November 29, 2017
Joe Fairless

The Guide to Creating a Real Estate Thought Leadership Platform

Any long-time listener of my real estate 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 business 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 such a 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.

  • An investment 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 business thought leadership 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 meetup 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, meetup group and write a book today.” I took it one step at a time, starting with a podcast and pursuing additional business thought leadership 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 investment 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 Your Platform

Once you’ve selected a business thought leadership 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 of 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 business thought leadership 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 three to five 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 the target audience of your investment thought leadership platform. 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 others in the marketplace?

Step 5 – How Will It Flow?

What will be the structure of your business thought leadership 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 an investment 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 Three Keys to Long-Term Success

After you’ve selected and structured your business thought leadership 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 investment thought leadership platform are your family and friends – and maybe your dog. Don’t expect to see a massive uptick in followers for at least six 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 thought leadership platform.

Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this blog post are provided for informational purposes only, and should not be construed as an offer to buy or sell any securities or to make or consider any investment or course of action.
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