In order to establish yourself as a thought leader in any industry, you can follow a variety of paths. As the internet provides an ever increasing pool of accessible knowledge, it’s important to distinguish the authentic from the fake. For this reason, notable individuals and organizations are working hard to earn recognition as a reliable source of information. By using a plethora of tools and strategies thought leadership can be achieved. Here we’re sharing some tips to help you establish thought leadership through YouTube marketing.

Thought leadership lowdown

At a high level, a thought leader is a person or firm recognized by their audience as an authority within their respective field or industry. Through the continuous demonstration of expertise and value, one can prove themselves as a reliable knowledge source. In other words, think about those individuals you seek out for advice, points of view and ideas. These people are likely your go-to source for their unique perspective and respective knowledge base. Whoever comes to mind that first this description, is a thought leader.

What qualities make you a thought leader?

Regardless of the area of expertise, there are a handful of expected qualities a thought leader should possess. When initially building up your platform these particular qualities are important to recognize and replicate.

Unique angle

The overabundance of accessible information on the internet makes it far too easy to blend into the crowd. To effectively establish yourself, you must determine what it is that sets you apart from your competitors, and build upon that.

A recommended best practice for maintaining your unique angle is to assume that everyone who views your content is doing so for the first time. Although those familiar with your content may already be aware of what makes you special, newcomers aren’t. Therefore, assuming everyone is new will keep you motivated to continue to strive for your best work.

Authenticity

As a thought leader, it’s important to share with your audience your thoughts on other established minds you admire. However, it’s equally, if not more important to also share your original thoughts and ideas. Audiences are looking to you for new viewpoints, opinions, and fresh ideas for them to share and apply in their own lives. The less authentic and vocal you are towards your own beliefs and expertise, the less likely you are to sustain a following.

Quality content

The quality of your content is all that sets you apart from others in your field creating YouTube videos. Ensure the content you’re producing is of the highest standard and fills the demand for insights, ideas, and advice. Fortunately, creating high-quality videos no longer requires fancy equipment or giant budgets.

Another signifier of quality thought leadership content is shareability. As Denise Brosseau of the Thought Leadership Lab explains, to increase your audience, your number of followers and the likelihood of your content being sustainable, your ideas must be shareable. Denise suggests avoiding jargon, simplifying sentences, and putting in the extra effort to simplify complex concepts into snackable content.

YouTube for thought leadership

Video content is most effective when it’s educational rather than promotional. This is important to keep in mind when creating your videos in order to keep a neutral tone and avoid making your viewers feel like you’re trying to sell them something.

As a rule of thumb, there are three key questions you should be able to answer before making a new video:

Who is your target audience?

What problem is your audience facing or what unmet desire do they have?

What style of content does your audience prefer?

Answering these questions before distributing new videos can help keep you on track for producing quality content that stays consistent with your followers’ preferences.

To put this idea into context, take a look at some of your favorite thought leaders and the content they’ve built their brand upon. Tech industry thought leader and Oracle CEO, Mark Hurd’s channel, for instance, demonstrates a replicable example of what makes up a model YouTube presence. Through his profile you can see he follows this rule of three in the consistency of his videos.

Target audience: Tech industry individuals and Oracle customers.

Problem and/or opportunity: Mark fills a knowledge gap for his audience by sharing his expert perspective on emerging technologies, state of business, and technology trends and transparency into industry events.

Content style: Keeping on track with what his audience expects and enjoys, Mark continuously distributes videos of keynote speeches, interviews, industry predictions, and product explanations.
Building a thought leadership platform on YouTube ultimately comes down to one critical factor—being you. Trust your instinct in what it is that makes you unique and what you’re knowledgeable in, and share that information with the world! It will take time but with the right amount of effort, you too can establish yourself as a recognized thought leader on YouTube.

Maddie Davis is co-founder and editor of Enlightened Digital.

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