Building Authority or Becoming a Thought Leader: Which is the right choice for you as a staffing professional?

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Want to join the ranks of people like Seth Godin, Gary Vaynerchuk and Simon Sinek?

Be careful what you wish for.

Becoming a true thought leader (what Oxford’s online dictionary defines as “one whose views on a subject are taken to be authoritative and influential”) is a lot tougher to do than many imagine.

It’s about more than just blogging, speaking at conferences, or publishing educational videos on social media. It’s not (just) about having strong opinions. And it takes much more than acquiring experience in staffing or recruiting.

Thought leadership requires:

  • Passion for your area of expertise
  • Dedication to continually learning and staying at the leading edge of your field
  • Commitment to deep research and advancing your area of specialization
  • The ability to act as a true visionary – identifying new ideas, trends, challenges and opportunities before others
  • Creating forward-thinking content based on those visionary ideas
  • Building a massive social following to share your insights

Yes, it takes tenacity, hard work and the right strategy to become a thought leader. And it’s definitely not for everyone. But the payoff is huge. Building deep knowledge in your area of expertise, developing valuable insights, and then sharing those ideas with the right audience:

  • Builds trust with that audience – by continually demonstrating your competence
  • Increases your influence, by qualifying you as a reliable source of insight and information
  • Boosts your industry presence and builds your brand
  • Strengthens business relationships – offering unique guidance and inspiring innovation, without asking for anything in return

The benefits of becoming a thought leader are clear. But if you don’t have the time and energy to dedicate to the effort, what are the best ways to reap the benefits listed above – and ultimately make more placements?

Focus on building authority.

Becoming an authority means being seen as an expert on subjects that matter to your audience. Unlike becoming a true thought leader, you can become an authority by creating original content or simply sharing curated content that shows that you pay close attention to a particular topic.

What sorts of things can/should you build your authority on?

Think like your clients and candidates: What problems do they have? What information do they need? What answers are they seeking? Use these as a guide to determine areas in which you should build authority. Here are a few idea-starters:

  • Recruiting for specific skill disciplines
  • Hiring and workforce management within your clients’ industry
  • Knowledge of local talent markets
  • How to become a best place to work
  • How to solve specific kinds of business problems your clients have (think beyond staffing and recruiting problems)
  • Improving productivity, company culture or employee engagement
  • Career growth and management advice for the types of talent you place
  • Interviewing (on both the employer and job seeker sides)

By becoming an authority, and developing your specific expertise in areas like these, you carve out a position in the market where you will have few (if any) direct competitors who can match your knowledge.

So, do you need to become a thought leader or merely build your authority?

Only you can decide the right path for your brand, career and organization. But regardless of which avenue you pursue, we can help! Whether you’re trying to capture attention, open doors, nurture relationships, or simply increase your influence, our branded content solutions will help you close more deals and make more placements.

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