90 days to visible thought leadership

31 Aug 2023
Neil Sheth

You might have heard that it takes 66 days of sustained effort to make a new habit or behaviour stick.

We’d argue that becoming an influential thought leader takes just a few more days than that.

And why not, right?

Thought leadership is a worthy goal. A thought leader commands influence, authority, and the best leads.

limitations can be freeing

Look at Sahil Bloom. Look at Ramit Sethi. Look at Alex Hormozi.

Sure, they’ve each got ‘one big thing’ (holistic living, personal finance, building businesses) that they’re known for.

But scroll down their timelines, and you’ll see that they’re in no way limited to how they initially started out. 

Now it’s your turn. 

All it has to take is 90 days.

Plant the seeds of your thought leadership today by picking an effective content strategy.

We really like the word ‘effective’. It implies pure, unadulterated functionality – no fancy gimmicks, no chasing followers, no platitudes.

Just listen to your audience, provide the best value for their problems and put in the work consistently.


Use our 90 days to visible leadership cheat sheet and you’ll blossom into a thought leader in no time.

Let’s take you through how to use it…

 

6 questions you should ask yourself before launching

Albert Einstein once said: “If I had an hour to solve a problem and my life depended on the solution, I would spend the first 55 minutes determining the proper question to ask… for once I know the proper question, I could solve the problem in less than five minutes.”

That’s what being an effective thought leader is all about. Ask yourself:

  1. What’s my #1 goal for sharing content?
  2. Who’s my target audience?
  3. What does my audience need help with? 
  4. What makes my content stand out? 
  5. What do I enjoy talking about? 
  6. Who are my potential supporters?

Solve your audience’s problems in public. They’ll love you forever.

4 goals that your thought leadership journey must cover

 

You’ll notice a lot of these will start taking shape after you’ve answered the pre-launch questions.

  1. define your content category 
  2. decide your message
  3. choose a content format 
  4. find your content-audience-fit

Here’s a mantra that has worked wonders to keep our clients consistent with their thought leadership efforts.

We call it the pre-content-audience-fit affirmation, and it goes something like this:

I embrace the journey of learning what my audience craves – continuously improving my content to give them value and connection.

Make each member of your audience the hero. That’s how you build an army of loyal fans.

your roadmap to becoming a visible thought leader

After working with several entrepreneurs, industry leaders and experts, we’ve cracked the code.

1. build your thought leadership plan 

  • pick your content category 
  • choose your content pillars
  • craft thought leadership topics 
  • define your tone of voice 

pick your content category

We’re all about helpful frameworks. 

Here’s how you frame your content category.

helping ————————– (target audience) get ————————- 

(outcome they want) by ————————— (your secret solution).

If you’re in the financial sector, for example, your content category could be:

eg: helping b2b decision-makers get confident about their business finances by providing expert insights, actionable strategies, and personalised solutions.

Define your statement through action (always more engaging) and give yourself the ability to generate endless ideas simply by talking to your audience.

choose your content pillars

You want to stick to three broad pillars – any more than that will confuse your audience. The more your pillars lend themselves to sub-topics, the more ideas you can communicate.

Continuing our financial thought leader example, some relevant content pillars would be:

  • risk management and compliance
  • investment strategies and market analysis
  • financial planning for businesses

Your content strategy is the foundation of your efforts, yes.

But your content pillars will support your thought leadership content for years.

Build it, and they will come.

craft your thought leadership topics

This is where choosing sturdy pillars will benefit you. 

Each content pillar will inspire a myriad of topics such as:

  • risk management and compliance

You could talk about legal considerations in the financial industry, good compliance practices, and put out thought pieces on data security, fraud prevention, and anti-money laundering (AML) protocols.

  • investment strategies and market analysis

You could analyse various investment vehicles: from stocks to bonds, and offer insights into market trends, asset allocation, diversification, and risk management for corporate portfolios.

  • financial planning for businesses

You can guide your b2b audience through the intricacies of financial planning by discussing topics such as: cash flow management, budgeting, tax optimisation, and debt management for businesses.

See how the opportunities for content become virtually limitless when you choose solid content pillars?

define your tone of voice

Is your voice like a wise mentor? Or are you more of a fun, everyday brand?

Do you add a bit of humour? Or are you to-the-point?

Choose a tone of voice that makes sense for you. Your writing will be that much more honest.

2: demonstrate your expertise 

  • craft your story and publish content 
  • write an authoritative LinkedIn profile 

Everyone’s an expert at something – you need to find the intersection between your expertise and the problems your audience wants solved.

Update your profile to reflect your expertise and keep publishing content – then watch how prospects seek you out in times to come.

3: launch your thought leadership content

  • write and publish written-only content 
  • write and publish content with images of you 
  • write and publish content with nicely designed images

Choose what’s most authentic to you.

If you’re comfortable regularly showing your face on camera, then content with images of you is the way to go.

If you express yourself better with words, then written-only content – along with designed images is the way to go.

4: lessons learnt and tweaks (after publishing nine pieces) 

  • analyse content views and engagement 
  • see what content converts to quality conversations and leads 
  • adjust topics and content formats 
  • launch again

Good content is all about feedback and iteration. 

You can never chase perfection – you have to build it.

finally…

We hope this has helped you clarify your thought leadership journey. Use this as a way to turn your goals into actions.

As a parting note, be consistent with a content frequency promise.

here it goes

I plan to publish ————————- (your content category) on ————————— (channels e.g. blog, LinkedIn) every —————————— (frequency).

eg: I plan to publish financial thought pieces on my LinkedIn and newsletter every week.