How to start and run a thought leader blog

booksIn a constantly shifting world, ideas need to be engaged with thoughtfully and critically. The internet has given rise to numerous businesses and careers, changing billions of lives. Businesses have had to find numerous unique ways of staying ahead. This is difficult when competitors are themselves able to utilise the same tools. Yet, one unique resource every business has is its staff’s expertise and their unique perspectives on the world. By using this, businesses can encourage their staff to become thought leaders in particular industries. Properly done, this can establish a business as not only a leader in product delivery but ideas, too. This will sit well with customers, who tend to prefer companies that think ahead, creatively and out the box. Of course, for businesses, it is a matter of showing – not merely telling – and ideally such creativity will manifest itself in services and products. But by being a leader in terms of ideas, a business person can establish a culture that puts them at the forefront of their industry. The question then is how does one become such an individual. The ideal way to begin is blogging.

Why blogging

Blogging is an essential way to establish yourself as a thought leader. If best-selling authors can manage being CEOs, writing books and maintaining blogs, then so can you.

For example, Seth Godin is a best-selling author of 18 books. As his site indicates, these books “have been bestsellers around the world and have been translated into more than 35 languages. He writes about the post-industrial revolution, the way ideas spread, marketing, quitting, leadership and most of all, changing everything.”

Additionally, “Seth founded both Yoyodyne and Squidoo. His blog (which you can find by simply typing “seth” into Google) is one of the most popular in the world.” If you are interested in being known, imagine being the first result from a Google search for your first name. That is what the power of being a well-known thought leader can do.

Forbes’ Jayson DeMers, an expert on internet marketing and ranking, points out what a blog can do for you.

“A blog is one of the best ways to establish yourself or your brand as an expert in your field, as it gives you a platform for sharing important industry-related information and insights. As you build up authority in your niche, this breeds trust and familiarity, keeping you top-of-mind when your prospects are ready to buy, and increasing conversion rates.”

By creating constantly new content for the business’ site, there is a higher chance of it ranking higher in search result pages.

Naming

A name is everything. That is why when you buy a domain, so many experts insist on thinking carefully about keywords, modern conventions, geography and so on. As digital marketing expert Rand Fishkin notes:

“You should really think long and hard about the domain name that you choose and, in fact, the brand name that you choose and how that’s represented through your domain name online. Domain names have a massive impact all over the web in terms of click-through rate, from search to social media results, to referring links, to type-in traffic, brandability, offline advertising. There’s a huge wealth of places that your domain name impacts your brand and your online marketing, and we can’t ignore this.”

In fact, when considering domain buying, it might be wise to think about where you want to host your blog. When choosing a domain name, it’s helpful to consider whether it fits your blog. Seth Godin, for example, doesn’t maintain his blog on his official website, but merely links to it. Though he of course did buy a domain focused on his name, he was focused on his own brand. What you need to consider is just how separate or interlinked you want to make your personal brand and your business’. Naturally, these don’t have to be mutually exclusive, but sometimes people are more famous than the companies they work for.

However, if the main reason for thought leadership is to establish the business, then rather consider sticking to your business’ official website. You can always use blogging software to enhance the experience.

Creating content

Of course, this only takes you so far. What matters is what you’re discussing and creating. Running a blog is meaningless if you aren’t focused on delivering thoughtful opinions. One way to stay ahead and up-to-date is to use social media. Using Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and so on, not only helps you have a constant live update of new, relevant information, but also helps grow your brand.  You can respond with your own opinion and thoughts, summarised in quick Tweets or Facebook posts, which themselves can turned into blog posts.

It’s also probably helpful to improve writing and thinking skills, honing the ability to make coherent arguments. It’s easy to simply assert your opinion – but what most people find compelling is navigating your reasons for your assertions, so that they might have their own mind and beliefs challenged. You don’t become memorable for an opinion but rather how you got to that opinion. This is what people look for in any form of content and will help make you stand out from the many others all claiming similar views.

In the end what matters is being able to have control of your content, knowing where you put it, staying ahead within your industry and creating opinions people want to share. Doing this consistently will improve not only your standing with customers and audiences, but make you think clearer in general.