As I said in an earlier post examining the relationship between trust and thought leadership, brands need to have a few things nailed down to establish themselves as an authority that can shape messaging and ideas about their industries effectively. They need to:
Who Counts as a Thought Leader?
A thought leader is anyone who can contribute meaningfully to the conversations about an industry’s most pressing issues. Generally, thought leaders are the brands and voices that the industry recognizes as authorities on these matters. Possibly, in considering where your brand stands on this matter, you think your startup or your company couldn’t possibly be a thought leader (how many Steve Jobs-level voices are there, really?).
Fair point, but here’s the thing: It’s kind of difficult to be a thought leader if you don’t act like one. Everyone has to start somewhere, so get out there and make some moves. Shape the conversation! How? With a meaningful content strategy.
Startups are eager to step up to the microphone to talk about how their approach to business is innovative, efficient, and potentially paradigm-shifting, but brand-new entities often lack the staff or the resources to put on a strong content campaign in the digital sphere, and even if they did, they usually don’t have a large audience readily available to influence. Plus, every dollar matters enormously to these companies as the pressure to get off the ground is intense, and they need to keep the lights on each month. Startups are vulnerable to putting every second toward pitching and selling, and that creates a majorly missed opportunity in gaining steam through thought leadership that they execute through a strong content campaign. So, what’s a startup to do?
Startups are vulnerable to putting every second toward pitching and selling, and that creates a majorly missed opportunity in gaining steam through thought leadership that they execute through a strong content campaign.
Advice for startups: Don’t wait. That’s my biggest advice. Do not wait to get better established to execute a strong leadership campaign through your content. You need that campaign to build momentum for the brand and to grow, not just your business, but your audience. You should absolutely be active talking about your industry, the most important issues affecting your industry, and what makes you different. Startups give consumers alternative options, and the reasons that startups exist enable conversations that can move the entire industry forward. Startups need to dig deep and execute thought leadership while they demonstrate value through exceptional quality (in product or service). In short, startups need a robust content campaign to build momentum.
You should absolutely be active talking about your industry, the most important issues affecting your industry, and what makes you different.