Feb. 7, 2022

Top Trends in Building Thought Leadership

Top Trends in Building Thought Leadership

From creating value added content to influencing with authenticity in Web 3.0 there are several observable trends that are emerging for building thought leadership.

In this episode, your host Surbhi Dedhia deep dives into some of the trends she has observed and reflected upon.

Catch this short episode if you want to know how to fine-tune existing efforts in building thought leadership. If you are just about begining on creating your thought leadership, this episode will help you plan better with some future trends.

In this episode, Surbhi is also referring to three other episodes. Links to the episodes are below:

Episode 3: Who is a Thought Leader?
Episode 6: Is Building Thought Leadership only for Individuals?
Episode 18: Amplify your Brand with Thought Leadership Content

[00:00:00] Hello. Hello and welcome to yet. Another episode of the Making of a Thought Leader podcast. This is episode 20, and I think it is a milestone. Do you agree? Well, approaching this milestone made me reflect upon all the past episodes on the show and think about such amazing guests have come on the show so far, there were trailblazers that is they were doing something unique and entrepreneurs are consistently building. thought leadership.

[00:00:33] Guests who are experts in specific social media channels, such as Instagram and LinkedIn and even author of a book on thought leadership. So, here's a shout out to these amazing guests that I've had on the show, and also to my amazing community of listeners, you! Thank you for your presence and support every episode.

[00:00:58] If this is your first time tuning into the show, I would like to extend a warm welcome and hope you liked the content on the show today. And if so, please smash that subscribe button on the podcast player you're listening to. So, you'll get notification of new episodes. If you have any feedback about the show or would like to connect with me the best way to reach me is through my email ID surbhi@digitalgenie.co.

[00:01:31] Alright, so what I was reflecting upon? Well, we did establish the thought leadership is not going away.

[00:01:38] So I wanted to put together some of my reflection points and share a few trends that stand out for me as I constantly see, talk and read so much about thought leadership. So, hope you enjoy some of these powerful trends that I've been observing in 2022.

[00:01:56] The first one is zero entry barriers.

[00:01:59] Thanks to the ever-evolving possibilities to connect on social media and on the internet, there is very little barrier for anyone and everyone to take action on building thought leadership. Good employees and good executives are nice to have, but thought leaders or the ones who established thought leadership in specific niche are irreplaceable and possibly indispensable.

[00:02:25] Yes, everyone is adopting digital strategies. And those taking action today will be able to expand their positions as thought leaders tomorrow. So how do you build a reputation as a singular expert? How do you go about it doing on your own? When somebody who has, who doesn't just participate in the conversation, but drives it.

[00:02:48] So in one word, you leverage what you know. No matter how brilliant or talented you are, you want to be sufficiently appreciated by your customers or organization until the broader public actually recognizes that. The outside reinforcement becomes like an echo chamber that brings interest and respect for the body of work that you're putting in.

[00:03:17] Let that sink in a little bit. If you're an executive in an organization, look at how you are contributing to that function and what your function helps to achieve to your customers. If you only niche down to that particular point of helping the customers with your skillsets and how you contribute to the organization, you have suddenly so much to talk about and contribute in that space.

[00:03:48] All right. The second reflection point that I had was the power of choice. So, who has it today? Well, the power of choices with the customers as they can research online, even before entering the sales funnel, of a brand, the field who are building thought leadership consistently will stand out in this space.

[00:04:10] And let me explain that to you now. What has happened is that technology has leveled, the playing field for organizations big and small, and this whole digital first approach has made it even harder to gain trust from the customers and sustain it. The trust that your company brand is the right choice for the product or service that you're providing amongst the rest.

[00:04:36] Buyers today, have an unprecedented access to information, allowing them to make informed decision from what they see, hear, and experience on digital platforms. And that has not happened in the past or previous generations. How many times today you go to a dinner or a good, nice fancy restaurant before researching on it before reading the reviews on it, we don't even purchase any services online.

[00:05:05] So the customers of today are evaluating your brand much before they're actually having the conversation with your sales teams and therefore you need to meet them where they are looking for that information about your product or service. So, think about the power of choice that the customer has today and accordingly build your thought leadership content.

[00:05:27] The next trend that I'm observing is. That's an increasing trend of individuals and organization focusing on thought leadership type of content. Now it is not a question of either organization or an individual anymore. In fact, I have dedicated a whole episode on this, that building one's thought leadership is equally more important for organizations as well as employees.

[00:05:53] Brands today are making concerted efforts to motivate individuals from their teams to build thought leadership.

[00:06:02] The fourth trend I'm seeing is that slow and steady wins the race. Now the key word here is not slow, but really. Consistency base over time. Not overnight. If you're looking for, if you're consistently building your thought leadership, it will bring ROI in different ways.

[00:06:24] Your brand and reputation can be recognized easily. Uh, demand generation for your brand will be simpler because your customers are observing and participating in dialogues at different points. And as well as the customers will know your why and how you provide a difference and therefore choose you.

[00:06:49] For companies, it will be a great tool to consistently build thought leadership because now they will be able to attract better talent. And also, the most important thing I feel is that they are able to better engage their employees in a dialogue towards their vision.

[00:07:07] So just to recap, what I'm seeing is zero entry to barrier. Therefore, more people should and are developing thought leadership. The second point being the power of choice, the customer has a choice today, and you want to meet them where they are looking for that evaluation. The third one being there's an increasing trend of individuals, plus organizations driving thought leadership agenda.

[00:07:33] Uh, the fourth one being consistency. Consistency will help you over time, not overnight, right? The fifth point or the fifth trend that I'm seeing is collaboration. With increase of digital cacophony, one of the ways that businesses are navigating is by collaborating or synergetic messaging to similar audience fit.

[00:07:58] What does that mean? It means that they are collaborating for white papers and research, and even virtual live events on LinkedIn and YouTube, which are proving to be great ways to spread and achieve the reach and as well as achieve consistency for building thought leadership in that industry niche. Right. So once you know that the way you need to collaborate, you are able to create that symbiotic relationship in many different organizations.

[00:08:30] Content is integral medium through which thought leadership can be conveyed. In fact, in episode 18 of the making of thought leader, amplify your brand through thought leadership content, I have shared six ideas on how thought leadership can be weaved into the content strategy for business.

[00:08:51] Digital first brands understand the importance of content and they are often trapped on the hamster wheel of creating content and more content. More is not strategic. While it is important to have content across different channels, the idea is to offer value to the audience. Now, how does one create value?

[00:09:13] And let me quickly share. Something, here, that I feel can help you create value to the audience. So, let's imagine three overlapping circles, you know, the typical Venn diagram, and that's very common these days to have three overlapping circles. Okay. On the top left or the, on one of the circles, think it is data through research.

[00:09:37] Okay. The other one is ability to weave the story behind that data and the third circle is about visually sharing this story and the data points. Now, each circle overlaps with each other. Right. And so, the, each overlap is an action point. So, remember, the first circle is the data or research.

[00:10:02] Second is story and third is, visually presenting the story, a good research capability will help you uncover that data point. Yes. So, which can be explained so that data is, can be explained in a story format, which brings us to the next circle. It's a story. Now, this content that you have developed able to tell in a very good storytelling format to your end consumers needs to be presented in a visually engaging way, which is the third circle. Now this activity will definitely help you enlighten the audience and create valuable impressions. What often is missed out, especially in the B2B circles, is that the data there's a lot of data. There's a lot of money spent on research. And then there is a storytelling that comes out through it, but visually, um, you know, the, the it's not very attractive. So, in the speed of things like we are reading and consuming content today, I think that is this future trend that I see that visually presenting data is going to be really effective.

[00:11:13] Right. The next trend that I'm seeing is point of view, content and authenticity will be appreciated even more. So, people seem to like the real deal. The raw cut, there is lots of mirrored content out there, which makes it plain vanilla? I could say that, a lot of brands are looking actually relooking or unlearning and going back to the purpose. Due, pandemic, many companies have become vocal about their broader purpose and have communicated it through content.

[00:11:47] Unlike the past where developing brand meant more of creating awareness with an ultimate aim of sales today, it's getting a flavor of aligning messaging with overall purpose, mission, and vision. And one word of caution here, though. Timing is very critical for this type of content, because it has to be strategic and it has to be during the time when your audience expects it.

[00:12:19] So you kind of build towards it. You cannot bombard audience with this kind of content, just because you have now discovered that this is, uh, the trend to, follow.

[00:12:31] The next trend I've been seeing is about thought followers. Now on this podcast, we always talk about building thought leadership. So, we are encouraging people business owners, executives to invest time and efforts in creating their thought leadership.

[00:12:50] But what about those followers? Well, that are folks who repeat. Mimic thought leaders, they actually take the content and reshare it, and that doesn't make them any less. The point here that I want to tell you, or more you to think about is that retweeting or resharing? Um, content is very easy, but coming up with stuff that people want to tweet or retweet and share is very difficult and there is nothing wrong in being a thought follower.

[00:13:27] In fact, I am following. So many people in this thought leadership space. So therefore, I think I am a thought follower at many times, it's just that amplification of good ideas is also very important. Yeah. So, there is no judgment here, but I feel that that is a whole new trend about thought followership also emerging, which can be considered as one of the things that you need one to do for building community.

[00:13:55] And frankly, good ideas are good ideas, independent of who shares them. Isn't it? All right. The next one I think is very exciting for me is application of design thinking for building thought leadership. I've been doing some bit of digging around on this topic and I, the more I'm reading about it, the more I'm understanding how design thinking can actually be, be applied to totally the building thought leadership and how impactful it is.

[00:14:26] So design thinking as a concept is long proven on how innovative ideas arise. In simple words, it allows the creator to think about audiences, how they will discover and engage with your ideas. For example, design thinking will help you unravel how your audience consumes thought leadership content across a range of online and offline platforms.

[00:14:52] This in turn will allow you to keep fine tuning it until you achieve the optimum balance. Remember we said earlier, earlier in this episode that the consumers today are making the choice, the customers are making the choice. So, they are also making the choice on how they want to consume the content. In a report in a white paper report or in a video or tuning into podcasts, like now, et cetera.

[00:15:21] So you want to know how they're making the choice and that's how you apply design thinking. I will cover more about this as soon as I have more content on design thinking and I understand it better.

[00:15:36] The last one is the new wave of internet. Everybody's talking about web 3.0, and I hope you have heard about it as well.

[00:15:45] Web 2.0 was an upgrade from static websites, right? Like an interactivity was also had a centralized control with companies or brands like Facebook, LinkedIn, and all these other social media.

[00:16:01] But this has actually raised concerns over data integrity, centralized control etcetera. With Web grab 2.3 points. Zero users are expected to gain access to autonomous and open internet. So basically, companies and individuals alike will have more access without having to depend on a third-party app. While this all is really just unfolding.

[00:16:29] What it really means is to have a strong community, which will be foundational in success for moving on to 3.0. Creating community often creates relationships. And when there is relationship, you can bring your community to the newer platform that you are moving on to. Web 3.0 is often regarded as when people were adopting to internet.

[00:16:57] People have these apprehensions and everybody is now on internet. So, while these new technologies are emerging. I think the bottom line still remains that if you have your own community, you are able to bring them wherever you move on or move along with them to newer platforms. Okay. So that brings me to the end of all the trends, but I want to leave you with one more thought.

[00:17:27] Getting the thought leadership recipe is very important for companies of all sizes. Despite the overflow of poor content, decision-makers still spending over two hours each week consuming thought leadership content, according to research. Now this clearly suggests that there is huge opportunity right here, for brands to attract its audiences, the decision-makers through their content, to their brand in the long term with thought leadership.

[00:17:59] While working on building thought leadership, I work with the eight P framework. The 8 Ps stand for. Purpose, People, Package, position, Partner, promotion, publish and proof. I've covered this framework in-depth in episode two of the making of a thought leader podcast. So go to that episode to know more on how I leverage that framework.

[00:18:28] Now, with this in mind, building thought leadership has become essential and will continue to skyrocket. This brings me to the end of another fantastic episode of Making of a Thought Leader podcast. I hope you enjoyed this as much as I enjoyed it putting together. And if you see any other trends that you may want to share with me, please email me on Surbhi@DigitalGenie.co

[00:18:55] I will see you in the next episode with more ideas on building thought leadership.