Ever read an article and been inspired by its thoughts and ideas? Found it to be reaching out to you, almost speaking to you? Does it make you act? Or think? Both?
Being a thought leader enables you to speak to your industry; to provoke conversations and suggest new philosophies of working. Whether you are a business to business operation or a business to customer retailer, you should consider being an authority in your field.
How do I become a thought leader?
According to Forbes it is not possible to just “become” a thought leader. You cannot just wake up one day and decide it. It is a process that takes time and is not a “quick fix” solution.
Another Forbes article suggests thought leadership should be a business priority. It is no longer enough to rely on traditional avenues of gaining new customers. Prospects want to see that you know what you are talking about and that you can be trusted.
Working towards being a thought leader should be considered professional and personal development. It is based upon establishing your own personal brand.
There are a few steps you can take on a regular basis to achieve this:
1. Discover your niche.
Whilst the services and products you offer are broad, there may be a specific part that makes your heart sing a little louder; something you are more passionate about. For example, you could be selling kitchen cupboards but if it’s the sustainable materials used that sets fireworks off in your mind, then that is the niche you can dominate in.
2. Consider how much experience you have in your business.
You may be a start-up but come from a line of previous work experience in a similar field. Or as a manager or owner of a well-established business, you know your sector inside and out. Whatever point of experience you are coming from, you should consider yourself an expert and can speak from a level of authority.
3. Start a blog.
Make this a part of your website. You may even already have a space for this on your site. Use this as your tool for speaking to your audience. You could talk about anything that is relevant to your business, or perhaps your own take on an article you’ve read. Create content that showcases your knowledge and how you apply to it, without making it a sales pitch.
4. Build trust.
This is a key part of becoming a thought leader. Your prospects want to believe in what you are saying. You need to add value to your audience, give them something they didn’t know before; offer them a solution to a problem; provide them with strategies they apply. For example, as a thought leader you may wish to educate by providing “How to” guides or trends you have noticed.
5.Re-purpose your content.
Once you have created your blog, you can make hundreds of different pieces of content. We’re not saying to create 100 pieces but consider how you can stretch your blog and apply it to different platforms. Hootsuite, in a recent article, referred to LinkedIn statistics stating 91% of executives rate LinkedIn as their first choice for professionally relevant content. Therefore, LinkedIn is probably a good place to start to share your blog.