How to Become a Thought Leader

Whilst your company’s marketing activity will help it to grow in terms of awareness, size and sales, another effective means of gathering attention is by becoming a thought leader. This usually applies to the owner or CEO of a business but can also extend to other key members of the team, such as the marketing manager, finance director, HR administrator, and so on.

The term thought leader is a relatively new one, as it came into existence as a result of the social media age. Whilst most professionals share ideas and updates on LinkedIn and through blogs, thought leaders are those who go above and beyond to educate, inspire and drive positive change. Prime examples are Seth Godin, who has also written multiple books on business tactics, Tony Robbins, a popular self-help motivator, and of course global tycoons such as Bill Gates and Mark Zuckerberg. However, anyone at all can become a thought leader over time if their content is so strong that it goes viral.

If you think you have the talent to become a thought leader in your field, whether that’s sales, marketing, business management or anything else, here are some tips to get you started.


Find your niche

Thought leaders very rarely talk about all different topics, or if they do they’re always tied together by a central theme. For instance, discussing business could cover everything from lead generation to ethical operations, whereas focusing on public relations specifically will mean that your content is more concentrated.

The easiest way to find your niche is to think about what truly drives you to succeed – by playing to your strengths and thinking of new ways to explore a subject, you’ll discover that your posts are consistent, engaging and useful to those who read them.


Decide on your type of content

There are many different types of digital content, with thought leaders usually choosing written articles that are posted on LinkedIn as their main body of work. Still, there’s a lot of wiggle room here, as you could also create videos, infographics, podcasts, webinars and anything else that you believe will effectively convey your thoughts.

Whilst there’s always the opportunity to diversify your content format further down the line, the best way to begin is to choose one for starters and then expand naturally. The worst thing you could do is make a large variety all at once, only to then let some of your channels wind down due to lack of activity or interactions.


Personal brand is key

Due to thought leaders often being individuals within a company, rather than the company itself, your personal brand needs to look sharp. This means a profile photo taken by an expert, thorough proofreading before posting anything, attractive photography so that your articles have a visual draw (free stock image sites such as pexels.com and unsplash.com are excellent for this), and a consistent voice across all of your channels.

If your LinkedIn is a great resource for other professionals but your Twitter is barely updated or amateurish, you could miss out on potentially hundreds or even thousands of new followers. If you’d rather use your other social media accounts for personal use, it’s worth creating secondary versions for your thought leadership, just make sure to clearly differentiate them in your bios.


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