Ronjini Joshua is the Founder and CEO of The Silver Telegram, a technology PR agency focused on brand leadership through media relations.
Thought leadership is a fundamental building block of brand development and public relations. Whether you are focusing on your personal brand, startup or role in a business, credibility has always been important. Thought leadership is what can help you establish and build that credibility.
Establish your personal mission statement and personal goals.
The more recognizable you are as an asset or a brand builder, the more recognizable the business and brands that you work on will be. That also works vice versa, but let’s assume that you’re building your own long-term brand in this scenario. How can you establish solid expertise and thought leadership to impact the work you do, as well as the brand you support?
To build and establish credibility, you need to be ready to put in the time and effort to make your thought leadership stick. Here’s how to get started:
Thought leadership can start as easily as posting on social media. The key is to create a personal mission statement and set of goals for yourself that can help guide your thought leadership content.
You might want to align your personal mission statement with the company you are representing. Supporting a long-term vision of what you want to accomplish is key. Articulate your most important professional goals and reflect on a three- to a five-year vision of what you want your position to be.
This mission statement can serve as a touchstone for whatever you write, discuss or do. This also provides consistency and structure to your personal and professional messages and positioning. Being as niche as possible will give you the floor to be the prominent expert and give your personal brand an acute focus so that you can build your brand more quickly. Determine which areas you really excel in, very specifically.
As an entrepreneur, you might be good at a lot of things and have a knack for getting things done, but what would you say is your expertise and the few things you are great at? These are the areas that should be in alignment with how you position yourself and the types of content you share. While it might seem that you are putting yourself into a smaller box, you could be surprised to find that you can establish a much larger presence in a smaller niche than swimming in a larger pool of experts.
Invest in yourself.
Consistency is another key consideration when positioning yourself as an expert. There is no beginner’s luck when it comes to sharing thought leadership content. Laying a foundation is key, and those who choose to follow you will need to know you’re not just a blip in their radar in order to create real brand affinity. Consistency can create a sense of trust, dependability and attachment. Make sure you have a calendar reminder set to comment, create and post regularly in the direction of your mission to showcase your real expertise.
While quality should be an underlying factor, quantity is a good way to increase your visibility all around. Post quality content often and everywhere. Where does your audience live, and how far are you willing to take your brand? Are you willing to push it to your personal channels, or are you keeping it focused on one area of your life? There are many ways to approach this area; it’s just a matter of following a path that meets your end goals and aligns with your mission.
While there are plenty of ways to promote yourself and your business for free, consider thought leadership as an investment in your time and perhaps even money. Decide early how much brand recognition is worth to you. See it as personal marketing that will pay off and support you in your career. Becoming an established expert is definitely not an activity for a quick payoff. Make a budget of time and how much you’re willing to spend to build “the machine” that will place you in a leadership role wherever you go.
Building your long-term vision takes time and effort. Make sure whatever position you are establishing is something that you can stay aligned with over a period of time. This way, each post, article and piece of content that you share will stay aligned with your overall brand positioning and expertise. The same goes for the roles that you take and choose to move forward with. I believe in choosing a personal and professional mission statement that can be the checks and balances for all the work you do. Ensure that the brand you are building supports an overall goal that can apply to what you’re working on today and what you choose to build in the future.