The Guide to Creating a Real Estate Thought Leadership Platform
Any long-time listener of my podcast knows that my guests and I constantly stress the importance and strength of creating a thought leadership platform. In fact, I believe that if you want to achieve massive levels of success as an apartment syndicator (or really any entrepreneurial endeavor in general), having an online presence as a thought leader is a MUST. Therefore, I wanted to create a post that outlines why you should create a thought leadership platform and how to actually do so.
What is a thought leadership platform?
Essentially, a thought leadership platform offers unique information, insights and ideas that will position the owner of the platform as a credible and recognized expert in a specific business niche.
Personally, I have and continue to greatly benefit from creating a thought leadership platform. It allows me to build new friendships and business relationships and maintain existing ones. It allows me to stay top of mind of real estate entrepreneurs because I am constantly providing valuable, free information. And it essentially has allowed me to continuously network with people on a global level – even while I am asleep.
A thought leadership platform may take many different forms. Examples that other investors and I have found successful are:
- A YouTube channel – interviewing real estate investors and entrepreneurs and/or providing daily/weekly/monthly insights
- Write a book and self-publish in the Amazon store
- Create an interview-based podcast and post to iTunes, Soundcloud and other popular podcast platforms
- Create a blog, posting to your own personal site and leveraging existing platforms like social media sites, LinkedIn, BiggerPockets, etc.
- Starting an in-person meet-up group in your local market
- Hosting an annual real estate conference
- Weekly or monthly newsletter
What should my thought leadership platform be?
I actually do all seven. However, I didn’t wake-up one morning and say to myself, “I am going to start a YouTube channel, podcast, newsletter, blog, meet-up group and write a book today.” I took it one step at a time, starting with a podcast and pursuing additional platforms once the previous ones were already established. Therefore, I recommend selecting one and using that as your launching point.
The key to determining which thought leadership option to initially pursue is simple: ask yourself, “What would I enjoy doing?”
For example, if you enjoy writing, start a blog. If you enjoy speaking, but are camera shy, start a podcast. If you enjoy speaking and are good on camera, start a YouTube channel.
How to structure a thought leadership platform
Once you’ve selected a platform, the next step is to build out its structure, which I’ve distilled into a simple six-step process:
Step 1 – What is the goal?
Obviously, one of the goals will be to create a thought leadership platform. But what is the larger, overarching goal? How does this goal extend outside simply adding value to your own business?
Before doing anything else, brainstorm and create a list of goals. Then, condense that down into a paragraph or two that clearly communicates the intentions of the platform.
Step 2 – What is the name?
Once you’ve defined a goal, the next step is to generate a name. The ideal name will quickly communicate the goal to your followers.
Pick 3 to 5 potential names, and then ask for feedback from friends and colleagues to find the most popular, attractive name.
Step 3 – Who is the target audience?
Also based on the goal, determine your target audience. Be specific here. Who will benefit most from the information, insights and ideas you will offer? What will be the demographic? What are their interests? Etc.
Step 4 – Why will they come?
This step is key. Why will anyone follow your thought leadership platform? If you cannot provide an answer to this question, your followers – or lack thereof – won’t be able to either.
This question ties into your goal also. Why does your target audience NEED the information you will be offering? What is in it for them? How will they benefit? Why should they consume your content and not the thousands of other thought leadership platforms in the marketplace?
Step 5 – How will it flow?
What will be the structure of the platform? Will it be interview-based? If so, how will the conversation start? How will it end? How long will it be? Will you have a list of questions you will ask every guest? How often will you produce content? These are the types of questions you should be asking to ensure a successful thought leadership platform.
Step 6 – How will it be unique?
Last and certainly not least, how will it be unique? For example, naming a podcast “Millionaire Mindset” and interviewing millionaire investors – in my opinion – is too generic. When creating a thought leadership platform, make it unique to your area of expertise. For example, if you have a construction background. Interview landlords that are hands-on and ask for tips on how to increase revenue by being an active investor. Or if you’re in sales, provide tips on applying sales techniques to real estate investing. Or if you are a marketing executive, make a marketing real estate show on how to find more deals.
The goal is to be specific and unique. Based on your area of expertise (or interests or passions), see if there is a narrow idea on the types of people you can interview and the types of topics you can discuss.
The 3 keys to long-term success
After you’ve selected and structured your platform, your work has just begun. Now it’s time to actually start producing content. As you do, there are three important things to keep in mind to ensure long-term success and effectively build a large following.
First is consistency. Once you’ve established a posting frequency, whether it’s daily, weekly, biweekly, monthly, etc., make a conscious commitment to stick to it. This will be difficult at first because the only people who will follow your platform are your family and friends – and maybe your dog. Don’t expect to see a massive uptick in followers for at least 6 months, and likely even longer.
Next, to increase your chances of reaching your target audience, tap into a large, built-in audience. For example, if you start a podcast, make sure you’re posting to iTunes, Libsyn, SoundCloud, etc. to leverage their existing listenership. Or if you create a real estate blog, post to social media and BiggerPockets.
Finally, Tony Robbins says, “Success leaves clues.” Someone out there has already accomplished what you are also trying to do. So, go out, find established thought leaders, extract out their best practices and apply those to your platform.
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