The Ultimate Guide To Becoming A Thought Leader On LinkedIn

July 21, 2020 - 19 minutes read - B2B, Thought Leadership

Developing trust and transparency in today’s B2B marketing world is essential for maintaining a competitive brand presence in an otherwise saturated marketplace. According to a survey of 1,164 U.S. B2B business executives by Edelman and LinkedIn, 53% of respondents spend an hour or more per week engaging with thought leadership. 

Consuming thought leadership content not only enhances 88% of decision-makers’ perception of a brand, but it accounts for an estimated 48% of their purchasing decisions as well.

At Mod Girl®, we’ve made it our mission as a thought leadership agency to share as much as we can to help B2B companies see success leveraging LinkedIn and thought leadership.

From our free LinkedIn profile checklist to our LinkedIn jumpstart program, and our LinkedIn growth programs, we love helping B2B professionals and brands build their authority and influence on LinkedIn.

Now, in this ultimate guide to becoming a thought leader on LinkedIn, we’re sharing:

  • The Importance Of Thought Leadership
  • Why You Need A Content Marketing Strategy On LinkedIn 
  • How To Become A Thought Leader
  • The Do’s and Don’ts When it Comes To Thought Leadership

Want to optimize your LinkedIn profile, boost your thought leadership, and expand your growth opportunities?

Mod Girl Marketing, named one of the Top B2B Digital Marketing Agencies in the US, has helped countless B2B professionals and brands leverage LinkedIn to boost their thought leadership and revenue.

Download Our Free LinkedIn Profile Checklist Here or Contact Us for a No-Cost Consultation.

Why is Thought Leadership Important?

By executing an effective thought leadership marketing strategy, you can position your brand and key executives within your organization as experts in your respective industry. This not only strengthens brand awareness and visibility among your target audience, but it boosts credibility as well. But where do you start? LinkedIn is one of the most underrated, yet extremely powerful B2B business platforms out there.

Through influential messaging, sharing your “why,” and forging genuine connections, you can deliver value and make a true impact. The goal is to leverage your passion and expertise to address the needs and challenges of your customers and prospects. 

By doing so, you can create positive disruption within your industry – unlocking new opportunities for growth while generating high-quality demand. 

Every month, our CEO and founder Mandy McEwen goes live on LinkedIn to build her thought leadership and share valuable insights with her community. The videos in this blog were originally shared on LinkedIn and are a perfect example of creating meaningful content for your target audience.

This 50-second video snippet reveals why thought leadership is key to resonating with your consumers.

The Importance Of Thought Leadership In Your Content Marketing Strategy

Edelman and LinkedIn’s research found that a mere 23% of B2B marketers can connect their sales and business wins with the thought leadership content they produce. 

Do you see the discrepancy here? There’s a large disconnect between the percentage of decision-makers (88%) that noted thought leadership enhanced their impression of a particular brand and the percentage of leaders (77%) who are unable to tie their thought leadership to revenue generation. 

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LinkedIn B2B Lead Generation: A Complete Guide for Leaders

That signifies an abundance of poor quality content, inadequate investing, and an underestimation of how impactful thought leadership can be when implemented internally.

Other key findings from the study include:

  • Only 17% of key decision-makers rated the quality of the thought leadership content they read as very good or excellent. 
  • 41% are more willing to pay a premium to work with a company that produces quality thought leadership content versus those who do not. 
  • 48% of decision-makers extended an RFP invitation to an organization, increased the amount of business they did with a vendor, or purchased a new product/service they didn’t previously consider after consuming thought leadership content from a particular company.  
  • 71% of respondents believe a company’s thought leadership content is one of the best ways to gauge a B2B organization’s capabilities and caliber of thinking.

The numbers tell a captivating story – especially when it comes to building brand equity, opening the doorway for new opportunities, and closing prospects sitting in the pipeline. 

Why You Need A Content Marketing Strategy On LinkedIn

Having an effective content marketing strategy is not only a major reputation booster for your company, but it communicates the type of quality and passion your organization puts into its work. 

In addition to having a solid strategy, you need to be leveraging the right platforms. For B2B marketers, LinkedIn is a goldmine for building your brand and thought leadership.

With over 575 million members worldwide and 260 million monthly active users, LinkedIn allows you to tap into a seemingly endless supply of network connections and business opportunities.

That’s the real power of using LinkedIn for business: the ability to utilize existing connections and position your company as a thought leader by optimizing your profile and communicating your expertise. 

In addition, the site has been recognized as the top-rated social network for B2B lead generation.

Is LinkedIn Premium Worth The Investment? We Compare The Different LinkedIn Membership Options Here.

Where many brands fall short is not having an optimized presence on LinkedIn. In this 1-minute video clip, Mandy reveals why your LinkedIn profile is your secret weapon for building brand authority and expanding your influence on the platform.

Download our free LinkedIn profile checklist and start expanding your reach and influence.

How to Become a Thought Leader

The internet is teeming with blogs, videos, podcasts, and similar content from people striving to be thought leaders. That should come as no surprise. 

After all, thought leadership helps individuals and organizations gain notoriety and position themselves as industry experts. When done correctly, thought leadership marketing can shorten sales cycles and increase a customer’s lifetime value. 

Though many pursue thought leadership, a vast majority of B2B organizations take the wrong approach, which could potentially lead to a loss of revenue and respect. 

They also underestimate the value of using LinkedIn as a thought leadership platform and often miss out on key opportunities to get in front of their target audience.

As with any content marketing strategy, there are your “Do’s” and your “Don’ts.” So, how can you make your efforts unique, impactful, and valuable? 

By following these thought leadership best practices: 

DON’T: Just use any Social Network for Exposure

DO: Leverage the Right Platform & Reach your Target Audience

When it comes to B2B branding, never settle for mediocracy. That means exercising mindfulness and strategically using social media to build your presence as a thought leader. The most effective platform to leverage is LinkedIn. 

LinkedIn is full of professionals who you can connect with to help you elevate your brand and business. From prospective clients to collaboration partners to referral partners – the connections you make will become an invaluable part of your LinkedIn content marketing strategy.  

Leveraging LinkedIn for your B2B marketing efforts is an optimal way to tap into new revenue opportunities, expand your network, and propel your reputation to new heights. Your professional profile will become one of your strongest assets, acting as a “landing page” to showcase your thought leadership, expertise, and personal branding on Linkedin. 

By optimizing your profile, you will acquire more leads, broaden brand awareness and visibility, and establish authority in your respective field. 

Developing a strong LinkedIn growth strategy can mean the difference between generating sustainable growth and remaining stagnant.

Your growth strategy should also include targeted, relevant content for your audience. In fact, LinkedIn’s algorithm rewards quality content, which you can use to your advantage to expand your reach and influence. Mandy explains how in the 50-second video below.

DON’T: Exist in a Vacuum

DO: Be Relevant and Timely

Thought leadership isn’t about you. It’s about your prospects & customers. What you consider an important topic might not attract or resonate with your intended audience. Your peers, customers, prospects, and partners have a set of challenges and questions they’re looking to answer. Effective and genuine thought leadership requires crafting messages that address these specific and relevant needs. By doing so, you will see people get behind your brand and perspective, which ultimately lays the foundation for long-term relationships. 

At Mod Girl, we know thought leadership is a marathon, not a sprint. But, you can get a tremendous head start on that marathon by partnering with the right individuals. Instead of trial-and-error, do it right the first time – this ensures you’ll make the biggest impact possible. 

Once you’ve done your homework and have honed in on some topics related to your career or business that you want to focus on, you’ve got to find your niche. 

This is where using platforms like LinkedIn for personal branding can set you apart from the crowd. Offering real value calls for providing business insights that others can leverage to find success. For example, what advice or tricks of the trade can you share that have greatly impacted your career? What knowledge have you acquired that has influenced the way you approach certain facets of your everyday life?

This 30-second video clip from Mandy explains more.

Dig deep. Find what makes your business, expertise, and personal experience unique. What does your brand do differently or better than anyone else? A herd mentality will only make you another faceless name in the crowd. Instead, be innovative, creative, and authentic – personality goes a long way. 

DON’T: Mindlessly Share Content

DO: Create a B2B Content Marketing Plan

As we mentioned earlier, when it comes to your thought leadership content strategy, it’s all about quality, not quantity. Anyone can share an article or reiterate important stats, but successful thought leaders are the ones who use personal anecdotes or experiences to give content meaning, purpose, and perspective. The goal is to provide insights that cause a prospect to take action. And not just take action but benefit from your input.  

Thoughtlessly sharing content just for the sake of doing it will fail to produce engagement and it could potentially harm your reputation in the long-run. While publishing everywhere you possibly can be tempting, thought leadership requires a planned approach. To be effective, you must consider your voice, messaging, the type of image you wish to establish, and what you want to be known for. In other words, what do you want people to think when they hear or read your name? 

By creating a purposeful content strategy, you’ll stay focused on your niche, know where to find your ideal audience, and what types of outlets to target as you begin building awareness. 

And before you create ANY content, you need to be crystal clear on these 4 key things, which Mandy outlines in this 20-second video.

DON’T: Self-Proclaim Yourself to Be a Thought Leader

DO: Walk the Walk

Time and time again we hear people declare themselves to be thought leaders. Sure, they have a unique opinion, but are they actively building their brand and spreading their message? Typically, they aren’t.  

Thought leader on LinkedIn Mandy McEwen

An example of a LinkedIn post by Mandy

Your target audience will give you the title of a thought leader – as long as you’re speaking in a language that resonates with them. You want to emulate integrity, and that means showcasing your “why,” and delivering meaningful content that provides value. Genuine thought leaders don’t place themselves on a pedestal; they’re human and understand the importance of connecting with people and helping the world evolve. 

DON’T: Self-Promote or Hyper-Focused on Selling

DO: Show Authenticity & Build Trust

Thought leadership and selling are not synonymous. This is where many B2B businesses go wrong. Thought leadership is about establishing your brand as a trusted authority figure in your area of expertise. 

You want to differentiate yourself from the competition by providing knowledge and market insight – NOT by discussing what discount you’re offering or a product that was recently launched. 

Watch the 1-minute video below as our CEO, Mandy McEwen discusses why providing valuable content will make you a better leader.

Sales jargon will only dilute your message and contaminate your ability to become a thought leader. We see this happening a lot on platforms like LinkedIn. 

In order to create compelling content, you need to focus on providing genuine help. Solve your audience’s biggest problems. Chat about life hacks that greatly improved your standing in your field. At the end of the day, thought leadership is all about value. And value is a means to building credibility and trust. Self-promotion comes across as phony – as if your content has a hidden business agenda versus truly aiming to help others. 

 From our free LinkedIn profile checklist to our LinkedIn jumpstart program, and our LinkedIn growth programs, we’ve been helping B2B leaders and companies leverage LinkedIn to build their thought leadership and build meaningful relationships – creating endless opportunities for growth and impact.

Why B2B Brands Need To Be Building Thought Leadership

When done right, branding in B2B, including a well-crafted thought leadership marketing strategy, can yield long-term rewards for both your business and audience. Rather than contributing to the conversation, thought leaders drive new ones. By sharing their views, established thought leaders can help their organization engage prospects and buyers at a multitude of strategic levels. Partnering with a thought leadership agency that’s proficient in artful brand messaging and demand generation will help empower the voice and credibility of your business – all while creating new opportunities for growth. 

Learn how to optimize your LinkedIn profile and get maximum views from your target niche with our Ultimate LinkedIn Profile Checklist.

LinkedIn Profile Checklist

Discover how Mod Girl can help you grow as a thought leader, partner with the right people in your industry, and make a real impact in your industry — contact us today.

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