How to Be A Thought Leader and Build Your Firm with Unbiased and Interesting Insight?

One of the most established ways for an entrepreneur to stay on top is by setting themselves out as a thought leader. A thought leader is an acknowledged expert of a narrowly focussed topic in their industry niche (Weil, 2006, p.5). In this digital age, the most effective way entrepreneurs become thought leaders is by using blogs. Blogs convey the genuine ideas and opinions of individuals and exhibit sincerity, honesty and passion for the company’s vision, mission, values, and culture, they become a gateway for people to get to know the brand first, and the products and services later (Lee et al., 2006, p.14).


It is vital to know that a thought leader is someone that is recognized for having innovative ideas and new insights that solve industrial and societal challenges and demonstrates the courage to share those ideas as insights with no intention of marketing itself (Iddrisu, 2017, p. 17). The differentiation of a thought leader from other businesses with knowledge is the mind set that allows a company to predict things in the future and have their confidence to promote or share these views as actionable views for business improvement (Butler, 2011, p.18). Thought leaders might even be called futurists as they operate at the forefront of their fields, and offer breakthrough thinking that others can act on. Commonly, thought leaders require a new point of view or an issue, and to achieve that, content is required to present their opinion. The more a firm can demonstrate their knowledge through their published blog posts, the more likely they are sought out by others who want to buy their expertise. Thought leadership allows a business to grow and to build a brand reputation, establishing themselves as an authority and resource that others can trust. A business that will not only be followed by customers but also by other related organizations in their field, thus providing technology firms credibility that would not be easy to be built through normal marketing activities (Butler, 2011, p.20).

Creating content that is specific to the interest of each viewer has been the main priority for many marketers as of late. Still, it is not very easy for a business to execute this process. To implement useful customization, a company needs to have access to massive amounts of customer data, which has to be appropriately analyzed and translated into actionable plans. Although data personalization has been a jargon in marketing for several years, the latest advances in artificial intelligence are now making it possible for this concept to become a reality. The AI systems are learning to collect relevant data from customers and website visitors, with the use of this data, they are creating individual profiles that are tailored to each individual and applied for the creation of an impactful brand experience.


The practice of creating content through artificial intelligence is increasingly rising and influencing the opinions and behaviour of people in their everyday life. Therefore, it is important for technological firms that are thought leaders to pay close attention to the unconscious racial bias that can be found in artificial intelligence technology. These businesses must ensure that their content still aligns with their company values. Businesses need to create “Friendly AI’s,” this refers to the creation of human-benefitting and non-human-harming actions in the AI systems (Yudkoswky, 2001, p.2). If they are not doing so, they could cause potential damage to their reputation. One should note that it is not the fault of actual prejudice that produces skewed results in the web searches, but it is merely the cause of distorted data that firms often overlook because of their naïveté (Garcia, 2016, p.112). Artificial intelligence and algorithms rely on training data, but often these training data samples are sets that are non-representative of the general population; this indicates that the data sets either exclude certain groups or characteristics or, on the contrary, over-represent other groups or characteristics. These mistakes may appear as small mistakes and could not be seen as dangerous. However, the issues do lay in these prejudices or biases possibly being magnified and inflicting discriminatory damage to the population, and essentially continuing and reinforcing bias at an industrial scale (Lloyd, 2018, p.1). Careful attention to instilling principles of equality into data sets is needed to ensure that a fair and equitable system is created. All groups and characteristics should be considered and represented in accordance with their distinct differences to remove racial bias and ensure equality (Lloyd, 2018, p.2).


The challenge of business in this digital age is to stay true to your views and company culture by sharing exciting unbiased opinions. It is vital for a business to do so in order to continually attract customers towards their content and differentiating them from being simple translations of traditional marketing channels.

Placing Trust in Authentic Marketing

As digital audiences evolve and Generation Z takes its place as the next main body of consumers, these customers will more easily spot and ignore self-promotional or manipulative content, and value authenticity and realness (Williams and Page, 2014, p.10.) Marketing with authentic content has developed as a way to bridge the gap between the way people like to buy – researching online and via recommendations from social networks – and the way business like to sell by demonstrating empathy, purpose, and usefulness, not by shouting the loudest (Jefferson and Tanton, 2013, p.11)


Marketing techniques heavy on self-promotion are losing their impact because current buyers do not trust a seller’s message. In 2011, rapper Kanye West tweeted, “Don’t ever try and sell me on anything. Just give me all the information, and I’ll make up my own mind,” this message sums up how buyers feel today. The internet has given the new generation the tools to do their own research, and they hate being sold to, more than they ever did. In response to the dislike of sales messages, customers have learned to block them out and choose to ignore most of the promotional advertising and throwing them directly in the recycling bin (Jefferson and Tanton, 2013). Nowadays, companies need to position themselves not as “buy me!” banners, but as trusted advisors on the web. (Lieb, 2011).


In a digital world where there is little trust. Truth and authenticity are what customers seek.


So how can sellers earn trust?


Authentic content marketing is more than selling a product or brand. Content marketing creates value, provides information, and sparks customer engagement at all stages of the buying cycle, which can lead to long-term, secure, and loyal customer relationships (Lieb, 2011, p.2).


The conventional marketing tactics such as sponsored content, outdated statistics, and stock photos are not genuine and misleading, and companies need to turn their back from these common tactics, and instead focus on proving their expertise and usefulness, their authenticity and humanity.


The first rule of knowing what kind of content a company wants to create is knowing who they are creating it for. A company needs to have its own voice to stand out from the rest and connect with their audience (Lieb, 2011, p.16.) Personalized content with personal research and statics, photos, industry experience, and so forth will position an organization as authority in their niche. This way, a company highlights their expertise and knowledge. It shows that they are actively interested in giving customers what they want and need and are not the digital equivalent of a used car salesman (Lieb, 2011, p.188).


Companies need to be careful of falling into the trap that produces content solely for SEO purposes. For visitors of the website, it has become apparent when an article is written purely as a vehicle to add keywords. At the same time, while key words help boost search engine rankings, it also damages a brand’s reputation and relationship with its audience. It is therefore essential that a company researches what questions their target groups are asking. This research will help the company create content that meets their target groups’ needs by balancing keyword usage with creative writing that appeals to the reader, thus educating, influencing, and inspiring action (Odden, 2013, p.10.)


Engagement can only be achieved by engaging with the audience. Therefore, a company should find ways to encourage their audience to share their own experiences, through photos, videos, or stories. Allowing shared content is an effective way to optimize, content on different channels, and double or triple resulting traffic towards the company’s website.


If an organization tries connecting with an audience on a personal level, publishing a photo of a stock model is not the right choice because it makes the content feel impersonal. Stock photos can easily be used by other companies as well (Odden, 2013, p.142). It is not a true representation of the company or its culture. Instead, a company should take pictures themselves. These could be pictures of daily activities around the office and the team members of the company. Sharing images of their team allows for an audience to know the company better as it helps building a better connection between the company and its potential customer.


It is also important that the brand allows customers to write reviews. A review lets customers connect to make recommendations and share their stories. It is a form of starting real conversations on their website.


In the end, all content should be focused on the end-user experience. This means that companies need to do the proper keyword research beforehand to discover what sorts of words or phrases their potential customers’ types into a search engine (Jefferson and Tanton, 2013, p.106). The company needs to know what problems they are looking to solve for its target group (Jefferson and Tanton, 2013, p.259). Audacity aside, this is the core part of a content marketing strategy.

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