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Thought leadership using online forums

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Forums are a great way for a business to establish thought leadership in their area of expertise. You can use forums in two different ways to support your marketing and thought leadership strategy:

1. Initially select 2 – 3 forums relevant to your business. Actively participate in these forums, sharing your thoughts, insights and expertise on a number of areas.

This is a great way to build new relationships online, while establishing yourself as a thought leader in particular areas. This automatically brings you and your company credibility and trust.

It is important to make sure that the forums you choose are high traffic with lots of new comments, topics and threads daily. Once you join a forum, ensure that you have a completed profile with an effective signature that links back to your website. Then, participate regularly! By commenting and participating in online discussions, you not only generate extra traffic to your site – you can boost your search engine ranking and enhance your personal brand.

Commenting on articles and discussion boards also boosts your search engine ranking – especially if it is a site/discussion board that already rates highly with a search engine like Google for example.

2. Leverage an online forum in your marketing strategy by creating your own forum and using it as a way to further increase brand awareness and to develop brand credibility and differentiation.

This requires thought and planning and must dove-tail into your broader marketing strategy. There are lots of different types of forums online today and the key to launching a forum is to do your research: what is out there and what is missing? Where is there a gap, and can you sponsor a forum to fill that gap?

Your forum must champion a cause and have a dedicated purpose. For this kind of strategy to work, you need to ensure that the forum is not another advertising platform for your business. You will get the business benefits from being the founder of the forum. You will establish a thought leadership position when your forum becomes a success. Your brand will always be associated with the forum and this can do wonders for your personal and company brand credibility.

Gemma Manning