Whether you’re a serial entrepreneur or launching your first startup, the chances are that you’ve seen the phrase “thought leader” being banded about.
As digital marketing continues to evolve, entrepreneurs are increasingly turning to their personal brands to drive sales. If you can become a thought leader in your niche and win over the trust of potential customers, you’ll find it much easier to sell to them. After all, research shows that people buy from people.
If you want to become a thought leader, a quick word of warning: it won’t happen overnight.
It takes time and dedication to build a personal brand and persuade others to buy into it. And in some cases, it simply won’t happen. If you operate in a particularly competitive niche or don’t have the time to commit to branding yourself, you stand no chance.
The good news is, with the right strategy, you can become a thought leader and find success. Here’s how…
Choose a niche to become a thought leader in
You can’t expect to become a thought leader without the expertise and a strong background in your industry.
Nowadays, everyone has a presence on Twitter and LinkedIn. Most people use their social accounts to grow their networks and promote their services. Unless you are a real whizz and have decades of experience doing what you do, there’ll be someone better.
Before you can become a thought leader, you need to swallow your pride.
Accept that you don’t know everything. Accept that you’ll need to learn as you go, and adapt your way of thinking. Choose something you’re passionate about and start posting content. As you start to have conversations and challenge your ideas, you’ll evolve and become a thought leader.
Know of another entrepreneur who’s dominating in your space? Use them as inspiration and allow yourself to feel threatened.
Sure, you can take inspiration from their success. But you should also understand why they’re successful, and try to emulate it using your own tactics.
Depend on your voice to become a thought leader
Being authentic is so important, especially when you’re posting content under your own name. Lean on your expertise but use your personal voice and don’t be afraid to let down the guard. People love to hear about failures – share with the world what went wrong and what you learned from it.
Consumers know whether you’re being genuine, and whether or not it was actually you who wrote that content. You don’t need to be a journalist. You just need passion, commitment, and the desire to start conversations, be omnipresent on social media, and inspire others.
Don’t become a thought leader to promote yourself
The obvious benefit to thought leadership is the ability to build a personal brand that sells itself. But that doesn’t mean you should be posting about your products and services all of the time. In fact, doing so could turn them off and encourage them to unfollow/unsubscribe.
Instead, focus on adding value to your blogs and social media channels and educate your followers and readers. Share ideas, inspire debates and be helpful.
Sure, you can pepper in a shameless plug from time to time, but don’t make that your core purpose.
If you become a thought leader, the sales and leads will come to you – so you can relax and focus on growth.
Set aside some time to build your brand
You can’t become a thought leader without putting in the hours.
Successful entrepreneurs will commit tens of hours per week to their social media channels and blog posts. If you don’t have the time to commit to that just yet, you can dip your toe in the water. You could even outsource some of the responsibilities, such as hiring a content writer for blogger outreach.
It’s not enough to write a memorable article once a month and be done with it. You must be omnipresent on social. Post on LinkedIn and Twitter every day, and use scheduling tools to help. Create content in batches, so you have plenty to share when you’re too busy to create.
Think outside the box
Although you might invest the majority of your time in your company blog, that only offers so much reach.
The last thing you want to do is be producing tonnes of great content that nobody can see.
One of the best ways to grow your personal brand is to spread the word further – on other people’s websites, newspapers, and blogs.
Think about the publications your audience is reading, and reach out to them for opportunities to share your knowledge with the world. With the right technique, you can grow your business with guest posts.
You don’t have to limit yourself to blog posts and social media posts. Video is growing in popularity – consider a live stream to answer questions from followers. Podcasts are another avenue to consider, whilst infographics are shareable and ideal for a link building campaign.
Your team can help you become a thought leader
The biggest secret to thought leadership? You don’t have to do all of the hard work on your own.
Sure, it helps if you create content in your voice for authenticity. But you can ask for a helping hand from your team – or from a marketing agency. Your team members, or agency, can help with high-quality content creation, online public relations, and personal branding.
You can outsource tasks that you don’t enjoy – blogger outreach, for example – and focus on the things you do enjoy – like hosting a Q&A on your Facebook page. A smart entrepreneur can identify their strengths and weaknesses and rely on a team of experts to fill any gaps.
Ready to become a thought leader? Reach out to the team at Biz Online Marketing to find out more about how our services could help you on your mission.
As well as content writing and blogger outreach, we can also assist with personal branding and get you to the top.
Whatever your next move, we wish you the very best of luck with building a brand – be consistent, be bold, and be strategic, and you’ll attract the attention of your target market.