How To Become A Thought Leader: 5 Actions You Can Take To Get There
“A thought leader is someone who creates something before people realize that they need it. The best example, of course, is Steve Jobs. Richard Branson too.”
– Guy Kawasaki, Thought Leader, And Best Selling Author of the MacinTosh Way
Odds are you’ve probaably encountered thought leadership and didn’t even know it. Have you ever watched a social media video that made you want to purchase something or listened to an audiobook that caused you to adapt your way of thinking?
The person behind the camera or the book influenced your decision to make a purchase or change your habits. Thought leaders are a prevalent part of our society, and their power of persuasion isn’t going away anytime soon. So let’s take a deeper look at thought leadership practices.
What Is Thought Leadership? Why Is It Important?
As business corporate executives, entrepreneurs, and sometimes influencers, these individuals often have a plethora of knowledge based on years of experience and data-based findings.
Thought leadership is important because it’s brings value to the audience. This value can be:
What Is An Example of Thought Leadership?
Hubspot posts original research pieces relevant to its target market, while also posting a variety of free e-books, guides, and courses available for anyone to see.
Someone could go on Hubspot’s website and find out how to build a customer persona or use one of their marketing plan templates to build a company strategy.
Hubspot positions themself as an authority figure in the marketing world by using content written by experts, and providing unique offerings to their target market. They are a fantastic example of how a B2B company can be thought leader.
What Is A Thought Leader?
Regardless of what the thought leader does, it’s how the individual provides answers to the world’s biggest questions that matter most.
The History of Thought Leadership
Why Do Thought Leaders Matter?
These individuals are subject matter experts in b2b marketing, social media, technology, entertainment, exercise, and various other important industries and topics. They are innovative and passionate agents of change who have a positive reputation for helping others.
Previous thought leaders include individuals like Harriet Tubman, Aristotle, and Martin Luther King Jr., as these individuals challenged the narrative of society and paved the path for change. Some modern-day thought leaders are content marketing mastermind Seth Godin, Harvard research strategist Theresa M. Amiable, and innovator of tech Elon Musk.
Examples of Thought Leaders
How To Become A Thought Leader
1. Discover Your Why
- What do you daydream about?
- What articles and topics do you spend hours reading?
- What do you find yourself repeatedly wanting to try but think it’s too late to get started, or you’re ill-equipped to do it?
- What do people ask you for advice on?
- What do you have expeirence in?
Once you’ve asked yourself these questions, write down your answers and brainstorm topics. This exercise should give you a list of viable options you can use to start your thought leader journey. From there, narrow down your list of passions to a well-defined area.
If you’re still struggling, visit your book collection, bank statements, and favorite tv shows. Do you notice any common themes among them? You can even layer your findings against career tests like the MAPP to further narrow your list of passions against your skillset.
2. Learn About Your Industry
When you combine your existing knowledge, passions, skills and new comprehension, you become well-rounded in your field. The more you know, the easier it is to think outside of the box and offer unique opinions to other indiviiuals in your sector.
3. Identify Your Niche Market
What is my targret audience’s motive to learn from me?
4. Establish Your Expertise
Get granular with your research. Find other experts in your field and learn how they gain knowledge. Determine how much they make, how they got started, what skills they have. You can even reach out to individuals on Linkedin. Offer to interview them so you can learn about their path to success. This knowledge will help you establish yourself as a thought leader and determine what makes you different from the competition.
5. Create Impactful Thought Leadership Content
While this number probably comes as a staggering shock to most experts, it’s good news for you. If you focus on the type of content you produce, you’ll set yourself apart from the competition. Here are some questions you can ask yourself before creating a new piece of content:
- What emotion do you want your audience to feel when the content is released?
- How can it solve a problem your audience is currently facing?
- What level of authenticity are you creating in your content?
- What research and sources are you using to back up your statements?
Once you ask yourself these questions, set a goal to be clear and concise with your audience. Don’t focus on multiple industries and fields. Hone in on one area of expertise so you can get on your audience’s level.
6. Establish Credibility
One thing we’ve found that helps thought leaders establish themselves and gain momentum in their field is a TEDx Talk. TED Talks are a powerful way to develop yourself and leverage your expert credibility. They are so impactful that the top 25 TED talks have reached over 786 million people on TED’s website alone.
You might be reading this and speculating how you can land such a prominent gig. The good news is, it isn’t as hard as it sounds. We’ve helped over 400 individuals land a Tedx Talk to leverage their power of expertise.
Interested In Giving A Ted Talk?
Sign Up for our FREE Webinar Hosted by TEDx Speaker Taylor Conroy
Creating the Next Generation of Experts
When you discover your passion, educate yourself, and define your market niche, you set yourself up for success. Brands trust thought leaders to develop their strategies and solutions, while people trust them to make educated decisions.
Remember to consider the power focused and impactful content has in keeping your audience engaged and informed. Leverage a TEDx talk to credit your expertise and build your brand. When you leverage your uniqueness against your credible authority on relevant topics, you get nothing short of dynamite.