- Becoming a prominent thought leader in your industry will do wonders for your business and personal career.
- Refining your personal brand and building a profile across your owned media channels are just a few ways you can build thought leadership.
- You can also invest in PR, do public speaking engagements and publish content regularly.
- Keep reading to learn about five strategies that will help you become a thought leader in your industry.
You are in business or have a great career because you either love what you do or are very good at it. Or both. Your closest friends and colleagues know this intimately and you are referred to as a ‘Rockstar’ in your field, and that’s awesome.
But do your potential customers know that?
I know, they should, you been posting it on social media, sharing insights in your blog and on your website too.
But is that enough? Are you being seen and recognised as a leader in your field, the expert or thought leader you truly are? In 9 out of 10 cases, the answer is: “No.”
Why do I know this? Well, most of the entrepreneurs, business leaders, industry experts and speakers who seek me out know that they are - but to their target audience they are the best-kept secret.
And, all their effort on their owned media streams, like social media and website, is simply not enough. Getting your target audience to recognise you as the go-to person takes a lot more.
For over a decade and a half, I have helped businesses to position themselves in the market. I've worked with speakers, experts, TV personalities and thought leaders using the sequential 5-Step Thought-Leader Matrix or 5 Ps of Instant Reputation of Influence.
And, while you might read on and think, “Oh, yeah, that’s easy” - actually, it isn’t. This is why people from all areas of business and career seek me out, across Australia and beyond.
How to Become a Thought Leader
Here are the 5 stages of how to become a thought-leader and earning your reputation of influence (ROI):
- Perfect your personal branding
- Build a personal profile
- Do public relations (PR)
- Publish your knowledge
- Present yourself
1. Perfect your personal branding
Yup, you guessed it. While your face is your logo in today’s personal branding landscape, you also need to dig a lot deeper than just that. There is a good reason why the biggest brands have spent a lot of time and money on identifying their brand, brand culture and core values - first.
Everything pivots on this and that could not be truer with personal branding. So, before you step out from behind your business brand, career title or product, ensure you delve deeply into the core brand values and aspects of your personal brand.
2. Build a personal profile
Once you have identified and set out clearly what your personal brand is and what it stands for, it is time to develop a profile for this. One that is really aligned with your brand and can be recognised as that.
To really build out your profile means having end-to-end ownership of your brand presence across your owned media streams, these being social media platforms, website, blog, map reference, and a bunch of other things. And, while you might think you have this somewhat in order, in most cases, it’s not fully aligned with or rooted in a well-defined personal brand. I recommend to re-visit the previous step, ideally with outside help.
3. Do public relations (PR)
Contrary to common belief, most big names and leading experts have invested heavily in proper professional PR. Sending off press releases ad-hoc is not what we are talking about here. Think the likes of Sir Richard Branson, who says that an editorial is infinitely more powerful than a full-page advertisement.
Bill Gates has said that if he only had two dollars left, he would spend one on PR. This should indicate how important a well-planned and thorough publicity campaign is, to building and cementing your brand position and your thought leader or expert standing.
A quick word of warning. There are some major pitfalls in doing your own PR (if you don’t know how to do it right) and some irreversible mistakes should you commit some of the big no-no’s. Most commonly, people try it without taking the time to train themselves up a little, then commit a bunch of mistakes and eventually go and seek professional help. Some bridges might be burned while others can perhaps be repaired.
The most frequent comment I get is, “I should have just concentrated on my core skill and let someone else do my PR”.
Obviously, there are many different PR strategies and powerful pathways to explore - too many to go into here. But, please, press releases are NOT one of them!
4. Publish your knowledge
Next, is publishing. Once you have successfully implemented the first three P’s, publishing your content is the next important building block in order to be seen as an expert, industry leader or person of influence.
This is content such as articles, white papers, infographics, cheat sheets, trend reports, and the likes. And, one of the most powerful business cards you will ever have - your own book. Yes, we help our clients develop a book concept that will not only support their personal brand, but also becomes an integral part of their onboarding of new clients.
Essentially, a book can open otherwise closed doors and if it is designed and structured right, can be monetised - be it on the front or the back. There are good books and there are average or bad books. For you to get the most out of your book - get help. After all, it’s not just about having a book, you also need to get it to the readers’ hands.
5. Present yourself
They say 90% of the people would rather die than speak in public. There is an art and science to public speaking and presenting, and like your brand, PR or your book, it is easy to stuff things up. Don’t get me wrong, I encourage you to get out there and share your story, insights and wisdom, but doing it badly can really backfire too.
Understanding the science and art of public speaking such as stagecraft, body language, anchoring, engagement strategies, tonality, timelines and oodles of other fundamentals (be it on stage, video or online) - can make or break this as a powerful step of establishing yourself as the leader or expert.
So, there you have it, the 5 Ps of Thought Leadership or how we refer to it, the five steps to get an ROI - Reputation of Influence.
Done well, these steps can totally transform your career, business, and personal brand position. I encourage you to step out and build your personal brand - strongly. It is the very thing that makes you unique, so do it well. You only have the one brand - YOU!
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