Guidance, Marketing, Strategy

Thought leadership as a driver of SEO.

It seems like everyone’s talking about ‘Thought Leadership’ lately – but we’re not so sure that everyone’s singing from the same hymn sheet when it comes to defining what exactly that is. Having consulted various sources, though, we’re inclined to go with the consensus, which is that it’s all about originality, authority and what, for want of a better word, we’ll call charisma.

It’s not much good knowing your stuff unless you make sure people know that you know, know who you are and talk about you – a lot!

That means being an influencer, key opinion leader, and expert in your field in equal measures. In other words, it’s not much good knowing your stuff unless you make sure people know that you know, know who you are, and talk about you – a lot! If you want to become an expert in your field, our range of digital marketing services will get you in the know. And the reason why those things are capable of driving SEO is that internet searches – and therefore SEO – are really all about relevance and authority. 

All of which is, of course, easier said than done – but, broadly speaking, there are three ways to endow yourself with the qualities that drive SEO.

Do some research of your own

The overwhelming majority of articles on the web are very seldom shared and attract hardly any links, leaving them barely visible on the SEO radar. Why? Because very few contain the original thought based on original research that grabs and retains attention and inspires people to reference it and share it with their peers. It means your work’s cited in other people’s bibliographies and is highly visible. 

We can hear you asking, ‘but what can I research that other people haven’t?’… Finding the right topic may sound like quite a challenge – but it often isn’t that very difficult. A great way to identify something worth examining is to ask yourself what people in your field say a lot without any evidence and then go in search of the missing information.

Write stuff – books, posts, columns and get interviewed

This is a great way to establish your personal ‘brand’ and authority too. Again, this probably sounds like a dauntingly huge undertaking but think of it in little steps and it becomes perfectly achievable. A good way to approach it is by keeping a record of all the blogs and similar contributions you ever make, listing the topics about which you’re knowledgeable and continually writing more blog pieces to fill any gaps. After a surprisingly short while you’ll have accumulated enough material to collate and reformat related content in the shape of a book. What’s more, now you’re an author you get the added bonus of an Amazon Author Central page from which you can link and a profile in Google Scholar!

In the meantime,  while you’re building that body of work, the great thing is that you’re constantly contributing to other websites, which is the most direct way to get SEO advantage out of thought leadership – and often the quickest and easiest too. The investment of your time is roughly proportional to the benefit in terms of exposure you’ll get. For instance, writing a regular column’s a great way to keep yourself in front of a well-targeted audience, in return for perhaps half a day’s work each time. The same goes for guest posts and interviews, which are also effective ways to show off your expertise and insight while making sure your name is fully in the spotlight.

Raise your head above the parapet and take a stand

Be brave and express your opinions – and if they’re controversial, so much the better in SEO terms because the resulting conversations raise your profile considerably. If that sounds a bit scary, just toughening up your writing and making it more direct goes a long way too. A more far-reaching and therefore effective strategy is to think hard about your industry’s burning issues and to confront them; ask the penetrating questions that some may be afraid to answer and take your own stance on those issues. It’s not courting argument for its own sake; it’s stimulating debate – and that in turn drives your SEO.

Obviously in a short blog piece like this we can hardly scratch the surface of a huge topic like this, but perhaps these thoughts will help tip you into a more Thought Leader-like frame of mind – and an associated way of thinking and communicating that will reap their own rewards in SEO terms.


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