While it won’t happen overnight, establishing influence in your field will lift you to new levels of personal and professional growth, achievement, and satisfaction. It will give you opportunities to impress your audience, share your big ideas, and, ultimately, change the world, whether that world is a client organization, an industry, or an entire culture.
Becoming a thought leader and raising your profile will also help you attract influencers, customers, and investors—the people you need, and the people you lead.
Those rewards make the effort – outlined in the following three steps – well worthwhile.
Step 1 to Becoming a Thought Leader: Pick Your Point-of-View
In what space do you wish to lead? In other words, what’s your point of view? When identifying your topic of focus, depth beats breadth every time so find your niche and dive deep.
Thought leaders inspire people with informed and innovative ideas. Choose a topic that you’re passionate about and that’s been foundational to your career. Marry that topic with what your audience values and then seek to own the conversation around it.
Keep in mind that you don’t have to be an executive to become a thought leader. If you’re committed to an area of expertise, you already have the tools to create something unique to yourself to start building your personal brand.
Step 2: Polish and Position Your Personal Brand
Being a thought leader requires that you present a polished, personal brand on every platform and that you position yourself as a credible, authoritative source in your field.
As the extension of your thought leader self, your website is current and consistently refreshed with new content, as are your LinkedIn profile and social accounts. Check each forum, evaluating it from the perspective of your audience:
What will the visitor’s first impression be?
What do you WANT the visitor’s first impression to be?
Is your message stated clearly?
Have you written and posted useful, niche content? This leads us into Step 3…
Step 3: Publish, Promote, Publish, Promote
The third step on the road to becoming a thought leader is to regularly publish and promote unique content. Create a promotion strategy that targets the top channels serving your field.
Identify potential conference speaking engagements. Reach out to industry publications or podcasts that could feature you as a guest contributor. Create a presence on platforms that your audience looks to for professional advice and guidance.
As a thought leader, you won’t just accept the way that things have always been done. Instead, you’ll forge your own path based on experience and past successes, and that’s why your community will look to you for ideas and inspiration.
Go on, take the leap! The world is waiting.
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