Become a Thought Leader in Your Industry
Posted 24 July 2017
Being a thought leader is a desirable quality as your peers will value your opinion and you will be recognised as an authority in your field. However, this is not an accolade that you can bestow upon yourself and you must be nominated as such by other people. It will take time to gain this reputation, but once you are in this position it is very beneficial for your career. There are certain steps you can take to achieve this persona and we have outlined them below:
The term brand and branding is often used in marketing channels and describes the all-encompassing qualities that a company has. A brand will be consistent and recognisable and will build a reputation for being valuable in its area. It is important to take the same method as a marketing company would use to brand a company or product as you would yourself. Now it is not necessary to give yourself a logo, colour scheme and strapline, but you do need to look at your overall reputation and how your current network perceives you. Take the time to update your LinkedIn and Twitter profiles to include detailed descriptions of your credentials and accomplishments and begin to build a strong personal brand for yourself. Carry your qualities and values throughout all your posts and social media interactions to create a consistent message. Do not be afraid to put your face on your brand and add some short videos of you speaking to your social platforms.
START A BLOG.
Traditionally a thought leader would have written articles to be printed in respected publications, however, in the digital age, anyone can be published. Writing weekly articles on specific topics in your area of expertise will help you find your voice and show that you are knowledgeable. It is important to write about what you already know well or have researched properly, as false information will be spotted quickly and you will suffer a blow to your reputation if you are called out on it. You should publish your blog every week across your social media channels, making sure that you are tagging your posts and using key words where possible. Search engines love fresh content so by updating your website and/or social media regularly you are more likely to be seen online. Once you have mastered blogging you can move on to e-books, as well as published articles in those respected publications.
NETWORKING IS EVERYTHING.
There is no point writing a blog and creating a brand if no one is going to see it so you need to be utilising your current network and finding potential influencers to get yourself noticed. Start by sending your articles to the people you already know or have met in person through networking events. People who know you personally are more likely to be interested in what you have to say and may agree to share your articles on their social media or with their colleagues. After this, it is important to reach a wider audience and research ‘influencers’ in your area. These are people with an already established following who will be willing to share your thoughts if you share posts of theirs or ask them to write guest articles. Collaboration is a great way to get noticed and make sure you take advantage of any well-known and well-connected contacts you already have or acquire along the way.
Public speaking is a fantastic way to get noticed and put your thoughts out there. By taking the stage your credibility with increase dramatically, and being good at talking to an audience is a sure-fire way of gaining followers and recognition. You can also record your talks to be uploaded on YouTube and your social media channels to pass on your ideas to an even wider audience. Take part in any seminars and events that require you to give presentations, and make sure you interact with the audience where possible. Try and appear on television and radio programs to voice your ideas and create a minor celebrity status that people will want to engage with.
PUSH THE BOUNDARIES.
Once you have established yourself as a reputable authority in your industry, you need to become a leader. This is done by taking more risks with what you talk about; after all, there is no point tackling the same topics that everyone else is or following the crowd as to become a thought leader you need to stand out from the rest. That is not to say you should pick controversial topics or be too extreme in your opinions, but you could look at areas that few people know about or seek out new ways of thinking. A leader should be one step ahead and encourage people to follow them and be open to new ideas. The best way to be a thought leader is to be very knowledgeable in your industry and make yourself as visible as possible.