What is a Thought Leader?

19 03 2013

Are you a thought leader?  Do you want to be a thought leader?  Yes, I thought so – walk this way and read on:

 

One way to describe a thought leader is that they are knowledgeable people whom we trust to share information on a given subject.

Some of the key attributes that are required to be a successful thought leader include:

 

  • Original – meaningful /new content
  • New ideas/approach
  • Innovative ideas
  • Create and present content that inspires, challenges or moves the reader/audience

People like hearing about new things.  By adopting a new approach to a given subject, if you challenge the way people consider or learn about a topic, you’ll stand out from the herd.  Work on developing material that is timely, accurate and meaningful to your audience.

Get this right and the final element of a successful thought leader is that you will acquire a following of supporters.  People will seek out your knowledge, request your comment or ask for your guidance because you are a trusted source.  You will be known for having your finger on the pulse at any given time.

There are some easy steps you can take to commence your Thought leader program.  It is not simple to achieve and success does not come to you over night.  It might take 6 months or even 18 months to receive concrete feedback but if you are consistent and contribute to the following model you will win.

IMGP0340Define your goals.

Who do you want to reach/communicate with – who is your target audience?

What topic(s)/issues are you an expert on?

Why do you wish to influence?

 

It may be just a small platform of people or a large global group.  It clearly is simple to commence with a smaller number or group as success will be easy to define.

What method of communication does your target audience use (some may only prefer email, others social media, for some groups newsletters via mail or email is still a valid way to communicate or for others face to face meetings or conference or industry events is important).

The key point is that you need to get your word out.

You need to be consistent and develop information that can be sent out on a regular basis to your target audience.  Choose your mix carefully.

Blogs – better to write one thought provoking/informative article per month than ten badly composed articles each week.  Remember it takes time to build up readership.   Even if you do not usually write articles, it is important to write down your thoughts.  Think of this as an extension of you speaking.  If you do not place material online, your chance at becoming a thought leader will be limited.  If you do not have a blog, submit suitable articles/viewpoints or comment via your company website or via industry online sites.

Like minded.  Seek out other thought leaders in the same industry.  Exchange comment on social media sites and offer links to your articles.   Offer to write articles for online and printed publications.  Contact key editors and let them know about your talent and knowledge.

In the Flesh.  You need to be offline as well as online.  Seek out speaking opportunities at key industry events.   Offer you expertise to conference producers seeking expert speakers or panelists.  Attend key conference and meet as many movers and shakers as possible.

 

 

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