Thought leader. Industry influencer. These are the current buzzwords which many entrepreneurs believe they need to be. But how do you become a true thought leader and not a fly-by-night sensation? What do you need to do to be taken seriously in your niche?
Let’s have a look at what a thought leader is and how you can work to becoming one in your industry.
What is a thought leader?
A thought leader is someone who is an expert in their industry, and their opinions and insights are valued by those within it. To become a thought leader takes time and effort. You need to become a trustworthy and engaging resource for those in your industry. The benefits of becoming a thought leader in your niche are that your business will have more credibility, you will become a leader in your industry, you will build trust with your audience, and you could open doors to more opportunities.
Here are the seven steps to becoming a thought leader in your industry
STEP 1: Create a personal brand
In the same way, you brand a product, you need to create a personal brand for you. What is your mission and values? What is the voice you want people to hear you speak in? Your brand needs to be true to who you are and what you value for it to be successful. If it is not true to you, you will struggle to keep the brand going.
STEP 2: Become an expert on your niche
You need to clearly understand what you know about your niche. Where does your expertise lie? It is important to remember no-one can be an expert on everything and that’s OK. You just need to know what knowledge you have and how you can make it relevant to your audience.
STEP 3: Create content and distribute it
You should create content for your blog and other influential industry-specific platforms. You could submit your articles to trade journals and well-known news sites in your industry. It is important that the content reflects your voice and is authentic. Your content should not over-promote your brand. This is a problem with a lot of curated content. You should rather aim to give great information about your expertise.
Another way to share your opinion through a reputable resource is to help a journalist out with a story. You can do this by registering on HARO for international exposure and Media Alerts for local exposure.
STEP 4: Be consistent
It is essential that you are consistent on whatever platforms you use to share your opinion on. You need to make sure that there are no differences in your values on the different platforms. You also need to consistently put content on your blog. This can be content you created or content curated from industry leaders that you follow. When you share curated content you should add your two cents to add value to the sharing of the content. You can use Feedly to follow other industry influencers.
STEP 5: Be choosy about speaking appointments
You may feel in the beginning you need to take advantage of every speaking opportunity made available to you but it is important to analyse them before you commit to them.
- Will your target audience be where you will be talking?
- Is the event a high profile event?
- Will this opportunity help you to grow towards your business’ goals?
When you have answers to these questions then you can decide if the speaking appointment will be worth your investment of time and energy.
STEP 6: Win awards
It is critical to enter award competitions so that you can build credibility around your brand. You can enter competitions which have a great influence on your industry. When you do win the awards make sure to take advantage of the press around the celebration of the awards.
STEP 7: Network
Networking is critical to growing as a thought leader. By going to conferences, mixers, power lunches and presentations, you can learn more about your industry, see what the latest trends are in your business, have good face-to-face time with fellow members of your industry, and potentially meet new talent for your brand.
By working on these seven steps you will be well on your way to being a thought leader.
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