Forbes Magazine describes it quite nicely in their article What Is A Thought Leader?:
It’s a truism that thought leaders tend to be the most successful individuals or firms in their respective fields. Furthermore, in the research literature, there’s a general consensus that being a thought leader whether you’re an individual or employed at an organization and you want to grow the business, or even an association seeking new members as well as more generous sponsors, being a thought leader can make a very significant and positive difference.
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As social media continues to evolve and newsrooms around the country change with it, those who are most successful at marketing themselves are those who embrace thought leadership as a necessary tactic. You don’t become a thought leader overnight, but once you have developed yourself, or your company, as a thought leader, it is a powerful and lasting tool that can be utilized to drive results with your target audiences.
A June 27, 2013 Huffington Post article notes,
In this new era of marketing, the technology infrastructure of social media and the ability it gives us to search anything--instantly--online, has made it easier for thought-followers to find what they need when they need it. And it has also given new meaning and significance to the need for thought leaders and the development of thought leadership marketing…
What this Huffington Post quote highlights is the need to engage in thought leadership, utilizing social media engagement now. If you haven’t already started to move your public relations and marketing efforts in this direction, you risk falling behind your competition.
Thought leadership also matters when it comes to working with the media. When you are seen as an expert in your field, you are able to insert your brand into new stories that you otherwise would not have been a part of. You have a limited number of opportunities to speak about yourself and your company. Give yourself more opportunities to be in the media by talking about issues facing your field, giving tips or advice about industry trends or providing analysis to news of the day stories. This sends a powerful message about you and your company – it lets influencers know you are an expert, and people should find out more about what you are doing. All of this drives results and can bring you new sales, new clients and an increased awareness of all you do.