Thought Leadership Strategy: How to Influence in 4 Steps

A thought leader is someone who uses their expertise in a given field to help others. But it’s also more complicated than that—having a good thought leadership strategy doesn’t mean you can just decide one day that you are a thought leader because you know a lot about your craft. You must first gain credibility with your audience. You have to be considered a solid source of information within your business niche.

The way things used to be before the internet gave everyone a platform if they wanted one, thought leaders had to publish in trade magazines and speak at conferences in order to build their reputations. Now, literally anyone can try to become a thought leader in their local and niche communities, and anyone in business should really consider doing just that.

If you want to become a thought leader, start working on these four steps today.

Develop a Personal Brand

Developing a personal brand is a critical part of any thought leadership strategy. Without a personal brand, your audience won’t have a face or a set of values to go along with the credentials you’ve worked to build over the years. Your personal brand can also go a long way to bolster your marketing messages and social media presence, both of which are critical components of the modern business.

Share Your Thoughts on a Blog

To find out what your personal brand is, you need to start sharing your thoughts with people, and the best place to do that if you want to reach a wide audience is on your business blog. It might be difficult at first, but as you continue working on your thought leadership strategy, writing, and interacting with your audience, you’ll be able to find your voice and what you want your business to stand for. Begin by writing about topics within your industry that create obstacles for your clients and peers. If you can help others solve those problems, they’ll come back for more.

Begin within a Niche, Then Expand

It can be tempting to try and cover every problem facing your industry, but that’s a mistake. You might think that if you cover a topic that has a wide reach that you’ll be able to help more people, but the truth is that your voice will be lost in the crowd. So start by identifying a specific part of your industry. Once you have a niche that no one else is covering, you can start working toward dominating that niche. Once you are an authority in that area, try expanding your reach to others.

Say Something New

There’s nothing wrong with taking information that you’ve learned and packaging it to fit your audience’s needs. In fact, that’s what your audience wants—the best advice in easy-to-digest chunks. But your thought leadership strategy should help you stand out from your competition, too. To do that, you’re going to have to come up with some ideas that no one else is talking about. You need to say things that are going to make people think in a new way.

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