How to Use Thought Leadership as a Marketing Strategy with Stephen Pope

We usually think of marketing as explicitly publicizing our services, products, and programs. However, that might not be enough to grow your business. Do you share your expertise and insights on public platforms? And no, we don’t just mean your website. Spice up your marketing strategy by looking into thought leadership and content marketing. Before you know it, you’ll have a group of people who value your insights and what you have to say.

In this episode, Stephen Pope joins us to talk about how thought leadership can be a crucial part of your marketing strategy. It takes time, dedication, and consistency to build a community that can help your business. It might be tough, but the work you put into it is worth it. Remember, focus on your message and the value you want to share with the people around you.

If you want to know more about the ins-and-outs of thought leadership, then this episode is for you.

Here are three reasons why you should listen to this episode

  1. Learn how thought leadership can be the marketing strategy that will accelerate your business growth.
  2. Understand the process and ways you can become a thought leader.
  3. Know the different ways you can optimize your processes so you can focus on more important things.


Episode Highlights

Why Stephen Focuses on Thought Leadership

  • Even at the start of his software company, Stephen was already innovating. 
  • For him, thought leadership is a way of merging ideas and identifying risks and opportunities. 
  • By the time he sold his software company, Stephen had entered internet marketing and social media content marketing. 
  • A business can grow and scale up quickly based on its online reach. 

Results Take Time and Effort

Stephen: “You can't shortcut in professional services. People still need to know you. They need to like you; they need to trust you.”

  • Don’t expect overnight success. Results take time. 
  • People often expect immediate returns on investments. Marketing strategies are built over time.

Moshe: “With thought leadership, specifically, where you're putting yourself out there, you're creating content, you're showing up, and you are turning into this authority that people look up to. That is something that is going to build over time.”

  • You’re learning the systems and processes that create awareness and build trust at scale.

Create Value and Engagement

  • Focus on what you’re doing. People often jump to the next thing too quickly and abandon projects.
  • Often, when people start making content, they’re not necessarily making what people want. Learn to listen to your audience.

Stephen: “We all think we know what our customers want. But it's often not. And so you need to put something out there, and you need to listen. You have to have your ear to the ground.”

  • When you’re not trying to force sales, you get better results. Focus on providing value to the community you’re serving.

Stephen: “When people have a longer-term view, they do get better short-term results. Because they’re trying to do the right things. When you're looking for a short-term result, especially with thought leadership and content, people can sense your intent.”

The Strength of Thought Leadership

  • Thought leadership is about helping other people with your expertise and insights.

Stephen: “I just defined thought leadership [as] you're an expert in your field, you are able to kind of look ahead, you're able to identify certain things that people can take advantage of or avoid risks, and you bring those back to people and you share those ideas in such a way that they can take what you're saying and follow something on their own.”

  • They don’t have to be groundbreaking thoughts. Often, thought leadership is about merging and combining different ideas.
  • It’s not about how many followers and subscribers you have. 

Everyone Starts Somewhere

  • You can share insights about anything, not just your profession.
  • Your potential clients may not want to hear you talk about law or finance all day. You can create a platform that brings awareness to your profession instead.
  • Don’t be limited by your abilities. Be free and come up with a broader strategy.
  • You can also dive deep into your niche.
  • Tune in to the full episode to hear Stephen’s discussion on what you can share.

Stephen: “The way I look at content is it's three major pieces, which is grabbing someone's attention—so someone stops and actually pays attention. And then providing that value, and then creating some sort of community that people can get around.”

Consistency Is Key

  • Stephen shares that he doesn’t look at his downloads and followers. Instead, he focuses on his content.
  • He routinely puts up daily video content on LinkedIn to make himself recognizable and create awareness.
  • Many successful people started with humble beginnings, but they work consistently.
  • People in professional services sharing their work and expertise are few and far in between. Doing this will make you stand out automatically.
  • It will be uncomfortable at first because you’ve never done it before. Ultimately, it will be rewarding.

Just Start Creating

  • The work you consistently do will eventually pay off.
  • It's hard at first, but you'll gain momentum as you keep at it.

Stephen: “That's what content marking lets you do, it lets you scale word of mouth, essentially. And just like anything that has compounding results, it's those early deposits that you're making that are consistent that end up paying the result.”

  • Thought leadership and content marketing will help you grow your business without hiring salespeople and increased networking.
  • There are many ways to simplify the process of content marketing. It takes some planning and optimization of your resources. 
  • This type of marketing is not just cost-effective, scalable, and useful. Learn the details in the full episode!

Optimization and Efficiency

  • There is a lot of new technology in the market. Content is not about automation, rather the value of your ideas. 
  • With an optimized process, you can create more and better content than full companies! 
  • There are a lot of content production components. You don’t have to figure it all out; go hire people to do this work for you. 
  • Your time is valuable. You‘re the thought leader, not the editor, photographer, or copywriter.

What’s Next?

  • People will get stuck before starting, clueless about what to do next. Stephen advises creating a strategic action plan.
  • This plan should let you see where you can get the best result with the least resources.

Stephen: "Where can we leverage your time, money, and effort in such a way that gets you the maximum result? And that's what strategy is. How do we leverage what we have to get the best result when we start to execute it?"

  • Focus on the minimum because this will help you get started. 
  • Once you get used to it, that’s when you start making more things. 
  • Listen to the full episode to learn the intricacies of the strategic action plan. 

Stephen’s Parting Advice for Listeners

  • The pandemic has accelerated the trend of going digital. 
  • Companies and firms need to adapt. The trend of digitization will grow more intense. 
  • Invest and learn. Outsource the work.
  • Learn how to get out there so that people can find you.

About Stephen

Stephen Pope is the founder and CEO of SGP Labs, a marketing and advertising firm that accelerates business and revenue growth through creative marketing strategies, video production, scalability and content repurposing, media production and distribution, and tools optimization.

After building a $7-million software company for 12 years, Stephen knew he could accelerate growth faster. He sold the company and ventured into marketing. He now helps entrepreneurs scale their business without more networking, salespeople, or waiting for referrals. His Content Distribution Framework allows clients to take active control of customer acquisition by expanding their online presence, creating awareness, and building trust at scale.

Stephen is also passionate about helping business owners. Through his podcast Digital Masters, he shares insights on thought leadership along with amazing guests.

Interested in Stephen’s work? Visit SGP Labs for their programs and resources! You can also reach out to Stephen through the website and on LinkedIn.

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