“Thought leader”, is the relatively new corporate buzzword that everyone can’t stop talking about. But is this phrase just a buzzword? If you have studied this concept a bit, then you will agree that the answer to the question is a resounding no. But then, the bigger question is what exactly does this phrase mean and what can you do to become a thought leader? Luckily, this article is here to show you how to become a thought leader.
It won’t just stop at that; it will discuss other things that will ensure you adequately understand the concept of thought leadership by the time you get to the end of this article.
These other things typically will include the meaning of this concept and the benefits people can get by becoming thought leaders.
So, make sure you do not stop reading halfway.
Read this article to the end so that you can benefit from everything that will be shared.
Who is a Thought Leader – How to Become a Thought Leader
The first thing you need to know in this guide is who exactly a thought leader is.
There are so many definitions of this term out there.
With several experts giving their two cents about who a thought leader is.
But despite the numerous definitions out there, certain factors and elements are common in most of these definitions.
This is why in this article, a thought leader will simply be defined as someone who is considered an expert in their chosen field and shares their expertise with other people in their field.
That is to say, being a thought leader does not just stop at being an expert in a particular field.
But to be considered as a thought leader, you should also offer guidance, advice, and knowledge to those around you and within your field.
You should be able to put your expertise into good use by educating a broad audience to increase your industry’s value.
Thought leaders are often capable of offering a fresh point of view to situations.
This is what makes thought leadership a very important skill to have as a business owner.
Another crucial aspect of being a thought leader is knowing how to lead other people.
A thought leader should be capable of inspiring and influencing other people both with their thoughts and speech.
It involves not just having great ideas but also being able to make other people understand and believe in those ideas and become committed to implementing them.
Finally, a thought leader should also be able to deliver great results that can sufficiently back up the great ideas they come up with.
Benefits of Being a Thought Leader – How to Become a Thought Leader
When it comes to business, thought leadership comes with several advantages.
Thought leadership can help you position yourself in such a way that you’d become a credible source of information within your industry.
Being a thought leader is synonymous with being an authority within your field.
It is being noticed and set apart from your competitors.
This is what makes thought leadership a very beneficial skill that any business owner should strive to have.
Learn more about the advantage of being a thought leader by reading the benefits below.
Expand Your Reach
Thought leadership focuses on content.
And in our world today, content is a very important aspect of marketing (online marketing).
It is one of the best ways to reach a wide audience.
As a thought leader, you typically will be putting out high-quality content.
This is how you’d establish yourself as an authority in your field.
Once you start putting out high-quality content, people will get attracted by it, and with time, your reach would increase.
Then, the message of your business will be reaching more people than if you were not a thought leader.
Being a thought leader will help you make people trust your brand.
Because you’d be considered an authority, people will trust what you stand for, and in this case, that will be your brand.
As a business owner, you most likely know how important brand trust is to a business.
This brings us to the next benefit you get to enjoy as a thought leader.
Increased Sales – How to Become a Thought Leader
Perhaps, the best benefit of being a thought leader as a business owner is that you get to generate more leads and eventually sales.
When you can build trust and credibility in your brand, people will be more inclined to buy from you.
They will trust your judgment and trust that you would not do anything to break their trust.
And the more they trust you, the more they become loyal to your brand.
Help You Build a Reliable and Strong Team – How to Become a Thought Leader
Brand visibility and more sales are not all you stand to benefit from being a thought leader.
Another thing you’d gain is a strong and reliable team.
This is because talented individuals will be attracted to your brand.
And because you will also have great leadership skills, you will have what it takes to retain these talented individuals.
You will also be capable of inspiring them to believe in your goals and help you implement them.
This way, you would have a strong and reliable team that will help you take your business to the next level.
Create More Opportunities for You
When you are known throughout your industry, more and more opportunities will come your way.
The more you become known, the more opportunities that open up to you.
Some of the opportunities that may come your way include being invited to speak at seminars/webinars, being on panels, interviews, and contributing to books/blogs.
These opportunities will help increase your thought leadership skills and expand your reach even more.
Helps You Give Back
Being able to contribute to society is among the basic vision of entrepreneurs.
And being a thought leader can help you directly achieve this goal.
Some people may even consider this benefit to be the best benefit of being a thought leader.
Perhaps because of the inner joy and satisfaction, they get from being able to contribute to their industry and also help those who need guidance.
Tips on How to Become a Thought Leader
At this point, you should have a clear understanding of who a thought leader is.
You also know the benefits of being one and you most likely are very eager to start developing yourself so you can be called one.
The good news is that it’s possible to do this.
The not-so-good news is that it may not be so easy to do.
While it is not rocket science, it’s just as difficult as developing any other skill or habit.
But certain guidelines can make it easier for you.
All you need to do is follow them and stay consistent.
1. Discover Your Niche
You can’t start developing yourself to become a thought leader if you are yet to define or discover your niche.
This is because you need a focus area.
No matter how knowledgeable you are about things in your industry, you can’t know everything.
And let’s assume you do know everything; you would surely have areas where you are better at.
Your niche typically has to relate to your industry, target audience, background, and experience.
Generally, you need to be an expert and have an ample audience in the niche you pick.
So, discovering or defining your niche simply involves figuring out the area you have the most expertise.
It also means making sure you’d have a target audience that is interested in the value you have to share in that niche.
When trying to define your niche, consider asking yourself some important questions.
Questions like what do you love doing, what is your career or business is built around, what are you passionate about, what fulfills you, and so on.
These questions will help you discover that area where you have more experience and expertise.
2. Share Your Knowledge and Thoughts by Creating Content
Once you discover your niche, the next thing you need to do is start developing content in that niche.
You can’t be a thought leader if you do not share your knowledge and expertise with people in your industry/niche.
And the best way to do this in today’s world is by sharing content.
It does not stop at just sharing content.
Your content has to be high-qualities ones that people will find valuable.
It could also take on any media form.
Meaning it could be written such as blog posts and articles.
You can also make video content, such as how-to tutorial videos on YouTube.
Or it could be public speaking like speaking at seminars, events, and webinars.
Whatever media form you choose to use is typically based on your preference.
But you should also consider the preference of your target audience.
What media form will they prefer? Would they like it better if you made videos rather than blog posts?
Research to determine this as it will help you figure out which form will serve you best.
It is not easy to put yourself and your thoughts out there.
Because once you do, you make yourself vulnerable to criticism.
But the truth is, if your content is valuable, you most likely will get more accolades than criticism.
So, fear should not hold you back from becoming who you want to be.
Practice always makes better, so keep practicing.
Be consistent in what you do.
With time, your consistency and hard work will pay off, so long as you are putting out valuable and high-quality content.
3. Be Consistent – How to Become a Thought Leader
Consistency is very important in everything, including thought leadership.
When you start putting out content, you need to ensure you stay consistent.
It won’t do to post an article today and then not put out anything else until five weeks later.
Nobody will take you seriously and there’s no way you will be able to build an audience if you do this.
But when you steadily put out content at least once a week, people would notice your regularity.
And if the content you consistently put out is high-quality, you will garner the necessary attention you want.
4. Fill a Gap that Has Not Been Filled – How to Become a Thought Leader
It won’t do if you become yet another voice in the crowd.
Remember, the whole point of this is to stand out and make other people see you as an expert in your field.
So, just saying the same old thing that a thousand and one people before you have and are currently saying won’t cut it.
You need to look for the gap within your chosen niche and fill it.
Look into the niche, what are those questions that are yet to be answered? Those are what you should be answering.
How do you find out these questions?
Simple, if you post a video or article, do not just put it out there and be on your merry way.
Instead, be interested in what your audience is saying.
Learn to engage in their discussion.
Check the comment section of your post and see what people are saying.
Those questions that keep coming up are the questions you should answer.
That’s the gap that you need to fill.
5. Give Detailed Information
Being detailed with the knowledge you share is among the best ways to establish and build credibility.
This does not mean you should spend hours talking or writing about things no one cares for.
Now is not the time to brag about your experience and accomplishment.
Rather, it is for you to share your experience and expertise by letting people see the nitty-gritty of your industry/niche.
Share your story without making it about you.
Rather than making it about you, it should be about how other people within that industry can learn from your experience.
Let them know what helped you and things that made it more difficult for you.
This part is where some thought leaders get it all wrong.
Their messages fail to resonate with their audience because it is all about self-promotion.
So, ensure you do everything to avoid this pitfall.
Sharing one’s thoughts and ideas is no easy feat.
But it’s an even harder thing to do if you’re not in tune with yourself.
This is what makes self-reflection an important factor when it comes to thought leadership.
You should learn to practice self-reflection from time to time; it’ll be a whole lot more helpful and effective if you do this daily.
Sit down, be calm, and then take your time to analyze your behaviors, actions, thoughts, and ideas.
Doing this will make you achieve a higher level of self-awareness.
This in turn will make you more in tune with yourself and make it easier for you to share those thoughts and ideas.
7. Have a Specific Message
Well-known thought leaders often have a specific message.
This is not to say that you only get to speak about one topic.
However, regardless of what you are speaking about, your message should remain the same.
Having a specific message will allow people to know what you do and the reason why you are doing it.
So, ensure you have a philosophy that you build every other thing around so it doesn’t seem like you are jumping all over the place.
8. Ensure Your Point of View is Clear and Authoritative
You are aiming to be seen as an authority, an expert, someone who knows what they are doing.
So, you can’t be inarticulate and unsure of yourself.
When you speak or write, you need to emit confidence that people will feel.
People should be able to trust and look up to you.
For you to do this, you need to be sure of your thoughts and present them clearly and articulately.
And you can’t project the needed level of confidence if you are not sure of what you are saying.
Therefore, you need to make sure you are what you claim you are and you can do this by learning.
Keep learning, do not think you know it all; develop your skills and expertise, unlearn obsolete things and learn new ones.
Change is constant and it won’t do to remain stuck in your ways.
Learn to adapt to new things; develop a learning mindset.
This is the only way you can be sure that whatever you say is not mere speculations but is backed up by fact.
9. Make Use of Simple Language – How to Become a Thought Leader
As much as you want to sound like an expert, you also do not want to confuse your audience.
Some of the people listening to you or reading what you have written may become lost if you keep throwing in several jargons.
People will only value your content if they understand it, so ensure you make them understand it.
Your language should be as simple as possible so almost anyone can understand you.
10. Connect with People – How to become a Thought Leader
The whole point of being a thought leader is being able to connect with a wider audience.
You can only do this by putting yourself out there.
What differentiates thought leaders from other experts is not their intelligence or smartness.
Instead, it is because they know people and they are not afraid to share their thought with the public.
They know the best platforms to put out their expertise and message and they use them to their advantage.
And this is what you need to do too.
Put yourself in a position that will make it easier for people to connect with you.
Create content, connect with other thought leaders, and join and participate in conversations and groups; just do all you can to ensure you connect with people.
Conclusion on How to Become a Thought Leader
Hopefully, you have all the necessary information that can help you become a thought leader.
Now, all you have to do is use it to your advantage.
Remember that if it were easy, everyone would do it.
So, do not give up, stay consistent, and with time, you’d achieve your goal.