As a life coach and Master Duct Tape Marketing Consultant, one of the marketing strategies I often talk about is thought leadership. Why? Because it’s all about being unique, being authentic, being yourself, telling your story, and sharing your point of view – in a consistent and systematic way. Which is a great fit for the types of clients I often work with – life coaches and other entrepreneurs with soul.
There are many definitions out there on thought leadership, but at a simple level it’s all about positioning yourself as a leader in your subject area by demonstrating and sharing your unique point of view, values and expertise – and consistently educating and answering your customers’ biggest questions.
At a practical level, you do this in three steps:
- Develop a Thought Leadership Mindset (this means you understand your unique point of view and know what you’re going to talk about)
- Build a Thought Leadership Foundation (this means you create your core messaging and materials that communicate your unique point of view – such as your marketing kit, website, social media pages, etc.)
- Activate Your Thought Leadership System (this means you create a system to consistently share educational information and content about your unique point of view through your blog, social media posts, speaking, articles, etc.)
You can read more about each of these steps in my new book that launched today: Do Leadership: A Step-by-Step Guide to “Doing” Thought Leadership for Solopreneurs and Small Business Owners.
However, most solopreneurs and small business owners don’t think thought leadership is for them. The reasons they give are that it’s just for big businesses, it’s super complicated, it requires a lot of money and resources, and is simply out of their league.
But the reality is that thought leadership can be the perfect strategy for these businesses. And here are six reasons why:
- It’s all about being your authentic self. The basic premise of thought leadership is that you have a unique point of view, and use your authentic voice and story to share your point of view, while at the same time educating and answering your customers’ biggest questions. There is nothing salesy or gimmicky about it.
- You don’t need to spend a lot of money. Most small business owners operate on a tight budget. The great thing about thought leadership is that it’s more about being smart, and investing your time and energy than spending money.
- You generate awareness for your programs and services. You can certainly pay for awareness through advertising, but with thought leadership you can create the same awareness, but for a fraction of the cost and in a way that is less salesy and more educational.
- You position yourself as unique and different – and this makes you stand out even against your larger competitors. What many small business owners don’t realize is that very few of their competitors are “doing” thought leadership – and even fewer are doing it well, or consistently. This means that over time, you can appear more authoritative and credible than even companies much larger than you.
- You reduce the need to sell. That’s right. When you set up a thought leadership system, you are actually using education and content to move your prospects through your buying process, so when they contact you they are already converted and ready to buy.
- Your initial investment reaps dividends over time. Unlike a lot of paid marketing, you don’t just spend your money, put your ad (or other tactic) out there and then it’s gone and you have to start all over again. With thought leadership, because you’re sharing your unique point of view through content over time, your marketing keeps working for you. For example, a prospect may find your website through a blog post you wrote more than two years ago. This is also a great way to improve your search engine results at a low cost.
If you want to learn more about how you can use this strategy for yourself, buy our new book Do Leadership: A Step-by-Step Guide to “Doing” Thought Leadership for Solopreneurs and Small Business Owners now on Amazon.