world are faced with considerable challenges. Technology is advancing at a furious pace.
Modern buyers have high expectations and short attention spans. You know you have to make changes, here's how.

How to Create Premium Content

Educational content should be the top of your content creation efforts, supplying the valuable information your prospects are seeking. Premium content should be more complex than other content pieces. Make your premium content in the form of eBooks, whitepapers, buying guides, online calculators, or other digital resources that your personas will find most valuable and best consumable.

The information you include in your premium content pieces shouldn’t be about your products or services at all. Help readers get informed on your industry and provide some basic solutions. You’ll gain credibility through your understanding of the challenges facing your industry, and through the creation of these resources, you’ll be able to prove your existing knowledge.

It takes time, energy, and focus to create this kind of content. It’s an investment in your business to undertake projects like this, but the results are undeniable. Sure, it’s hard to quantify the results generated from being on the front page of Google, or other search engines. In order to get on the front page, you need to have premium content. If you don’t have it, you need to start creating infographics, eBooks or other online resources.

Only 30% of marketers say their content marketing strategy is effective. This guide will help you understand how to position yourself online, but it won’t tell you how to create your premium content. If you need help creating an effective content marketing strategy, set up a strategy session with us.

Filling the Gap with Market Qualified Content

Fill in the Gaps

With some education under their belt, your prospects will begin asking themselves whether or not your solutions are right for them.

You need to be able to provide each prospect with the information they need to move across each stage in the buyer’s journey. Understanding where your gaps are in your content marketing is one major aspect of this step.

The process of filling the gaps in your content marketing can be difficult. Make sure that you…

  • Recognize your personas' challenges and pain points, and create content that directly speaks to those challenges
  • Keep an eye on your competition to see if there’s any inspiration you can get from them
  • Watch your communities to make sure nobody has already created that content. If someone has, evaluate if you can make it better

Important Questions to Ask

Put yourself into the shoes of your prospects when looking for opportunities to create quality premium content. Consider the following questions:

  • What details about your company would support your sales cycle?
  • Did you solve a problem for a client that you can brag about in a case study?
  • Do you have expertise in a specific part of your industry?
  • Would it make sense to update a resource from the past?

Once you have the answers to these questions, you can start to evaluate what content piece you will create. 

What's in Your Digital Marketing Playbook?

With social media, email, search engine optimization, blogging, and everything else under the digital marketing umbrella, it can be overwhelming trying to understand how everything fits together.

That's why we created the Digital Marketing Playbook: to help people learn how to play the game.

The Art of Thought Leadership

You’re an industry expert, even if you might not think it. Whatever you do for a living you’ve likely been doing it a long time, and you’ve become an expert over time with hard work and ongoing training. The problem is that not enough people realize how much you know.

That’s where thought leadership comes in. Thought leadership allows you to get yourself out there, to publish your knowledge online so that it may be accessed. The more you share, the more your reach and influence grows, and in the process, you become a trusted resource.

The people that have taken the time to become thought leaders have carefully crafted their respectable reputation from square one, and you can too! But remember, the tallest trees take hundreds of years to grow. Your thought leadership will take time to develop.

Here are a few ways that you can help your thought leadership develop:

Offer Advice: help people make decisions with advice. Tell them why you believe one option is better than another.
Offer Analysis: help people interpret complicated data to explain what it’s actually saying and what to look out for.
Share Data: as an industry insider you have access to information others don’t. Share it, and teach people why it’s important.
Share Success: don’t let your achievements go unnoticed. Be sure to celebrate and even share your wins, but avoid bragging about your accomplishments.
Blogging will help your online presence

What is Content Curation and How Can it Help?

Content curation can be tremendously useful in positioning your business for thought leadership. If you’re trying to demonstrate your knowledge on a subject you’ll need a starting point for the conversation, and that’s where curation comes in. First, let’s quickly discuss how content curation is different from content creation.

Content creation involves the creation of original, never-before-seen material. Similar to a painter making brushstrokes on a blank canvas, content creation takes something from scratch and turns it into a functional piece of content. On the other hand, content curation involves collecting content that has been masterfully created.

Content curation involves finding powerful statistics or information published by others. Once you’ve found a valuable piece of information to include, work that source into your content. Then you can share it with your network, or you could even use it as a source for another blog post. Remember to cite that source appropriately.

Reworking already published information is one way craft your own thought leadership, but only if you’re using that existing information to expand the conversation and offer additional insight(s). Simply copying and pasting someone else’s words as your own will…

  • Hurt your overall SEO efforts with duplicate content
  • Negatively affect your credibility

Make sure you’re pulling no more than a couple hundred words and adding at least that much of your own valuable information. As a general rule of thumb, if you do need to curate, make sure at least 30% of that content is original.


HubSpot Website Design Impact Award Winner

Building a Business Blog into a Content Hub

The blog should be the content hub your business uses to publish everything from your thought leadership pieces to your company news. Your blog should live on your website, creating a newly indexed web page every time a new article is posted.

These new pages have incredible value because they serve two purposes:

1. Optimized content for search engine ranking growth
2. Information and resources for people looking for solutions

As your blog grows, you’ll create a library of content. This library will allow you to have more and more content to distribute through social media and email marketing. You’ll acquire an endless supply of resources to help with the sales process and customer service. Your website, social media accounts, and email campaigns will all benefit from an active and growing business blog.

Don't forget, B2B companies that are blogging are generating 67% more leads than non-bloggers.

How to Get Your Blog On-Track

Your company blog doesn’t need to remain a mistake you made a few years back. You have to make it a focal point of your marketing efforts to improve results. To do this, you’ll need to create a culture of writing and competition within your office.

Here’s how you can get your blog back on track:

  1. Determine the keywords you’d like to compete for and what pages you should link to
  2. Establish the products or services you’d like to focus on
  3. Build a list of related websites, blogs, and additional resources you can tap for curation
  4. Create a list of topics to get everyone started and involved
  5. Build an editorial calendar (you can keep track of the publishing of your blog articles through Microsoft Excel or Project Managment tools)
  6. Help your writers understand what’s in it for the company and themselves
  7. Foster a competitive spirit with something special for a monthly award
  8. Lead by example and make sure you’re contributing every month
  9. Hold a monthly accountability meeting to review content

We can assure you that if you spend the proper amount of time turning your blog into what it needs to be, your digital marketing efforts will be positively affected.

Why Businesses Should be Blogging

Social Media Becomes Easy & Effective

Social MEdia Effectiveness

The goal of your social media efforts is not to make friends and post funny pictures. You must understand the end goal in mind and ensure that your content and social interaction is driving to the desired results, like growing traffic, increasing Google’s search rankings, and other meaningful outcomes.

Don’t think of social media as that thing that your nephew spends hours of his time browsing. Rather, think of social media as a message distribution vehicle, similar to email. The content you‘ve learned on this webpage presents a great opportunity in the social world.

Distribute your content over whichever channels fit the message, repositioning your title and image based on platform demands.

Nearly one-third of the world’s population (about 2.3 billion people) are regularly on social media networks.

Taking the Plunge

This digital marketing resource represents only a brief overview of the concepts needed to position your business in the digital age. There are a plethora of details that every digital marketer needs to understand, and it might be hard to keep track of them all, but the devil is in the details. Your competitor might have more pay-per-click budget than you, they could be using a keyword or long-tail keyword that you aren’t, or they might have a better SEO strategy that you don’t. Make sure you’re aware of all the facets of digital marketing to be confident you aren’t missing out on anything that can drive results for your company.

The best way position yourself or your company as a thought leader is to form your digital marketing plan, build a team of resources to support your marketing plan, and manage this digital medium with the same drive and dedication that you’ve put into your overall business.

A strong digital presence is valuable and lasting, and you need to make sure your voice is heard through the “noise” produced by your competition. Through effective digital marketing strategies and careful planning, you can become a thought leader for your digital presence. By doing so you will:

  • Have a foundation of growing information and credibility to tap when needed.
  • Be recognized on a larger scale
  • Help a lot of people make decisions
  • Grow your business as more and more people discover your contributions and trust you with their business.

You can create lasting results. To do so you have to learn, apply, practice, and improve your digital presence.

We can help.

Learn more about SEO!

Search Engine Optimization is an integral part of digital marketing. Content written with a sound SEO strategy behind it ensures that people will find you online through Google searches. 

We created a helpful guide that you can use to get an introduction to search engine optimization. Click on the button below to access it. (no form required!)

Need more help?

If you're lost in the world wide web, we can help you get back on track. Even more, our team can provide the advice you need to start on the path towards becoming a thought leader.

Fill out the form below & we will contact you to determine how we can help you.

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