Feed Your Personality by Learning and Doing New Things
Blogging is a ready-made avenue for thought leadership, as long as you have something to say and saying it with personality.
“I thought a lot about what makes a blog successful. Or what makes some bloggers successful and others not,” says communication coach Susanna Gebauer. “And there is one factor for success that is often neglected: your blogging personality.”
Blogging personalities should reflect your actual personality, Gebauer explains. “It doesn’t mean you have to share your private life or your personal feelings. Offering glimpses of your personality and your personal experience in your blogs will inspire your audience and build a more personal connection.”
Of course, blogging success requires other features, like good writing. According to Gebauer, would-be bloggers can learn to write. The secret is writing a lot. “Don’t shy away from blogging just because you feel your writing needs improvement. You need to write social media posts, email newsletters, sales, website and landing page copy.” Letters to your mother wouldn’t hurt.
Instead of focusing on being perfect – be human. Be you.
Success in blogging has other requirements, Gebauer says, including work ethic, self-organization, ability to learn, patience and knowing when to close your laptop. She adds, “Don’t try to be perfect. Instead of focusing on being perfect – be human:
- Don’t be a know-it-all. Yes, you want to show expertise and have authority. But you still don’t have to know it all
- Don’t be consistent at all costs. You are allowed to evolve and learn. Even if it means changing your mind once in a while.
- Break rules. Just because someone said it is a rule does not mean it has to apply to you. Be willing to take a risk and try things that may work even if someone tells you differently.”
Unique Thought Leadership Blog Qualities
Thought leadership blogging differs has some unique qualities that separate it from influencer blogging or just blogging for fun. The main difference is writing for a target audience as opposed to engaging and attracting followers. Thought leadership blogging shares valuable knowledge aimed specifically for customers/clients, community leaders or other thought leaders. You can think of thought leadership blogging as a means to establish brand credibility.
Like all bloggers, thought leader bloggers can and do reflect a wide range of personalities. Blogs can break down complex issues, offer commentary or suggest new directions. They can be written in the first-person, as stories or with a lighter humorous touch.
For some, thought leadership is limited to issue experts. For others, thought leadership should take the form of an outspoken position on a controversial position. For me, those notions are too restrictive. A fresh point of view, a clear explanation or a light-hearted take on an issue are just as valid thought leadership.
Here’s where Gebauer’s practical advice about work ethic, self-organization and ability to learn is useful. To find your lane of thought leadership, you should explore existing related traffic on social media, news platforms and online forums to see what’s trending, what competitors are saying and what gaps exist. Then focus on how you can join the conversation, fill a niche and make a difference while reflecting your own voice and personality.
Look for openings to engage and add value, so your thought leadership blog is viewed as a welcome source of information and entertainment. Employ different writing styles and visual assets that make your blog a compelling must-read and must-see part of your audience’s day.
Where Thought Leadership Starts
Successful thought leadership bloggers start with a clear purpose, an alignment with brand values and a commitment to keep at it. It’s hard to build a following, let alone a loyal following, if a blog is published on a random, infrequent schedule. Blogging must be a priority.
Depending on subject matter, thought leadership blogging can work in video, webinars, podcasts and Ebooks. Thought leadership posts that span communication channels can expand outreach and, by itself, reflect thought leadership. Cross-promotion of blogs on multiple platforms is essential to gain attention and buzz.
Keep in mind Gebauer’s advice of offering personality-forward blogs. That is the truest way to establish authenticity and a more intimate connection with a target audience. Make the format reflect you and your point of view. Reading what you write should come close to listening to you speak over a cup of coffee.
Don’t expect instant success. You increase your odds of being noticed by choosing top-of-mind topics or offering an unexpected or unexplored point of view. Your choice of images to accompany your leadership blog also can assist in attracting eyeballs. (Hint, dogs are eye magnets).
Following another piece of Gebauer’s advice also will increase your odds of finding and feeding an audience for thought leadership. “Blogging is about learning new things all the time,” she says. “As a blogger, you need the willingness to do new things that you have never done before. Because that is part of the job.”