Positioning Yourself As A Thought Leader

What’s the Big Whoop About Thought Leadership?

While the phrase has appeared in the written form since the late 19th century, the meaning and connotations have evolved over time. Currently, there are a few definitions of thought leader and thought leadership that seem to be generally accepted.

In its simplest form, thought leadership refers to, “intellectual influence and innovative or pioneering thinking” – according to the Oxford dictionary.

Thought leadership is the expression of ideas that demonstrate you have expertise in a particular field, area, or topic. It’s the process of establishing authority and credibility in a person or brand by sharing expert comment, insight, and opinion. Executives and business leaders strive to become thought leaders in their respective fields because it boosts their professional brand and amplifies the corporate brand they represent. It takes dedication, patience, strategy, and education. Most thought leaders not only have a command of their subject area, they are passionate about it and eager to share their knowledge with others to benefit a company, organization, or cause.

Utilizing content marketing, social media, and other means to increase your authority and influence are key for successful thought leadership. It can even be inspiring, which is why many thought leaders are invited to speak at conferences and graduations, why they have many social media followers, why they become LinkedIn experts, and why their content marketing is widely followed.

You may be thinking: “What is thought leadership going to do for me?” The answer: Thought leadership targets the people you really want to get ahold of-- the decision-makers. According to a LinkedIn paper, roughly 60 percent of decision-makers read at least an hour’s worth of thought leadership content weekly. Moreover, over 60 percent of these individuals indicated that thought leadership content influences them to try new products and services.

A thought leader is an expert in their field, with innovative ideas and a full understanding of their industry, the key players, and strategies to succeed. Here are 3 Reasons Why Thought Leadership Is Important:

1. It Builds Trust Along With Your Reputation

Thought leadership is the perfect way to “show, not tell” your expertise. You demonstrate your competence through your content, which makes prospects much more likely to trust you.

2. It Promotes Brand Awareness

Thought leadership is an effective way to build your brand. Your website, visual branding elements, social media and all that other stuff are important, too, but your content is the substance behind your brand.

3. It Gets You In Front of the Right People

As previously mentioned, decision-makers are the ones who spend the most time engaging with thought leadership content. Specifically, those are C-suite executives.

Thought leadership is about how you inspire and influence your market, peers, coworkers, and industry. Thought leaders build their credibility, authority, influence, and reach through the content they create and share with others. It isn’t about leading employees but instead it’s about teaching within your industry. To lead the industry into new territory, you must be viewed as a visionary because you have initiated conversations, contributed ideas, and created value.

What you can do to boost your own thought leadership, daily:

  1. Determine your area of expertise

  2. Regularly produce content

  3. Avoid talking about yourself too much

  4. Stay consistent