In recent times, the term “Thought Leadership” has joined the usual business buzzwords in conversation. It seems that no matter where you look or whom you listen to, the consensus is that there are definite benefits to becoming a thought leader.
How, then, do you become one?
First, let’s define who a thought leader is. These are people who excel in their profession to the point where we look up to them. They push boundaries and embody high-level knowledge in their field.
Most importantly, they share and challenge others with this knowledge and experience.
With this in mind, a simple question emerges, “Why should you turn yourself into a thought leader?” There are a few reasons:
- It will boost your brand and bring new customers
- It’s a learning experience
- It allows you to charge more money
- You’ll deliver value to the industry.
Continue reading to learn how to achieve this goal.
Becoming a Thought Leader in Your Industry
Becoming a thought leader should be an intentional decision. Unfortunately, many successful people find themselves in that position by accident. This situation can be a nightmare because there is a lot of pressure and expectation.
You are making that decision now, which means you realize that it will benefit you and your business immensely. Here are five essential tips on how to turn into a thought leader:
#1 Pick a Niche
To start, pick an industry with which you’re familiar. It’s crucial to have both academic and practical knowledge. A degree proves that you have a certain level of expertise, but some real experience in the field should also back it.
Combining your practical and educational knowledge gives your words more authority. Without these, people will treat your content or comments in the same way they would an intern.
Share what you know on various platforms, and, in time, you’ll have a following. Then, make sure to pay attention to audience questions and answer them at length.
Be authentic and show your personality as you guide your viewers. Their trust will help build your brand.
#2 Work with Mentors
Reach out to experts in your field and pursue mentorship opportunities. You’ll gain valuable insights while connecting with new business people.
Associating with a mentor can help your brand grow in multiple ways. A mentor can teach you new skills and share valuable knowledge about your industry.
In addition to benefiting from a mentor’s knowledge, mentorship helps you identify your blind spots, thus making you more humble. This humility makes you thoughtful and mindful when you speak. As a result, the audience can sense you care about them and the information you are providing.
Over time, your mentor will introduce you to their network, which will open up numerous new business opportunities. Stay humble and never stop learning from your mentor’s network of experts.
#3 Build a Strong Personal Brand
A personal brand is one of the most neglected aspects of branding. People ignore it because it is distinct from branding your business as such, yet you can still tie it to the business. Thus, they put more focus on company branding only.
However, branding yourself is about identifying who you are and what you wish to represent. Once you define yourself, people will trust you. They’ll be more willing to work with you, take advice from you, and buy from you.
The simplest way to build a personal brand is by creating content and sharing it on social media. In time, and depending on how unique you are, many people will know about you. Experts in the industry will notice you and seek your advice.
One notable way of developing your brand is by writing guest blog posts. Contributing to another blog is a fantastic chance to grow your influence. People who’ve never heard of you will start researching you, and perhaps even turn into paying customers!
#4 Content Marketing
Content marketing is an absolute necessity in the present day. You must have a blog and produce content for the readers. It can be blog posts, videos, and infographics, or podcasts.
Use the content to teach, inform, correct, inspire, or review information and products. Have a content calendar to guide you on when and what to publish. It will prevent you from winging it and align your actions to your marketing strategy.
You’ll succeed in content marketing if you are consistent. Consistently producing content is essential for driving traffic to your website. It builds an extensive archive of information. It also offers you the chance to answer customer queries.
Remember to share your content across all your social media platforms. Make use of hashtags or ask influencers to spread your message. As more people hear about you, it will raise your profile in the industry.
#5 Speaking Engagements
Finally, once word gets out about your expertise, you will start receiving invitations for speaking engagements. It’s even better if you position yourself for those invitations. Do this by calling organizations or universities and asking about speaking opportunities.
Receiving an invitation to speak at a conference will establish you as a leader in the industry. People will see you as an expert and look for more content from you. The good news is they’ll find your blog and the wealth of information you’ve created there. Your content will solidify your status.
Choose to be an Industry Leader
As you can see, there is a simple formula for becoming a thought leader in your industry. Being a thought leader creates trust, builds your brand, and attracts customers. Moreover, it delivers a lot of value to the audience and your peers in the industry.
Focus on a specific niche you have studied or learned about from mentors. It’s better if it’s a niche you are passionate about.
Use content marketing to display your industry knowledge. Go further and use your networks to get public speaking opportunities. Lastly, keep improving to reinforce your brand to the public.
As you continue on this journey, you’ll find that most people will be looking up to you.
Heather Redding is a part-time assistant manager and writer based in Aurora, Illinois. She is also an avid reader and a tech enthusiast. When Heather is not working or writing, she enjoys her Kindle library with a hot cup of coffee. Reach out to her on Twitter.