Well I’m inspired! I’ve been getting the message from a few sources lately that creating content has so many benefits. As a digital marketer this is not news, but after hearing it from Josh Steimle today at the Interactive Minds keynote breakfast in Brisbane, he’s actually forced me to put pen to paper, or fingers to keys as it may be.

Josh Steimle is the CEO and founder of digital agency MWI. He has also written lots of articles for publications like Forbes, Mashabale, TechCrunch, Entrepreneur and Time. He’s published a book on “Chief Marketing Officers at Work” and now based in China, he flew to Brisbane to keynote this event.

7 Ways To Become A Thought Leader

Starting with his own experience Josh explained how he ran a digital marketing agency who was finding it tough to get to the next level of growth. Business was a grind and it wasn’t until Josh started positioning himself as a thought leader, in a topic area that resonated with his audiences, that the business started kicking some goals. 

But it wasn’t all easy as not everyone wants to talk about themselves and it can be easier to make a comment on someone else rather than talk from personal experience. However as Josh explained, talking about yourself will allow you to grow your business and he went as far to say that publishing content had resulted in a million dollars of business coming in for him.

In his presentation Josh outlined these seven steps to becoming a thought leader:

1.    Start with why 
Being clear on why you are creating content and your objectives will allow you to aim towards a target and have better chance at success. When you are writing content, this will give your whole body of work a clarity for you to benchmark against.

2.    Find your audience 
Get clear on who you’re talking to and what they want to know.

3.    Find a mentor
Josh doesn’t mean a traditional mentor to guide you through crafting your plan, no he means more in a “stalking” kind of way!  Find someone that has achieved goals in parallel with your own and become aware of all that they are doing.  This could be another content creator or it could be a journalist or industry contact. Get notified every time they tweet, publish or comment and learn their methods, style and timing that you can apply to your case.

4.    Choose your content 
Rather than talking about your interests, learn your audience’s problems and address them through your writing. A good place to start is looking at what questions your organisation gets asked and writing a response.

5.    Prepare your tools 
Decide on the platforms that you are going to use and how it will work. You might be writing for a large publication or you may be using LinkedIn Pulse, Medium and social media. Have a plan in place and remember that if you publish on your own platform it will provide you with an added element of control. Freely available social platforms can be a good test case before you make an investment in your own setup.

6.    Sell without selling 
No one likes the hard sell so look at what content you can provide that is unique.  Try and be transparent with things like pricing and metrics and remember, everyone likes insight into information normally kept private.

7.    Confidence trumps everything 
Everyone is an expert at something so find your niche and use your personal skills. Remember you just need to know a little bit more than your audience.

Being a content creator can have many benefits and is not just for those who own their own company. If you’re a worker in the industry it can demonstrate your ideas, help you to stand out from your peers and can play a pivotal role in a pay review or new job. On the other hand, creating a thought leader out of a company executive can provide your company with an informal spokesperson, aid in sales and create stickiness for the company.

The hardest part with content is likely not the writing in itself but in connecting with other influencers who will relate to your content and help you to get your message out to a broader audience. Building relationships with journalists and editors is now everyone’s job and will likely take some serious planning and forethought to make a relationship come to fruition.

Thanks to all those who attended the event, we hope that you got as much out of it as we did! Thanks Josh for providing so much inspiration!