What is thought leadership? It’s one of the most unique leadership styles there are today because instead of self-promoting what you’ve got as a leader, you’re providing solutions to someone’s problems without using your company, your services, or any of your products at all. Instead of showing people a hard sell, you’re showing people your intelligence. You’re showing that you have personal value and that a relationship with you, not your products, is beneficial.
How is thought leadership expressed today? Here are some of the primary methods that you’ll find floating around.
1. The Free Ebook
What you’ll find with the free ebooks that many websites are offering today is a PDF booklet that is able to solve some sort of problem that someone may be having. These are generally niche problems that are solved, like being able to install a floating patio, and the ebook will give the complete instructions that are necessary for success.
Thought leadership through newsletters has been around for generations. The newsletter helps people to stay up to date with an organization they care about. It shows people how their money might be being spent and there will also be some key problems solved. Don’t know what to make for dinner? Use the recipe on the back. Want some ideas about how to properly invest your money? Take a look at the article that’s on page 3.
3. White Papers
White papers are a lot like a prolonged article or ebook that someone might read, but the difference is that the white paper is providing evidence that supports a specific position or solution. It’s more of a B2B document than a B2C document because it will define a common problem, and then define the solution, but it won’t pitch a particular product that might be needed.
When you can provide someone with practical skills that they can use over their lifetime, then you are providing them with a tremendous amount of value. Webinars are an easy way to make this happen because you can speak with people or provide them with presentations from the comfort of your own home. If you prefer a more hands-on approach, the location-based training seminars that are provided for free are an old school version of this same principle.
5. Visual Graphics
Many Millennials today are struggling with prolonged training seminars/webinars and long informative articles because they are so used to having a divided focus. That’s why visual graphics, such as an infographic, can be such a useful tool. With just 30 seconds of focus, an overview of a topic with specific data can be obtained so that the reader has some information to get them started on their own road of discovery.
All of these examples can be effective when used appropriately. Solve problems, help people, and become a niche expert all in one document or image and you really could change the world.