Just as there are different definitions for “success”, there are different ways to look at thought leadership. If you’ve never heard of the term “thought leader”, the basic terminology could be defined as someone who recognizes themselves as an expert or authority in a selected area of specialization and thus becomes the go-to person for information on that subject of specialization. To take this even further, a thought leader is also a person who profits from being labelled as such.
Many have dismissed the concept of thought leadership as a trendy buzzword. But, by looking at the actual goal of a thought leader, it is easy to recognize the value and substance of the concept and that it is a worthwhile goal to achieve for many in the corporate world.
What is the value of becoming a thought leader?
Taking the time to establish yourself as a thought leader is definitely a worthwhile endeavour. Being a person who an audience can trust to learn new information relevant to them in their industry, allows you to establish or enhance your relationship with this audience. Being that know-it-all in your field adds value, not only to your own career, but to their careers, as they learn and grow from your thought leadership. By becoming a thought leader, you not only differentiate yourself from your competition, you prove that your products and/or services are built on a solid knowledge base. Consider that if you own a “green” technology business and market it as so, but take it one step further by becoming a thought leader on the topic of environmentalism and green technology, it will add tremendous value to your customer base in a number of ways. They will understand that your “green” business truly practices what it preaches and it does so based on accurate, well-researched and real-time information.
Whether your audience is looking for information on the past, present, or even the future, when you establish yourself as a thought leader, your customers and potential customers are going to come to you to hear about what is going to happen next. Your insights will be respected and appreciated and this will definitely have a good effect on your bottom line.
How can you become a thought leader?
Deciding that you want to be a thought leader and having the ability to do so are two completely different things. Just as it took time to build your business, it will take time to establish your credibility as a thought leader. Using your knack for being able to engage people in conversations, combined with a very competent insight into your industry, you can build your thought leadership status in a number of ways. Using the tools accessible to you, writing articles, utilizing social media, giving speeches and attend networking events, will all fall under the guise of creating a reputation for yourself as a thought leader.
Even still, there is more to becoming a thought leader than writing blog posts and tweeting. Going above and beyond the simple act of explaining concepts and actually providing your audience with ideas and motivating them to connect and engage with those ideas are the true signs of a thought leader. By focusing on what you know best and what you care about will ensure your thoughts will be genuine and well-received.
As your thought leadership status grows, so too can your business and your profits, solidifying your status as a true thought leader.
If you found this article interesting, you may also enjoy reading the other articles I’ve recently posted on Executive Outlook about Thought Leadership. Please feel free to share these articles with your network.
Your LinkedIn profile is a great place to build your personal brand and position yourself as a Thought Leader. If you need assistance optimizing your profile or writing content, message me at firstname.lastname@example.org.