Are you curious about thought leadership marketing? Do you or your organization have unique insights about your niche, industry, or market? Are you looking to share those insights with your audience? If the answer is yes to any of these, then you are in the right place.
But what really is thought leadership? There are many definitions out there, but let us look at what Denise Brosseau, author of the book, ‘Ready to be a thought leader? How to increase your influence, impact and success,’ says about thought leadership. She describes thought leaders as people who are informed opinion leaders and the go-to people in their field of expertise. They move and inspire people with innovative ideas, turn ideas into reality, and know and show how to replicate their success. They have followership for their ideas and are known for making a difference.
Thought leaders are experts in their field. These could be individuals in the C-Suite (or C-Suite minus one), consultants, coaches, entrepreneurs, authors, or organizations. These leaders usually have strong opinions, viewpoints, and ideas. Great thought leaders are ahead of the curve and are not worried that what they are sharing might affect their business. They are consumers of knowledge and are keen to share this knowledge and they use research to back their ideas. They constantly add to the thought stream and inspire others to do the same. They are happy to take risks, and they do this by showcasing vulnerability and by uncomplicating the complicated.
How to become a thought leader?
Now that you are aware of what thought leadership is and who thought leaders are, let us look at what is required for you to become a thought leader.
Work on your niche
The first step to becoming a thought leader is to start with just one thing. Deciding to become a thought leader in broad categories like marketing, sales, politics, etc., is futile as you would be unable to make an impact in an ocean like that. Instead, start by choosing a niche within these broad categories based on your experience. Once you establish your thought leadership in this niche, becoming a thought leader in a related niche will be easy. If you feel you aren’t ready to teach your niche to someone who has no idea about it, then you are probably not ready to be a thought leader yet.
Self-reflection is required for any leader, more so if you choose to be a thought leader. Self-reflection builds self-awareness, which helps you see the big picture more clearly. Analyzing your thoughts, behaviors, feelings, and ideas will connect the dots to newer thoughts and ideas. It helps you identify stories, inflection points, failures, and lessons learned. Reflecting on these will help you develop viewpoints that you can then share with your audience. However, be careful not to overdo it, as too much self-reflection can lead to overthinking, which is counter-productive.
Silence your inner critic
We all have that inner voice that stops us from achieving our goals. This voice might tell you that you are not good enough to be a thought leader, don’t have anything to share, or don’t have a niche to focus on. Silence the inner critic or negative talk by building your confidence using positive self-talk. Remind yourself of your past and the journey you have been on so far. Think about the challenges you faced to get to where you are right now. If you can do that, then you can become a thought leader.
Share content, engage, and be consistent
Share your content with your audience. This could be a short post, blog, or video, but whatever you choose, remember to keep the language simple. Social media is a great way to start, as there are different platforms that allow you to post short and long-form content. Choose one that is convenient for you, but remember that it is best to pick the one where your audience will be.
Remember that thought leadership is about your experience and knowledge. It is not meant to be promotional. Engage with your audience, answer their questions, and become part of the conversation. Consistency breeds followers, so ensure that a steady stream of high-quality content is being posted.
Connect with people
You must stay on top of all industry trends and business news to build authority in your niche. One way to do this is to reach out, network, and connect with people in your industry. You can also join groups that consist of like-minded individuals. This way, you can learn, brainstorm and help each other grow. Knowing the right people can also open up more opportunities where you can share your thoughts. You could be interviewed for a podcast, invited as a keynote speaker, or be requested to write a guest blog.
Get a good team
Doing all the above requires time and commitment. And it’s not possible to do it all by yourself. You can’t, and you shouldn’t. It’s important that you get a good team to help you. They should be involved from the beginning and should understand your goals, and be able to create a strategy to help you achieve them. This would make your life much easier so you can focus on other important things.
When done right, thought leadership can be both fulfilling and rewarding. It can open doors to new opportunities and build a connection with audiences who matter the most to you and your company.
Click here to learn how Vajra Global can help you with your thought leadership plan.