Becoming a thought leader enhances your personal and professional stature within your industry and community, making you much more appealing as an authority and person of influence. When an advisor is viewed as a true thought leader, they attract the attention of influential clients who use their influence to refer other influential people.
As previously discussed on the blog, content is the key to building influence. Producing compelling, thought-provoking content delivered through your website, a blog, and emails, is how you establish your authority in the field. The more it is viewed, the more influence you can build, which is where social media comes in. Posting your content on LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, and other social media sites expands your potential audience and builds your online influence.
But that’s just the beginning. While influence is critical, without credibility, it can be fleeting. Blogging and social media engagement are essential for building thought leadership, but when you can share your thoughts in high-profile settings you gain invaluable credibility.
One Advisor’s journey to thought leadership
Step #1: Building influence and authority
I knew an advisor who religiously created content and posted it to his blog and social media sites. Little by little he built a following and automated his marketing to create more engagement with his followers, many of whom found their way into his pipeline as prospects. His influence began to spread as more followers shared his content. It was a formula for success, generating a consistent flow of new clients.
But he wanted to up his game to attract more high-net-worth clients and centers of influence. While his budding influence as a source of meaningful and thoughtful content enabled him to start more conversations with prospects, he lacked the credibility he needed to engage at a higher level with substantial people—people with the means, stature, and connections to radically change his trajectory. But he needed a way to get them to listen to him.
Step #2: Gain local media access
He took a two-pronged approach to gaining media access. After networking his way to a connection with a local radio station, he convinced management to let him present a daily market wrap-up. He ended every segment by inviting listeners to follow his blog and Facebook page, picking up several new followers each day. He also encouraged his social media followers to tune in to his daily market recap. His credibility was building.
Step #3: Become a resource for journalists
His modest notoriety as a radio personality opened the door to a conversation with a business reporter for a local newspaper, who agreed to seek him out for comments on investing and other financial stories. He also offered to submit articles and pitch story ideas, several of which were accepted by the business editor. It wasn’t long before a Google search of his name brought up news articles with his name prominently displayed in the search descriptions.
Step #4: Plug your social media along the way
His commentary and articles caught the eye of a local affiliate of a national television network that invited him to appear on weekend shows to comment on financial issues of the day. His five-minute segments, which included a visual plug for his Twitter account, reached thousands of households in his area.
One of his segments on the challenges of small business owners struggling in an inflationary environment caught the attention of the national network who gave him five minutes of airtime on a weekend business show, again with a plug for his Twitter account.
Step #5: Leverage your media exposure
To leverage his media exposure, he repurposed his articles and clips of his appearances as content for his blog, email blasts, and social media accounts. His following grew as did the level of engagement with influential people who introduced him to others without hesitation.
Eventually, he became a familiar source for a wide range of journalists locally and nationally and began receiving invitations to speak at local clubs and churches—both sources of highly influential people.
Now, when he talks, people listen
A little more than a year into his public relations strategy, the credibility and visibility he gained through the media cemented, his authority and influence, clearly differentiating him as a thought leader. While he is not in the category of a Warren Buffett or Dave Ramsey, people will listen when he talks—and isn’t that what we all want?
Thought leadership doesn’t come easy, but following a PR strategy in a smart, planned way is the most effective way to begin your journey. While digital marketing efforts are always important for building your pipeline, ambitious advisors need to build a “buzz” around them to give their marketing efforts credibility. A good public relations strategy can increase the impact of your marketing and sales efforts and substantially elevate your return on investment.
Related: Why Blogging Is Your Path To Achieving Thought Leadership