3 Ways to Become the Thought Leader in Your Market
One of the biggest challenges of building a following and an exceptional online reputation is attracting an audience: first, how to develop content that people want to read, and second, how to automate this material’s distribution to influencers in your network.
- You are in the information and expertise business, not in the selling business.
- Develop content that is valuable to your audience.
- Use papercheck.com to proof your content.
- Push marketing by email and social media really works.
- Don't write about you: write about what your audience wants.
1. Content is king!
The web has fundamentally changed the way businesses grow and interact with their clients and prospects. Search engines crawl your website and other websites looking for content that they can use when their users search for specific key words. If you are creating content that they think is valuable, you will rank higher in their results. The more satisfied Google's searchers are with a certain search result, the more likely Google is to drive ad revenue to that user. Google, Yahoo, and Bing also watch what content is being read and shared on social media sites. The more popular your content, the higher your “social relevance” ranking.
Okay, so what does that mean to tax and accounting professionals?
Develop content that is valuable to your audience. You are in the information and expertise business, not in the selling business. So don't try to game the system by sharing articles that are promotional rather than educational. Content that builds your online authority will build your brand as well. Cover issues people have questions about: healthcare changes, DOMA, and strategies for minimizing tax liability. These will get read and shared the most on social media. If you find articles on the web that you can add your expertise to, comment on them. Sometimes you can even add a link back to a blog article you have written, which can drive traffic. Bottom line: get out there to get noticed.
And please get your articles proofed. I use papercheck.com. You would be shocked how many professionals add articles with obvious typos.
2. How will they know if you don’t tell them?
One of the biggest issues I find when consulting with clients is their use of email and social media to engage with their audience. These are both forms of push marketing, as opposed to pull marketing. If you are not engaging your clients directly, they will be missing out on tips that could save them tens of thousands of dollars. This means lower satisfaction and missed referral opportunities. The stronger your relationship with clients, the higher your fees, and the better your chances of increasing your army of influencers.
One of the biggest misconceptions about the web is that, once you've published new content, Google automatically picks it up and indexes it. This is true if you are a highly ranked and trafficked site, like cnn.com. But your site most likely does not fit that category. This is why it helps to share your content on other sites, so Google can follow the links back to you.
3. Know your audience!
One of my favorite websites is copyhackers.com. Joanna and her team are very good about describing what works in writing copy. One of her first tips is to write to your audience, not to write about you. This seems obvious, but I still need to remind myself that readers are reading my content only because they want to improve something or solve a problem. This applies when you are writing to become the thought leader on a subject. Think the way your client does. What problems do they need to be solved? They may react to a number of approaches: fear, reward, or the word free. Whatever the approach, though, make sure you stop writing about yourself and more about them.
If you develop great content that people want to read, write it in a voice that talks to your reader rather than talking about you, and you push that content out to your audience via email, social media, and blogs, then you are well on your way to becoming the thought leader in your field.
Lee Reams II
I am a marketing junkie who has spent the last 20 years developing and executing "best in class" word-of-mouth marketing campaigns. With over 10,000 happy clients I think we are on to something. The explosion in web marketing and social media have redefined the way independent professionals market their practices. Follow my blog to see if you can take some of our actionable ideas to market your own practice.