The internet has forever changed the world.
Back in the ’90s when someone was looking for a product or service, they opened up the Yellow Pages, where they began their research. They would have made a few calls, asked some questions, and then visited their chosen place of business for a little more research.
These days, the research begins well and truly before you have any idea a potential prospect has you on their radar.
Your prospects aren’t just googling celebrities; they’re checking you out too. They want to know that you’re an expert in your niche. They want to know that your values are aligned with theirs. They want to feel like they know you before they even speak with you the first time.
I’ve had some clients come to work with me after following me for over 4 years! They’re read my posts, watched my videos, listened to my podcast, and interacted with me online. That’s some pretty intense research!
Building your personal brand is absolutely essential these days if you want to attract new opportunities, but how do you actually become a thought leader?
Here are 6 ways you can start to develop your thought leadership, and grow your influence:
1.Double Down On Your Expertise
I have found most experts can help almost anyone with almost anything. But it’s impossible to stand out from the crowd when your message sounds just like the rest of the crowd.
Get clear on your unique zone of genius, and delve deep into that topic. Infuse your knowledge with your passion and experiences, and share your unique perspective.
Don’t go wide with your topic. Go deep.
2. Create Valuable Content
There is no doubt about it. We’re in the information age, and content is King.
There are many places to publish your content, depending on where your
target audience is. Options include publishing directly to the blog on your website, hosting a podcast, or using platforms like LinkedIn or Medium.
Alternatively you can guest post on other platforms or blogs where there is already an audience of consumers.
3. Attract Opportunities As A Subject Matter Expert
This is an excellent way to have the trust of others transferred to you, to grow your audience, and to become top of mind in your niche.
Being featured as a trusted authority automatically gives you credibility as an expert in your subject matter, and there are many ways you can do this.
- Being interviewed as an expert in your field for an industry publication
- Speaking from stage at an industry event
- Contributing or being quoted in an article
- Receiving a shout-out on social media
- Delivering a training or workshop to someone else’s community
4. Write A Book
You offer your clients a perspective through your knowledge and experiences that is unique to you. The process of writing a book, will not only help you to get clarity on your methodologies and viewpoints, but becoming a published author will position you as a thought leader.
Sinking your teeth into writing a book and becoming a best-selling author will position you well as a trusted authority in your industry, and will be fabulous leverage with the media.
5. Build Your Social Media Presence
Social media isn’t just for twenty-somethings to post pictures of their smashed avocado.
It’s a place to build your influence and an audience.
Depending on your area of expertise, depends where you should focus your efforts. Go to the platforms where your target market already are.
If your target audience is B2B, LinkedIn is a great platform to build your influence. If your target audience is in the wellness space, Instagram is probably a better platform for you.
Do your research, create a strategy, and then implement your strategy.
6. Nurture Connections And Create Collaborations
“If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.” —African Proverb.
Collaborating is one of the fastest ways to build your influence and position your thought leadership in new networks.
Networking, LinkedIn and industry conferences are all great places to meet like-minded people and begin to explore creating new win/win opportunities. Always come from a place of service, and not from a place of “what can I get out of this”, as people can sniff that a mile off.
Positioning yourself as a thought leader is like a personal insurance policy for your personal brand. You need to know that it’s a long game, and requires commitment and dedication. Becoming a thought leader doesn’t happen overnight, and it takes time to become a trusted source, but these steps are a great starting point to establish your personal brand.
If you’d like to build your influence and audience, I’ve put together a free resource for you called The Thought Leaders Positioning Checklist, where I outline the 5 ways to ensure you’re showing up in the way that will help you grow your brand. You can grab your copy here: https://samanthariley.global/checklist/