Establishing Thought Leadership and Authority
Agencies & Brands,  Leadership

Establishing Agency Thought Leadership and Authority

Would you like your agency to be seen as the ultimate expert in your space? Do you want to improve brand awareness and visibility to new audiences? Do you want to uncover exciting data and trends?

All of that can start with a blog post.

Well, it’s not as simple as that, but it’s a great starting point. Establishing agency thought leadership requires a well thought-out strategy to write helpful content, establish your voice on social media, and build up your brand through guest posting and original research.

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The key to branding yourself as an authentic thought leader is to forget about pitching or selling your agency. This is about educating and informing people in your space. Even the tiniest inkling of selling yourself or being overly promotional will undermine your credibility.

It can feel a little strange to put all this effort into writing great content, and not mention your agency or brand at all. But, think about it this way: a potential client needs marketing help, so he Googles “How to start a company blog.” He finds your killer how-to blog post on the same subject and loves your actionable advice.

Well, three months later, when he realizes he really needs to hire an agency to help with his blog, he’s going to remember your super insightful post. And, he’s going to realize that you just so happen to own a marketing agency…see where we’re going with this? It’s about planting the seed so people remember you and come back.

Here are five ways to plant the seed and establish agency authority:

  • Start an agency blog: Launch a blog that talks about important topics in your industry and offer your expert advice. For example, if you are an SEO agency, write about Google’s changing search algorithms, your take on the changes, and tips for people to handle these changes. Always think about how your content will help your readers — they want actionable advice and tips they can use right away.
  • Contribute guest blog posts: Take the same approach as your personal blog writing but this time, pitch your ideas to other blogs. Do your research and identify a couple popular blogs in your space with a good reader base. Then, pitch your ideas to the editor, identifying a persona for your agency (it’s typically the principal or founder). Writing for a well-established blog will boost your credibility, help with SEO, and expand your reach to new audiences.
  • Uncover original data: Let’s say you want to be the go-to person about SEO. What better way to cement your expertise than to uncover original, never-before-seen research? This can be as simple as conducting a survey with your clients (you’ll need an adequate sample size). Ask them 5-10 questions about SEO trends, challenges, or usage, and you’ll end up with attention-grabbing headlines, like “60% of companies aren’t familiar with SEO best practices.” You can then use all this great data in blog posts, guest blog posts, conferences, infographics, webinars, and more.
  • Use social media to your advantage: This is one of the easiest thought leadership tactics to maintain over time. People flock to social media platforms like Twitter, LinkedIn, and Quora with questions and problems. This is where you can jump in and answer those questions. Find relevant LinkedIn groups, search topics and industries on Quora, and have a keyword search going in Twitter to monitor questions and provide thoughtful, helpful answers.
  • Speak at conferences: Your brand as a thought leader doesn’t have to be limited to the digital sphere. You can apply to speak at industry events, live conferences, or Meetups in your area. Start with the smaller, more local events to introduce yourself and get a feel for public speaking (Meetups are great for this), and work your way up to prestigious conferences.

The goal for a thought leadership strategy is to create a nice flywheel effect. The more content you produce, the more readers you will attract. The more readers you attract, the more brand awareness and word of mouth you will achieve. And, the more word of mouth around you and your agency, the more clients who will come knocking at your door.

So, what are you waiting for? Get started on that blog post!

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