These days having a great idea, desirable products to sell or good funding isn’t enough – you need to demonstrate yourself – or your brand – as a leader in your field. The benefits to positioning yourself as a thought leader include consumers being more likely to purchase your products or services, peers giving you more credence and respect, and a likely increase in your search engine rankings.

While there are many ways to flex your expertise in your field (host seminars, for example), one of the most effective and rewarding ways is through your writing.

Effective writing through your own business blog, as a guest blogger for industry and trade magazines, and actively posting your thoughts on social media are just some of the ways you can build your reputation as a thought leader.

In order to build your authority and increase your visibility among your peers and prospects, you have to stay on top of all the latest news, trends, and advancements in your field. You’ll then use that knowledge to pitch and publish ideas that have weight and relevance.

Your published articles will not only have your byline, but you might be able to include a bio at the end, which links back to your site (to give your website even more page authority).

Here are three ways you can use writing to develop into a thought leader in your field:

Create and manage your own business blog

woman writingIt seems these days every business has a blog, but most of these blogs do very little in terms of garnering leads or sales.

The best business blogs out there today give their readers information they can actually use, rather than articles clearly written for the sake of ranking for keywords. These informative articles also often feature links to authoritative sources – and are peppered with smart commentary – to make them – dare we say it – useful to the reader.

We love the work FedEx does with their blog. The company knows that many of its customers run e-commerce websites, and so they often post articles that give these customers worthwhile tips and advice.

This post – Fred Smith Talks Autonomous Vehicles, Robots, and More – is a great example of how FedEx uses its blog to offer helpful resources, rather than to craft blogs that boost their ranking for terms like “Overnight Delivery.”

In order to build a robust blog like this, you need to invest time into reading about your industry and identifying topics that have relevance. By doing this type of homework, and identifying trustworthy sources you can turn to for information, your blog will build your expertise and improve your search engine rankings.

Guest blogging on authoritative websites

The internet is a very social place. If all you did was post blogs on your own site, then you’re missing out on the entire concept of communication and collaboration. As a result, your rankings will suffer.

It’s not uncommon to find today’s strongest business leaders guest blog for publications like Forbes, Harvard Business World, and Inc. Sure, if you land a guest blog gig for one of those sites, then surely you’ll be taken more seriously.

However, don’t just focus on these big guns. Identify the most authoritative sites in your specific market niche. You can do this by first identifying the existing thought leaders in your field and then finding out where they publish articles. You can then submit well-researched posts to these blogs to target folks interested in your industry.

Below is an image of an article marketer Neil Patel wrote as a guest blogger for Hubspot:

hubspot blog post

Sure, this post doesn’t live on his site, which might lead you to believe it does Neil no good. Nothing could be further from the truth. By publishing on a well-trafficked website like Hubspot, Neil is widening his readership and adding an incredible amount of link-juice to his own site and digital channels.

Write long-form content that engages

long form content is bestSo much has been said about short-form content. Whether it was Tumblr, Twitter, or our waning attention span, marketers have long been told that short and sweet wins the prize.

Forget all that.

Search engines like Google love long-form content. The reason for it is pretty simple: blogs that go beyond simple 600-word posts require the writer to delve deeper into a subject. That means that article is more likely to offer value to a reader.

Consider getting into the habit of writing long-form content including white papers, e-books, and podcasts (transcribe your text).

Research shows that when someone hears about a business, the first thing they do is Google that business to learn more about it. Your long-form content is just the type of results they want to see to prove to them that you’re a business worth forming a relationship with.

Make your authority work for you

As you build out your authority across the web, make sure to keep a running list of your URLs so you can easily reference them when needed. It’s also a good idea to self-promote your guest-blogging articles to boost your site’s rankings. This all might sound a bit overwhelming, but by taking small actionable steps each week, you’ll be well on your way to becoming the king of your industry.