Welcome to another edition of MSP minute, a blog post series where we share tips, trends, interviews, and more, to help managed service providers build more successful businesses. 

In this blog, we’re going to look at how you as an MSP can take advantage of the opportunity of becoming a thought leader within your space. Despite what many believe, becoming a thought leader doesn't require any amount of expertise. In fact, it's all about perspective, a plan, and sharing valuable information with your target market.

Why you should become a thought leader

Becoming a thought leader is one of the simplest ways for you to acquire the right kind of attention to help you position and grow your brand. Smart marketers know that positioning is all about appealing to an audience and addressing their challenges with well-thought-out views. 

The outcome? More prospects begin to trust you and your views, finding them valuable, and your brand’s position is thereby elevated in the minds of many – something that you cannot buy.

For example, CRM titan Salesforce has published countless articles and blog post on sales, marketing, customer service, IT, and small business. All of these are topics their audience is interested in.

Publishing content sounds a little daunting, and you may be wondering whether you need to have an army of marketers at your disposal to become a thought leader? No, you don’t. You just need a plan, and a little bit of time to execute it regularly.

Salesforce blog

How to get started

Like any other endeavour, becoming a thought leader begins with a plan. You need to know exactly what problems your audience has and how you can help solve them. This is where basic research into your audience and what challenges they experience matters most, because thought leadership can only be valuable with the right context. 

Here are three tips on how to ensure that you are able to remain focused on what matters to your audience:

Broaden your ideas

Typically, the idea of ‘going broad’ seems counterintuitive to everything we know about marketing. When it comes to establishing thought leadership however, it’s important to look at all ideas which intersect with moments that your audience experiences daily.

For example, SaaS entrepreneur and internet marketing guru Neil Patel has become a thought leader through the use of his blog where he talks about everything related to internet marketing, including personal challenges, and even takes to social media to speak about the pitfalls and successes of being an entrepreneur. 

Why does he do this? Neil knows that his audience is interested in watching his journey and becoming better entrepreneurs. Because of this, Neil gets over a hundred thousand monthly blog subscribers who have become customers of his analytics SaaS solutions from CrazyEgg and Kiss Metrics.

Get specific

Get specific with your new list of broad ideas about the challenges that your audience experiences daily.

Remember, thought leadership is actually about imparting value, and in many cases value is in the detail.

How do you get specific? Become good at defining problems and explaining solutions.

Brian Dean is an SEO expert who’s dedicated his time to figuring out how Google ranks websites and how businesses can rank higher in search, without using black hat SEO tactics. Brian’s blog posts and videos always get to the heart of the issue he’s trying to help you solve, and he does this by framing the problem.

Start producing content

Not every piece of content or blog post you create needs include thousands of words. In fact, some of the most impactful are usually short, concise, and very valuable.

What kinds of content can you create? Start with short articles (400-500 words long) which you can post on LinkedIn to start activating interest from other professionals who form part of your audience.

Your goal is to publish valuable content regularly. If your goal is to publish one short article on LinkedIn every Wednesday, ensure that you create it a week in advance, as this will ease the stress of having to produce quality material the night before.

Build momentum

As you begin to see that your articles on LinkedIn are gaining more likes and comments, this is where you need to take the opportunity to ramp up your effort. One of the easiest ways to build momentum is by creating a blog on your website. This will then become the new home for the majority of content you produce, a place where the traffic generated via links (from LinkedIn articles) you post arrives for a more brand-specific experience.

If you find that your traction is growing faster, and you’d like to step things up as you become a thought leader, creating short YouTube videos or a podcast with interviews of industry experts can help you generate even more traction in your market.

Summary

There's never been a better time to become a thought leader in your space, as it only takes a bit of planning and execution to produce valuable content which helps people solve problems. As an MSP, the value of sharing unique insights about the challenges your audience experiences positions your brand as head and shoulders above the competition, which is something that is hard to replicate in competitive markets.