After you’ve been in your area of business for a few years, you’ve got some experience under your belt, and you find yourself offering knowledge to those in your close circle, it’s only natural to begin thinking about how you can expand your reach.
One of the most influential roles in the digital age is that of a thought leader. With all the information we could ever need at our fingertips, only a click away, it’s natural that there are specific people and outlets that we gravitate towards and keep up with.
Now the question is, how do you become one of those people? You build your thought leadership strategy.
Decide on Your Area of Expertise
To truly become a thought leader, you must focus on the space in which you have the most knowledge. There might be several areas that you would consider yourself well versed in, but you want to be careful of trying to do too much. Choose one topic or genre and home in on it.
Are you great at social media marketing?
Since that’s still a very broad category, choose an aspect of the industry and make yourself known in it. That’s not to say you can’t discuss other pillars or topics that are relevant. However, if you stick to what you know best, you’re more likely to gain more credibility. Your goal should be to be known for that vertical and have people calling on you for your expertise in that area.
Determine Where You Need to be Present
There is a wide range of platforms where you can have your voice heard but understanding which one will help you best get in front of those seeking out your knowledge will help you see more success.
When it comes to choosing where you’re going to put your energy, it’s important to know your audience. Are you speaking to c-suite executives? Then you should probably aim to have your content featured in business journals or popular sources such as Forbes.
Are you trying to get in front of entrepreneurs and smaller business owners? Then research the resources they are going to most – think Create and Cultivate, local conferences, and sources such as Mashable.
Or maybe you’re going after young business professionals looking to further their careers and stand out. Then you should narrow your focus to platforms like LinkedIn, Twitter, Instagram, and e-newsletters from reputable sources.
When you know who you are trying to reach, then you can become a part of their daily routine and ultimately make yourself known to them.
Map Out Your Plan of Action
Now that you know what you’re going to talk about, who you’re trying to reach, and where you need to be active, you can create a strategy for becoming a thought leader.
If you’re going to be publishing blogs on your own website or sending out your own e-newsletter, determine a schedule for publishing and put together a content calendar of topics. If you’re looking to get published on notable sites or speak at reputable events, then you will want to set aside time in your day to connect with the contacts in charge of setting this up.
Then once you know when and where you will be sharing your knowledge, it’s time to map out how you’re going to promote your work. Whether you’re publishing your own articles or guest writing for an outlet, it’s important to share that across your social media, within emails, and even highlight it on the home page of your site.
Choose when and where you’re going to share your latest article based on where your audience can be found, and when they’re the most active. Get creative with it and think about what would make someone click through to read your post!
Finally, and arguably the most important step to becoming a thought leader is to remain consistent with your work. To be seen as a trusted resource, you must have a reputation as someone who is on top of the trends, stay up to date on the latest news, and is always be willing to do the research to remain current.
In addition, that also means that you must continuously be publishing new content that aligns with what’s happening in the industry. If your pieces are outdated and don’t reference the latest, then how can you expect people to see you as a thought leader in the space?
Creating a thought leadership strategy is essential to be known as a credible source. Those who put the time and effort into the plan of action itself will reap the most reward once they start publishing content within their category. Start with what you know and who you know, and continue to write about relevant information, and then the credibility will follow as you slowly build your portfolio, and ultimately make a name for yourself in the space.