One Easy Way To Start Your Journey to Thought Leadership13 min read
So, you want to be a thought leader?
Or maybe you think it sounds cool. But you’re not sure what it is yet.
Either way, we’re here to help.
Have you heard of Simon Sinek? Arlan Hamilton? Tim Ferriss?
If you haven’t, they’re worth checking out.
Why? Because they provide educational, inspirational content on the daily. That’s thought leadership.
Here’s how you can start your journey to one day join their ranks.
What is thought leadership?
So, you want your own Wikipedia page. That’s the definition of thought leadership, right?
Those who follow thought leaders do it because they’re interested in what that account has to say. Usually, people with a strong personal brand.
Source: The Balance
They’re usually experts in their field. Or simply someone who inspires people with their story or point of view.
In literal terms, they influence and lead with their thoughts.
TED Talks are a good example. You’ve probably scrolled past them on social media.
They’re 15-minute speaking engagements on specific topics. The keynote speakers that give them are perfect examples of thought leaders.
But don’t confuse this with someone who only talks about themselves and their area of expertise. Oh, no.
It doesn’t even have to be a single person. Brands can be thought leaders too.
TED itself is a thought-leading brand. The nonprofit ‘s main goal is to share ideas.
Person or brand – to be a real thought leader, you need to widen your net. We’ll explain.
How social media content marketing can make you a thought leader
Content can come in many forms. It doesn’t just have to be blog posts.
This can include things like:
- Case studies
- White papers
Great content will help you become a thought leader.
And where does the sharing of content happen most?
Social media sites.
Are you on LinkedIn, Twitter, TikTok, Instagram? Whichever, you’ll have your favorite accounts that you follow.
The kind that you never want to miss when they post something new.
Those profiles that can drop or raise the stocks of their companies with a single Tweet. (We’re looking at you, Elon Musk!)
But you want your account to be one of those for other people.
You want to be the go-to resource for valuable content. You want to be super followable. (Is that a word? It is now!)
You don’t need to be a business leader, a co-founder, or a celebrity to do so. You just need to have passion and commitment to the thought leader journey.
Here’s how to use social media content to start your journey to thought leadership.
It all begins with curated content.
A thought leadership strategy starts with curation
Curating content pretty much involves showcasing other contributor’s work. Which seems weird if you’re trying to build your online presence.
Trust us, though, it works. And it should be a regular in your content marketing strategy.
Curation is a buzzword in content marketing right now. It’s used to:
- Build trust with your target audience
- Start and develop business relationships
- Keep up with industry trends and topics
- Ensure you’re posting regularly
- Give your audience a different perspective
If you want a complete beginner’s guide to content curation, check out the one we’ve just linked.
But if you want a faster explanation in this blog post, we’ll break it down.
What is content curation?
In its most basic form, curating is sharing content from other people. This can be as simple as a retweet on Twitter.
Basically, you want to break up posts about you or your brand.
They’ll still be relevant and interesting. But they’ll stop you from looking too self-promotional.
Digital marketing as a whole is about expanding your reach.
You may know a lot about your niche, but you can’t know everything. Plus, it’s nice to branch out from your usual content. But more on that later.
The whole idea is that your feed is a mix of things you’ve created, along with stuff you find interesting. The type of content you know your audience is always going to love.
So, we now know what curation is. But how do we use it to become a successful thought leader?
Thought leadership content curation tips
Now, you could just retweet lots of interesting stuff you find every day. That’s a decent start.
But how can you take it up a level?
Well, we’ve got 3 initiatives for thought leadership content curation that can help.
Nail these, and you’ll be on your way to influencer status.
- Keep content relevant and timely
- Credit the source but always add unique insight
- Be consistent with posting
Keep content relevant and timely
First off, your subject matter.
It should go without saying, but we’re going to anyway. If you are a rocket scientist, your audience will be interested in astrophysics.
Sharing a review of the latest episode of ‘Keeping Up With The Kardashians’ probably won’t appeal to most of them.
The takeaway? Whatever you post has got to be relevant to your niche.
Micro-influencers usually have a very specific niche. They have smaller audiences but higher engagement because of it. That’s what you’re aiming for initially.
So, what do we mean by “timely”?
Timely content can be a great way to increase your following. It means getting involved with trending topics and breaking news as it’s happening.
Again, though, only if it’s relevant.
As you’re not creating it yourself, you just have to find it. This is a massive bonus.
Back to your rocket scientist alter-ego. If NASA has announced they’ve just found life on Mars – jump on that bandwagon!
This is an important part of curation, but don’t think you just have to share brand new content. Actually, it’s the opposite!
Older, evergreen content is important to post, too, with your new insights. You should have a good mix on your feed.
Credit the source but always add unique insight
The internet is rife with stolen content.
Now, it may not be as bad as the photographer who sold other people’s Instagram photos as art – and made almost $90k for each one. (Yes, that really happened – don’t get any ideas!)
But benefitting from content created by someone else and not giving them credit isn’t cool. It’s just good manners, friends.
It’s also an awesome way of building relationships.
By tagging the creator, you can start to build awareness of your account. Maybe the creator likes what you create and shares it. Eventually, they might offer you a few guest posts on their site.
The opportunities with networking are endless. Curating is a positive introduction because you’re helping someone before asking for any help. You might not even need to ask – that’s the beauty of it!
Now, just because it’s someone else’s work you’re sharing doesn’t mean you can’t put your two cents in.
A true thought leader will always add unique insight to everything they share. This can be as simple as a single line of added thoughts.
Or you can follow this cheeky formula from copywriting expert Dave Harland:
In the end, what makes someone stand out on social media is their experience and perspective. It’s unique to you.
Are you funny? Inspirational? Knowledgeable?
Whichever, you want people to follow you because you offer something different on your feed. You’re both proactive and reactive with content.
Be consistent with posting
Of course, to be successful in anything, you need to be dedicated and persistent.
Thought leadership (especially in the digital age) is no exception.
There is a ridiculous amount of content shared on social media sites daily. So, you need to constantly be where your audience is, and you have to stand out.
Forbes has some suggestions:
“…becoming digitally omnipresent, and by that, I mean being on every online channel that fits your business goals, with a consistent style and message.”
This ‘style’ can include branding colors and visuals, or it could just be your tone of voice.
A ‘brand voice’ doesn’t just apply to businesses. Type like you talk (conversational copy), or pick one that best represents your company and stick with it.
What is a brand voice? Basically, whenever your business comments or shares, make sure it all sounds like the same person wrote it.
Here are some dos and don’ts from Content Marketing Institute:
How often you post will depend on your industry and audience. But that’s the beauty of curation – it’s so much easier than creating your own daily content.
Make thought leadership easy with this automated tool
Yes, you should read as much content as humanly possible. That way, you’ll be able to pick out enough high-quality content your audience will enjoy.
But what if you don’t have time to do that regularly? It’s just you. You don’t have the power or numbers of a marketing agency behind you.
Well, that’s where Quuu comes in – our automated content curation tool, powered by AI.
Robin has recently joined our company. It’s a product of machine learning. We taught it everything our content team knows, and now it’s ready to curate for you.
Choose your most relevant categories (there’s over 500!), hook up your social profiles, and get scheduling.
If you want, this can be on full auto-pilot. But remember what we said about ‘unique insight’ – that’s the goal here.
By choosing manual mode, you can add your own twist to everything you post. The more interesting it is, the more likely people will share it.
(There’s also a link between social shares and SEO – no kidding!)
Anyway, we’re not going to go on and on about how great it is.
- It’s really great (couldn’t resist!)
- It’s affordable
- Robin will do most of the hard work for you
You’re the last piece of the puzzle. Why not give it a shot?
The term “thought leader” might be a bit of a cliché, but the practice isn’t.
For people starting out in new industries or needing a bit of motivation, a thought leader’s social media account can be really inspiring.
Done right, yours can be a place for your target audience to always learn something new. Maybe to be entertained, too, while they’re there.
Getting good at curating is the first step towards that level. Once you’re doing it regularly, you’ll find you’re constantly learning new things too.
The prep that goes into maintaining an awesome feed means you’ll always be discovering new content from around the web.
Wait a sec…did you know we’ve got a platform for that too?
Who are your favorite thought leaders on social media? Do you curate content for your social channels already? We’d love to know more!