Thought Leadership: Be a Channel Partner With a Voice
On Tuesday, I discussed ways businesses can take advantage of their channel partner relationship on social media. While that post was centered on brand marketing and awareness, today, I’d like to explore developing a reputation as a channel thought leader. A more individual-level effort, with the potential to be just as impactful on your business’ overall reputation and success.
Before attempting to venture into the world of thought leadership, you need to ask yourself, “What ideas can I offer that will make my company stand out? When they think ‘Microsoft technologies’ how and why will my company be the next company that comes to mind?” While this may seem like an obvious question, it is one that far too many individuals fail to sufficiently answer. They end up writing a couple blog posts, but quickly lose steam and their message turns into mere white noise.
Once you fully define what your distinguishing ideas are, it is important to develop a strategy for how you will transform those thoughts into content that the companies and/or end-users you sell to will appreciate and share. Maintaining a blog should absolutely be a key facet of any thought leadership strategy, but if you are simply writing a couple hundred words and clicking “publish,” it is unlikely your message will gain much traction.
Take advantage of the resources offered by your partnership. For instance, if your company is HP affiliated, there is an entire online community at your fingertips. It includes HP partner blogs, forums, and targeted learning portals. Definitely a good place to have an established, easily noticed, presence.
In addition, to echo my sentiment from the last blog, if you want to get your ideas out on social media platforms, you must remember to be social! Replying to comments and thanking individuals for checking out your content will go a long way in fostering audience loyalty. Reach out to other thought leaders and offer to write a guest blog, odds are they will not only appreciate the gesture, but will be willing to return the favor. With just a few hours time commitment, you can both gain an influential endorsement and the attention of a wider audience.
Developing a reputation as a channel thought leader will also help to give your company a “face,” and further personalize your brand. This will help your business stand out when a potential client is looking for information. If your strategy is successful, you will become the “go-to” company, at the forefront of customer’s minds when looking for products or services related to your vendor.
If you do have a unique, influential voice amongst your channel partner network, why would you not put time into further establishing yourself as a thought leader? Say you promote your ideas by speaking at industry conferences a few times a year, why not take a little of the time allotted for such engagements and get your message in front of thousands (if not millions) instead of hundreds? You have little to lose, and a whole lot to gain, for both yourself and your company.