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Whether we want to believe it or not, thought leadership is incredibly difficult to come by. There are all kinds of blog posts dedicated to teaching digital marketers and business owners in how to be a thought leader.

The hard reality is that there is no magic bullet, but rather positioning yourself or your brand as a thought leader is a process. Establishing thought leadership involves laying some ground work in a way that cements you as a trusted resource within your specific industry.

What Is Thought Leadership?

Thought leadership is often lumped together with a host of marketing buzzwords commonly used in arbitrary ways to describe complex marketing processes. But when you break down thought leadership to its most essential components it’s actually quite simple.

In very basic terms, thought leadership is fueled by content via blogs, articles and social media that is used and trusted by peers and colleagues in your industry.

The big idea surrounding thought leadership is that as a leader in your industry, you become a go-to person on a host of relevant topics related to your industry.

Integrating thought leadership with your lead generation strategy involves positioning yourself as a problem solver.

Let’s take a look at some ways you can use thought leadership to boost your inbound leads in a meaningful and organic way.

Four Ways To Use Thought Leadership In Your Lead Generation Strategy

  1. Understand Your Audience - It’s hard to talk to and engage an audience that you simply do not understand. This why before you launch a thought leadership campaign or strategy some initial research is necessary. The funny thing about understanding your audience is that you must also understand who you are as an expert. It’s important to ask yourself some honest questions. What exactly is your expertise? Can you deliver solutions, not just content? Who is your audience? Who is your ideal reader? What do they love to read? What do they hate to read? What are common problems and/or hot-button issues in your industry? Answering these questions will help you become more valuable to your target readers.
  2. Produce Engaging Content - Keeping your readers engaged is a matter of understanding their problems and how to solve them. Odds are your readers are not just reading for fun. They’re coming to your site with a problem and they expect you to fix it, or at least help them troubleshoot their own problem. Engaging your readers looks like providing insight and industry-specific insight in an accessible and easy-to-digest package.
  3. Interact With Your Readers - Whether a reader re-tweets you, likes a post on Facebook or comments on a blog post, it’s important that you don’t overlook these interactions. This generally means that your content stopped readers in their tracks. However minimal an impact you think your content is making, if your content is causing readers to pause and engage with you that’s worth taking action on. So, respond to all reader interactions with you in a timely manner. Make yourself accessible as a thought leader. Be an active participant in your own conversation.
  4. Re-Calibrate Often - Lastly, change as at the very heart of every lead generation campaign. Your audience will change, your brand will change, and the way we use the web to interact with potential customers will change. Embrace this change head on by re-calibrating your thought leadership strategy often. Use valuable content-related data from analytics tools and metrics applications. Constantly monitor your content to see how it’s performing and what needs to change.