What is “thought leadership”? Blake alluded to this concept when discussing finding your industry heroes. Let’s take a deeper dive into what “thought leadership” means and why it is important to you.
Thought leaders are the informed opinion leaders and the go-to people in their field of expertise. They are trusted sources who move and inspire people…
This is an excellent definition of “thought leadership”. I love the above quote from Denise Brosseau of the Thought Leadership Lab. It not only defines what a thought leader is, it also shows why being considered a thought leader in your industry is a huge asset for your business.
Becoming a Thought Leader to Build Trust
“They are a trusted source…”
If people like you they’ll listen to you, but if they trust you they’ll do business with you.
Thought leaders have earned the trust of their target audience. They’ve taken their existing assets of wisdom, time, and experience and transformed them into one of the most valuable assets you can have in the sales process and business relationships – trust.
Becoming a Thought Leader to Drive Action
“They are trusted sources who move and inspire people”
Selling can sometimes feel like the dirty part of doing business. We’ve gotten into our industries and built our businesses because we truly believe in what we’re providing – we know we have value to bring to the table. The core of selling is communicating that value.
By becoming a thought leader, you organically create the desire for your solution within your target audience. You become the driver for informing your audience on what they need. In turn, they trust your opinion and judgment. They trust your opinions on your own products or services but ancillary aspects of your industry.
How Does One Become a Thought Leader?
At this point, you may be thinking “That’s great! But how does that help me and my business. I’m not a thought leader”
This is where I get to be a bit of a buzzkill. There isn’t a guaranteed process or a checklist that you can complete to make you successful.
However, there are actionable steps you can start taking today that will help in building your reputation within your industry and help you in the pursuit of becoming a thought leader.
1. Create Content
The greatest thing you can do is to create content that specifically addresses the problems and pain your target audience is experiencing. This can be done via your own blog, guest posts on popular sites within your industry, writing e-books or publishing a traditional book – the list goes on.
This is also not just limited to written content. You can create videos or your own podcasts to allow your audience to digest the wisdom you’re sharing in the way that is most convenient for them.
2. Participate on Social Media
Even if you think your industry is boring, there is still a target audience for your voice on most Social Media networks. Don’t just generate and share your own brilliant thoughts but generously re-share other people who are contributing great thinking.
3. Public Speaking
Are there any industry conferences that you could speak at? Are there opportunities to speak to groups of your industry peers? These can be great opportunities to get your name out there and establish yourself as an authority within your industry.
4. Be Generous with Your Expertise
There is a counterintuitive reality that those who give generously are usually rewarded generously. Don’t be stingy with your counsel. There are appropriate times to charge for your expertise but adopt a position of freely sharing the wisdom you’ve gained.