Have you ever tried to count how many times in a week someone who isn’t a patient asks you for advice on how to manage a minor ache or pain? Do your friends or family members ask you questions about sports injuries or for advice on which office chair will fit them best? As a professional massage therapist, you have knowledge that others value. And your business can benefit when you give this knowledge away free! The secret to gaining benefit from generously sharing information is in how you share.
Being a Thought Leader
Individuals from many professional niches already know this secret. They give away ebooks, present webinars, give live presentations, and write articles all to establish themselves as thought leaders in their industries. What is thought leadership? Michael Brenner of Marketing Insider Group describes thought leadership beautifully, writing that it is content marketing that “taps into the talent, experience, and passion inside your business.”
You have unique experiences and knowledge and the power to inspire others by sharing what you know. The way in which you share your knowledge is through content. This content can take many different forms. Common types of thought leadership content include ebooks, podcasts, videos, and blog posts. No matter what type of content you produce, at its essence thought leadership is you-- sharing your passion and telling others about what you do.
When you share your enthusiasm for physical health and the role massage therapy plays in health and wellness, you let others get to know you better. And, once they get to know you, you will be the person they call if they need massage therapy.
So beyond giving free advice to your friends and family, how can you establish yourself as a thought leader? The answer to that question is up to you.
Choose the topic you’ll champion
To get started, select one or two topics that you are knowledgeable and passionate about. Think about your practice and profession. What part of your job do you enjoy the most? What do you wish everyone knew about their musculoskeletal systems and how to keep their bodies healthy? If you can’t decide on a topic, consider the questions people ask you. Do find yourself answering the same inquiry over and over? Or maybe you’ve noticed people in your community sharing the same disinformation regularly.
You can lead and earn leads by providing accurate and useful information to your community. Think of it as doing well by doing good.
Choose your content delivery methods
Usually when the topic of thought leadership is mentioned, people think first of writers and public speakers. The TED Talks and spin-off TEDx Talk series have made speaking about one’s passion common among individuals from many different industries. You can even find speeches about making speeches. If you like public speaking, you might consider participating in a TEDx program in your community. These events are designed to connect individuals at a local level.
Most communities offer plenty of speaking opportunities for those willing to step up to the mic. Non-profits, service groups, and corporations are all potential audiences for you to share your knowledge of health and wellness.
If writing is more your style, you can choose from a variety of publication channels--or use several. You can share information by creating a blog article or a FAQ page to share on your massage therapy practice’s website. Or you might choose to publish your article as a guest blog on another blogger’s website. Many thought leaders publish their work on Medium or other similar websites. For offline publishing, your local newspaper or community newsletter might be willing to publish your article. Offer to provide advice on avoiding sports injuries during the summer or what to do if you slip on the ice during winter.
After you’ve written an article, you can “amplify” and repurpose your content. Content is amplified when you share it on social media or with influencers who might mention it on their websites or in a news article. When you share your content, be sure to mention your local community so that it is seen by potential patients.
Content is repurposed when you use it as the base to create other types of content. For instance, an article about workplace ergonomics could be used as the basis for several animated video scripts or a podcast. Don’t worry, you don’t have to know how to produce video and audio recordings to create your content. Find professionals in your local community or online to help. Enlist the help of others to create a truly unique message that represents you.
Share Your Thoughts and Stay Front of Mind
When you actively engage with the members of your target market, you make yourself memorable. By sharing relevant and useful information, you demonstrate your expertise. As you share knowledge, your connection to your community will grow, as will their trust in you. The best leaders aren’t afraid to give and the best leads come from well-established relationships. When you become a thought leader in your community it’s a win for everyone.