Thought Leader: More Than Just a Buzzword
In the social media beehive, you’ve likely come across the term thought leader. You’ve probably seen posts about how people can become the most trusted advisors and experts in their fields.
Many people want to be considered a thought leader, and with all the advice floating around, it may be hard to know what your first steps should be to carve out such a position within your niche.
What is a thought leader?
Thought leaders are people who share their ideas and contribute to conversations. But not just any idea that pops into their head, and not just any random conversation. By sharing industry knowledge, thought leaders challenge their industry with new and exciting ideas, use the past, present, and future to look ahead, and provide valuable insights.
Thought leaders also, well, lead. They can bring people together, inspire, and influence them.
If that sounds like a tall order, it may be more attainable than you think. Focus and discipline will take you a long way to building a reputation as a go-to resource.
How to be a good thought leader
To establish yourself in your space, get your opinion out there and contribute to ongoing industry conversations. Here are a few ideas to get you started.
Take a stand
Challenge what is, so you can inspire your industry to do better. Make your opinions known. Ask the tough questions and embrace a bit of controversy. People will push back, so be prepared to engage in the dialogue.
If you consider yourself an expert in your field, then you’ve got expert advice and insights, whether you recognize it or not. Your opinions have been developed over time as you’ve worked in your field, and they’re worth sharing. Make sure you can back up your opinions and ideas with data and research. And be confident in your postings. Strike the “maybe” and “I feel” from your vocabulary.
Publish original and intentional content
With all the content out there, it’s easy to get lost in the noise. Chiming in on every aspect of your industry is easy, but it’ll dilute your message. Being a thought leader requires an original take on specific areas. Use your blog and social media platforms to dive deeply into a few topics and areas rather than the whole of your industry. When you regularly publish original content that does that deep dive, you’ll build your brand and credibility, allowing your audience to learn from you and get to know you simultaneously.
Keep listening and learning
While having industry knowledge is essential, you want that river of knowledge to keep flowing rather than stagnating. No one has all the answers—it is vital to keep an open mind and learn from others by remembering:
- To stay on top of the issues and trends in your industry.
- To notice any patterns in your industry, so you can study them and offer insights into those patterns.
- To admit when you don’t know something and listen to what other people have to say so you can expand your mental library of knowledge.
- To ask questions of your audience to learn what’s on their minds and then help them address those topics.
Work with others
As a thought leader, don’t go it alone; you’re part of a large industry and community of people who all share their thoughts and ideas in a variety of ways. To make your voice a part of the conversation, work with others by offering to guest post on their blog, being a guest on their podcast, and attending conferences and networking events. Working with others helps build your reputation, brand, and network.
Rise above the crowd
Being a thought leader is a journey. Once you decide to become a trusted voice in your space, take it day by day. Observe and comment intentionally on industry issues, and you will see your reputation and brand grow. Then, keep going. Don’t stop. Your voice will rise above the crowd, and before you know it, you’ll be the thought leader you want to be—and that your industry needs you to be.
Content provided by Q4intelligence
Photo by rido