A thought leader drives new ideas and innovation in their respective field. Through their education and experience, they become experts in their industry and use this to help others gain insight. Becoming a thought leader doesn’t happen overnight. It takes a lot of dedicated work, but it is an effective strategy to objectively bring clients to your business.
A thought leader has to gain a reputation by proving their worth to others. When people begin to recognize you as a leader in a given industry, they will seek you out because they come to rely on your thinking.
To become a thought leader, you have to implement personal branding strategies, refine your skill set, introduce new thinking, and expand your connections on a regular basis.
Here are some strategies to consider:
Look for thought leaders in your industry and learn from them. Read their blogs, watch how they interact with their followers, and look at how they run their business. The goal here is to learn how to position yourself as an expert, and how to think and communicate in a similar manner.
Additionally, after you have started to establish yourself as a thought leader, these connections will also help you gain your own followers.
This is the key to any great marketing strategy, and it doesn’t just apply to companies or products. A personal brand is what defines your promise of value. You should develop a brand statement, which is only one or two sentences that defines what you are best at, what audience you serve, and how you do it uniquely. This statement should be used to help guide your communication as you position yourself as a thought leader.
You will want to start laying the foundation by enhancing or completely restructuring your existing social media profiles, especially on LinkedIn and Twitter. These channels are important because they are key to your communication strategy. Make sure they are well-written and provide detailed descriptions of your credentials, experience, and career accomplishments.
Establish a blog on your company’s website and begin posting on a regular basis to showcases your expertise. You should establish an archive of articles and then syndicate your posts on your social networks. Participating in groups and chats are also good ways to get your posts read and to develop followers, as well as a great way to establish dialog on relevant topics.
A newsletter is also a great way to establish yourself as an expert. Make a Business Spotlight a top priority for sharing your thoughts on the industry, introducing new concepts, or new ideas that will help your clients.
Another way to keep building your brand as a thought leader is to create a custom magazine that provides relevant content to your readers, as well as an editorial from you on various issues that highlights your expertise.
You will also want to get published by different sources to grow your audience, so look for guest blogging and podcast opportunities. Use all of these resources as a way to establish a mailing list for your newsletter, magazine, and emails about new blogs you’ve posted or new ideas you want to share.
You will want to continue to expand your network with people in your industry and influencers that can help establish you as a thought leader. Participate at in-person events, speak at industry conferences, and join online networking groups. Listen to these contacts, the information they are looking for, the insight they are seeking, and the challenges they are facing. Provide your perspective and expertise in response. The comments you will receive on your thoughts will help establish your authority and credibility, and will put you in a thought leadership position.
At this point, you’ve established a reputation as a leader in the industry and you have to keep delivering new ideas and fresh thinking. As you are driving innovation in your own business, publicize your efforts and the results that were achieved.
Continue to publish through all of your various channels to keep your network looking forward to your thinking and predictions on relevant issues.