Over 5.6 million blog posts go live every day. That’s more than 233,000 per hour.
And, despite only about 20% of the world’s population speaking English, 66% of that content is in English.
That’s a lot of competition for users’ attention.
One way that you and your content can stand out in such a crowded space is by earning your place as a thought leader.
A thought leader is one of a few go-to people in their field of expertise. They are the type of person who is frequently quoted in the media and who many look to as a trusted source of information.
Not only does a thought leader inspire with their innovative ideas, they can show people – step-by-step – how they turned those ideas into reality.
But you can’t merely brand yourself a thought leader and have it be so – it’s an honor you need to earn.
When you do, your content will rise to the top of people’s considerations, where it can be consumed, rather than lost, among the 4.4 million other blog posts pushed out on any given day.
On your path toward becoming a thought leader, it’s important to remember that it’s about what you think and believe, not about what your company does. Thought leaders are innovators in ideas, as well as in application.
If you want to establish yourself as a thought leader to sell more, stop.
People who earn the title do so by educating and empowering others in their field. It’s more about building your reputation and trust with your audience, clients, and colleagues, than anything else.
There are various strategies you can use to establish yourself as a thought leader within your industry.
If you want to know how to get quality links with thought leadership, consider:
- Conducting original research and drawing useful conclusions from the data.
- Starting a podcast.
- Conducting webinars.
- Public speaking.
Doing the Research
The vast majority of commercial blog posts are churned out by people who aren’t experts in the field they’re writing about but rather experts in creating SEO-rich content. They are gleaning what they can from other blogs and bolting it all together in a package that sells.
What they are not doing is diving into any raw data to derive truly unique conclusions.
If your goal is thought leadership, you don’t want to be like these people.
Instead of re-working material that is already out there, you need to bring something new to the table – often with the quantitative data to back it up.
One way of doing this is by teaming up with research firms to design studies. BuzzSumo and SparkToro are two companies that do this well.
Another is to dive into datasets that are already out there, developing your own conclusions from what you see.
No matter how you do it, bringing innovative ideas and new insights to those working in your field will help you become a thought leader much faster than regurgitating status quo content.
Pushing a Podcast
Starting a podcast is a great way to attract links while developing your reputation as a thought leader.
Podcasts that follow an interview format are perhaps best for this purpose, as they are the easiest to produce, and every time you interview a guest, there’s a good chance that they’ll link back to their podcast feature on your website.
Another positive aspect of starting a podcast is that it gives you space to challenge ideas with other experts and develop theories that can be built on in the future.
Building Links with Speaking
When you’re invited to speak at an event, you’re well on your way to being considered a thought leader.
However, you’ll still want to build links to cement your place in the industry – not everyone is going to be there to watch your presentation.
One of the best methods for building links via speaking events is creating landing pages for every event at which you speak. The landing page should include details about the event itself, as well as slides, opt-ins, downloads, and other resources.
When you’re creating resources for the event, focus on developing them so that they work as valuable, standalone content as well – you want them to be link-worthy.
From there, make a push for a link from the organizer’s website.
A direct link is often included with your bio on the website. However, you can push for a more profound impact by writing relevant blog content specifically for the organizer and the event.
While planning what to say at your speaking event, you will want to use your position to act as a company spokesperson – like when John Mueller answers SEO questions.
Additionally, be quotable. By repeating fundamental takeaways as quotes on your slides, you’ll be able to get your point across and make it easier for people to link back to your work.
To help facilitate backlink building, consider hosting your slide visuals directly on your website.
If you want to get in on the event scene but public speaking isn’t your forte, you can also look at building links by opting to sponsor an event.
The easiest way to do this is to create an event listing on your company website and submit it to directories, local news, and all relevant PR people.
When reaching out to those at news outlets, it’s worth testing the waters to see if they would like to do an interview about what to expect at the event – another great backlink building opportunity where you can add value for your target audience.
Getting Woke with Webinars
Webinars are a fantastic mix of a podcast and public speaking events.
To get the most traction with your webinars, you’ll want to keep them between 30 and 40 minutes long.
This time includes the recommended amount allotted for a live question and answer session at the end. You absolutely want to have that, because that’s what most webinar attendees want.
As part of your webinar, you’ll want to include engaging slides, as well as opt-ins, downloads, and other resources. It’s almost exactly the same idea you’d use for creating content based on a speaking event.
Of course, even if you don’t create any additional material besides the slides for your webinars, people can link directly to a replay on your website.
Final Thoughts: How to Get Quality Backlinks with Thought Leadership and Speaking
Building links by becoming a thought leader requires you to actually become a thought leader, which is a title you have to earn – not one you can award yourself for marketing purposes.
If your thoughts and beliefs are strong and clear, you can get there. It isn’t about what you or your company does, but about why you do it.
Also, don’t forget: you don’t have to be the CEO or founder of a company to be a thought leader. Anyone within a business can offer insights worth sharing.
As a simple example, you don’t just hear from Google’s CEO; you also hear from representatives like Danny Sullivan and John Mueller. Each person is a thought leader who has influence.
You will want to approach becoming a thought leader by genuinely wanting to educate and help others in your field.
By taking this approach, all the effort and work that goes into launching podcasts, webinars, and public speaking events will make sense.
On top of the direct impact all of these methods will have, they will all also help you develop terrific content that people will want to link to as a trustworthy source.
Timeframe: For this tactic to really work, you’ll need to be consistently creating new content and getting it in front of relevant audiences on a weekly basis.
Results detected: As early as one month after implementation.
Average links sent per month: There’s a direct positive relationship relevant to the amount of work you put into original research or the uniqueness of your content.
Tools needed: You won’t need any fancy tools to make this tactic work – it’s all about the content.
That said, depending on the tactics you use, you’ll probably want to invest in podcasting and webinar tools. Screen recording and video hosting tools may also be useful.
- Link building via thought leadership and speaking happens when you create genuinely great content that’s unlike what’s already out there. In tandem with producing great content, you’ll need to plan a complementary content distribution strategy to reach the widest relevant audience.
- Link building via thought leadership and speaking is valuable because backlinks earned are more than arbitrary – they’re proof that your content is worth reading. Regardless of how Google updates its algorithm, one thing always remains the same: we must focus on creating quality content if we want to rank in relevant search.
Featured Image: Paulo Bobita