How to Win Contracts, Secure Talent, and Become a Thought Leader in 5 Steps

Thought leadership has quickly transformed from a niche marketing term to one of the most influential ideas in the business world. Companies are embracing thought leadership as a key to business success because it allows them to develop warm sales leads, increase efficiency in the sales funnel, and boost brand awareness among potential customers. 

But what exactly is thought leadership? And is it really the key to achieving remarkable success and brand recognition? 

What is Thought Leadership?

A thought leader is another word for a subject matter expert (SME). This is someone who has particular expertise in their chosen field—and is looked to as a pioneer by others in their industry. 

“Thought leadership is the delivery of authentic and genuine content that uses the expertise, insight, and experience of the author, with the goal of sharing that wisdom with others.” Semrush, Thought Leadership: What It Is and How to Master It in 2024

These experts can achieve the status of thought leader once they have grown a strong presence in their industry and are widely recognized as an authority by other industry leaders.  

Thought leaders achieve their status by regularly posting their ideas, findings, and insights online. The most successful thought leaders grow their audience by posting content on their websites, social media, podcasts, whitepapers, and other popular media channels consumed by their industry’s audiences.  

It’s important to recognize that a thought leader can be an individual, like a C-suite executive, or an entire company, like a consulting firm or defense tech and manufacturing organization.  

How Can Thought Leadership Help Boost Brand Recognition and Enhance Recruiting?

Establishing a reputation as an industry thought leader or expert requires dedication and a long-term commitment. It’s also one of the most effective ways to boost warm sales leads, secure more B2B contracts, and attract your industry’s best passive candidates to work at your firm.  

This marketing approach accomplishes these benefits by positioning your company as an industry expert and ideal workplace, which encourages sales prospects and potential employees to actively seek out collaboration opportunities. A successful employee or candidate wants to align themselves with where the industry is going, not where it’s been. 

Academic researchers exploring the benefits of thought leadership as a marketing tool recently found that “by provoking new buyer mindsets favorable to their brand offerings, marketers can sustain a competitive advantage from their perceived subject matter authority.”  

A 5-Step Guide to Starting Your Thought Leadership Journey

At AMG Defense Tech, we help companies build their online presence through thought leadership and brand marketing. Our clients have achieved incredible success by following our 5-Step framework. 

Step 1: Assess Your Potential

The first step to becoming a successful thought leader is to conduct a realistic assessment of your skills and experience.  

To become successful in this pursuit, you or your business will need both the professional credibility and unique perspective required to cultivate an audience and differentiate yourselves from the competition.  

If you’re looking to use your platform to secure more contracts and reach more passive candidates for recruitment, it’s also critical to view your experience through their lenses. For example, how can you translate your experience in the defense or high tech field into language that government contract officers understand? How can you communicate with early- and mid-career specialists to demonstrate that your firm is the perfect fit for their next job? 

Step 2: Define Your Niche and Audience

You’ve successfully assessed your experience to find your niche.  Now, it’s time  to narrow this down even more to carve out a true thought leadership niche and differentiate yourself from the competition.  

By narrowing down your audience and choosing a hyper-specific niche, you make it easier to choose appropriate topics, cultivate your initial audience, and make an impact as a thought leader.  

Once you’ve established a reputation, you can always expand your subject matter to reach a larger audience.  

Step 3: Choose the Best Marketing Channels

Now that you’ve defined your niche and audience, it’s time to select the best marketing channels and start producing content. At AMG Defense Tech, we’ve found that the following channels offer the highest return on investment (ROI) for defense, high tech and manufacturing firms: 

  • Organic AND Paid Social Media – It has to be there when they come to your page, however, besides those too infrequent posts that go viral, on average, only 1-2% of your followers see your organic posts. That’s not enough to make a difference. 
    • LinkedIn – of course 
    • Twitter 
    • Facebook – yes, Facebook. 90% of LinkedIn users have a Facebook page and your message will stand out more there. 
  • Webinars & Training Courses 
  • Conferences & Expos 
  • White Papers 
  • Original Research 
  • Your Company Website – where you have contact/lead/conversion forms and can link the user to all your other industry expertise and history 

Of course, building a robust company website and an active social media presence should be the first step in the process. Once you’ve established a strong reputation and regular content production, you can actively start seeking out sponsored posts on industry and publisher news sites. 

Step 4: Secure Adequate Funding

To succeed, it’s critical that companies fully fund their thought leadership efforts and allow their campaign time to produce results.  

A recent Forbes Insights report discovered that “Despite the growing importance of thought leadership to top-line growth, it receives more lip service than program dollars in actual practice. Most organizations fail to put “muscle” behind the idea of executing disciplined thought leadership programs in sales, marketing and media channels.”  

Organizations that effectively quantify the ROI of this marketing effort and provide adequate funding will have a measurable competitive advantage in their industry, resulting in growth of their business. 

Step 5: Grow Your Audience, Grow your Content, Grow your Business

The key to success is creating, and sticking to, a regular content production schedule. It takes time to grow your audience and achieve results—and many companies give up too early in the process, preventing them from securing that critical ROI and brand recognition. 

A good rule of thumb for small and mid-sized companies is to start posting on your website twice a month and on social media twice a week.  

It may take several months to a year of consistent content production before you start seeing any results—but we’ve found that results can ramp up quickly and seemingly unpredictably.  

Companies that achieve explosive growth often succeed because they spend the initial months carefully refining their messaging and engaging with their limited pool of readers to understand their pain points and motivations. Without those early learning experiences, they wouldn’t have the knowledge required to take advantage of their sudden publicity. When the viral post gets lift, their audience sees that they have been showcasing their expertise for a long time.  Then, (boom) the users are saying, “They are a thought leader / an expert …” 

Putting it All into Practice

We’ve collaborated with numerous defense, high tech and manufacturing companies to boost sales, secure new contracts, and recruit the most in-demand candidates in the industry. Follow our same 5-Step Program to develop a reputation as a defense industry thought leader and unlock your company’s full potential.  

Get Started Today

While starting your journey as a thought leader is relatively straightforward, it can be difficult to successfully define your niche and reach your target audience in a crowded market.  

At AMG Defense Tech, we can jump start the process and help you achieve results quickly. Reach out to our team today for a free consultation—and learn how we’ve helped other defense and high tech clients reach their most ambitious goals with brand marketing and thought leadership campaigns.   


“Thought leadership programs take a systematic approach to delivering new ideas, relevant advice and compelling solutions to prospects and customers through sales, marketing and media channels.” Forbes Insights, Using Thought Leadership to Grow

If you’d like to learn more about how we can help you adapt to the evolving marketing landscape and ramp up your efforts, please contact us today.

By Published On: June 17, 2024

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