Whether you are an independent freelancer or umbrella contractor worker you should consider writing at least one thought leadership piece. Doing so could promote your knowledge and experience to advance your career. It could also help you land higher-paying clients. Here we outline a step-by-step approach to get you started.
One of the quickest ways to attract the attention of high-paying clients is to demonstrate your expertise and authority in your field by providing useful information that they can act upon. One of the most effective ways to do that is by writing a thought leadership piece. If you helped them once, you could easily help them again. That’s the mindset you want to instil in your readers, social media followers and potential high-paying clients.
But you may be thinking, where would I even start? What would I write? What if I don’t have time to write? What if writing is not my forte? And where would the article be published?
We address some of these questions in this guide.
- Choose a topic that is relevant to your target audience. What are your clients interested in? What are they posting on social media? What are their pain points? What are their challenges? Choose a topic that you are passionate about and that you know your target audience will find valuable. Put yourself in their shoes.
- Do your research. Once you have chosen a topic, take some time to do your research. This will help you to write an article that is informative and authoritative. And make it as current as possible. Give it a news hook.
- Write a strong introduction. Your introduction should grab the reader’s attention and make them want to read more. State the problem that you are addressing. Think about why it will be important and how you are going to help readers by just reading your article.
- Provide valuable insights. The body of your article should provide valuable insights into the topic you are writing about. Share your expertise and experience, and offer solutions to the problems you are addressing.
- Write a strong conclusion. Your conclusion should summarise the main points of your article and inspire the reader to action. This could be to visit your website, subscribe to your newsletter, or contact you for more information.
- Promote your article. Once you have written your article, promote it to your target audience. Share it on social media, submit it to relevant publications, and email it to your contacts.
Here are some tips for writing a thought leadership article:
- Keep it to one page. A 500-word article is the right length.
- Be clear and concise. Your article should be easy to read and understand. Make every sentence count.
- Use strong evidence to support your claims. This could include quotes from experts, statistics, or case studies.
- Be objective and unbiased. Avoid stating your opinions as facts. And if you are giving your opinion clearly state that.
- Proofread your article carefully before submitting it. Have another person read it to ensure you are not missing anything or if you have assumed too much on the reader’s knowledge.
If you are looking for a writing style, The Economist is a good source to consider. There are even old copies of their writing style guide floating around the internet.
Here are some examples of thought leadership articles that could inspire you based on their format, tone of voice, and how they backed up their statements and article promises. Your goal is to write a thought leadership article that could help you gain followers and attract high-paying clients.
- “How to Build a High-Converting Landing Page” by ConversionXL
- “The Ultimate Guide to Email Marketing” by LinkedIn (other sources cited)
- “The 10 Best Ways to Promote Your Blog” by Buffer
- “How to Write a Killer Headline” by Copyblogger
- “The Future of Content Marketing” by HubSpot
If you were able to build on the thought leadership article concept and create consistent content, you could create courses to make passive income.
Hire or collaborate with freelance writers
If you don’t think you have the time or writing skills to get a thought leadership piece published, then reach out to freelance journalists and copywriters to help. You can engage a freelancer to help you ghostwrite the article using your ideas, experiences and insights. Or you may even be able to co-author a piece.
Once you are happy with the finished article, it’s time to publish it. Submit your piece to publications where your target audience would be subscribers. Often there is an opinion section you could submit to. But read the submission guidelines and adhere to them to increase your chances of getting published.
Once you are published, you can increase coverage by suggesting people check out your article on your social media pages along with a link to the article.
If you are not successful in getting your article published in a publication, there is always Medium.com which invites non-professional writers to submit their useful articles. Here’s a link to learn how.
If you want to skip those steps you could look into becoming an author on LinkedIn. Here’s how.