Gaining a Competitive Advantage with Thought Leadership

Sep 2011

Gaining a Competitive Advantage with Thought Leadership

Posted by Samantha Morris

Thought leaders are people who have an influence on how others think about a subject or issue. Through developing models, theories or ideas, they end up with a following that stems largely from the apparent truth and/or usefulness of their ideas.

The key facet to thought leadership is to build a reputation as a singular expert and positive association with your brand (personal and otherwise) that creates mindshare. As you build your reputation, your prospective customers will think of you earlier in the buying cycle when a need arises.  Outside reinforcement will translate into more money and respect.

Be Innovative

It’s important to have a unique point of view that results in ideas and innovations that are better or disruptive to other ones in the market. Your ideas and innovations should be ones that allow the industry to remove inefficiencies to do things better/faster, cost effectively or evangelize a certain type of technology.

It’s easy to be a pseudo-expert -- make sure you really know what you’re talking about.  That will require you to showcase that you have a deeper understanding and current/relevant knowledge of the subject.

Create a robust online presence

In the Data Backup industry, W. Curtis Preston, also known as Mr. Backup has done a great job at showcasing his expertise by creating a number of online properties and communities that foster his ability to drive thought leadership – specifically through blogging. You can also find him posting in LinkedIn groups and on Twitter, as well as writing articles for popular web properties including TechTarget. What is also important to note is that Mr. Backup has a strong opinion and point of view – rarely ever backing down to open criticism of his thoughts or ideas.  

It is important to use as many of the media platforms that makes sense to spread your ideas and to ensure that others know about your expertise. With the advent of social media, it is very easy to spread ideas for little or no cost. This can help you boost your reputation and raise your profile online; building a followership that looks forward to the content you will create and share on a continuous basis.

Speak in Public

The majority of us hate speaking in public, so the small percentage that does take to the stage will see their credibility in relation to any subject matter rise. You can start small; through your local chamber of commerce or rotary club. When your confidence and profile builds overtime, accept or seek out opportunities to speak at associations, conferences and trade shows. You can take your search online to determine which events would best benefit from your expertise or you can purchase the National Trade and Professional Associated directory to find out who to contact for upcoming events. It’s important to leverage these engagements. If they are recorded, these assets can be used on YouTube, Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn.

The bottom line is that becoming a thought leader will give you an enormous industry edge.  It doesn’t matter what industry you’re in -- thought leadership will propel your business in ways that you could never imagine. With the right approach and a small investment, results will materialize quickly. 

On October 5th, we will be holding a webinar, Thought Leadership: Tools to Get You Recognized, that will be held exclusively for our partners. To find our more information, please visit

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