Strategies of Great Thought Leadership
By Shana Starr, CEO, Bastion Elevate
Do you have something to say about a topic you are well versed in? If so, you could become an influential thought leader in your field of expertise. Thought leaders are CEOs, businesswomen, entrepreneurs, and individuals who have something to say and know how to say it. Thought leaders are respected for their knowledge and expertise. Thought leadership is important to individuals and to businesses because it creates opportunities to spread awareness about a company while developing a personal brand, influence and credibility. Just like building a business, becoming a recognized thought leader requires dedication and strategy. Here are five strategies to help you employ a strong thought leadership campaign: Purpose. The most successful thought leaders have a purpose and a clear definition of what they want to accomplish. They also understand the time and dedication it will take to become influential. Before embarking on a thought leadership program, you need to think about your goals and what you want to achieve. Do you want recognition? Do you want to earn credibility and respect from your peers? From the public? Do you want to offer advice and help people? Figure out your purpose and why becoming a thought leader is important to you. Then build a strategy to support that purpose and your goals. Identify your voice. Thought leaders have a strong, identifiable and distinct voice that sets them apart from others. Their voice is their brand and their audience knows exactly what they stand for and what to expect from them. Most importantly, they don’t stray from their brand identity and look for opportunities to make it even stronger. If you want to develop a strong voice and brand, ask yourself: What are my values? What do I stand for? What can I offer that isn’t obvious? What can people learn from me? Be clear and concise about your voice, what you stand for, what you want to say and make sure that everything you do and say aligns with that. Remember to stay true to who you are, because the most successful thought leaders are authentic. Writing. One of the defining characters of thought leaders is their ability to effectively communicate their expertise and knowledge to their audience. A great way to get your thoughts and experience noticed is by writing contributed articles, op-eds and blog posts. This allows you to be a part of the conversation, establish your voice, demonstrate your expertise and contribute to the dialogue. Writing gives you the opportunity to not only demonstrate your abilities but to also earn credibility with your audience and other thought leaders in your industry. Do you have advice and tips for other entrepreneurs? Can you provide lessons that you learned while creating and running your business? Figure out how you can use your experience and background into a learning opportunity for others and start writing! Active online presence. Great thought leaders have mastered the art of sharing and getting their message and brand out there. A good way to promote advice and tips is to actively share them on social media platforms. A great thought leader understands how instrumental social media is in developing their voice and looks for opportunities and groups to join to use different platforms to talk about their expertise and be a part of the relevant conversations. Building an active online presence requires a social media strategy that allows optimal brand exposure and opportunities to actively connect with different audiences. Therefore, you need to provide relevant and interesting content, actively engage with users, ask questions, and offer your feedback and insight on Twitter and Facebook. Establish your credibility, offer your expertise and make yourself within reach by participating in discussions on Reddit, Quora and LinkedIn. Be strategic about your social profiles and always look for opportunities to build your brand and spread your message. Mentoring. Great thought leaders have strong ideas that live on through the legacy of people they have influenced and helped out. They understand the importance of becoming a mentor and shaping the next generation of leaders in their field. They want to share their experiences, their lessons and knowledge so that the next generation will continue in their footstep. Do you remember how much of an impact your mentor had on your life? They influenced who you are today as an entrepreneur and how you run your business. You are filled with vast experience, lessons and a wealth of knowledge that you could share with someone to make an impact on their life and on your own. Great thought leaders are influential and impact the trajectory of popular topics and conversations. They have the respect of their peers and the public and use their credibility to build direction that others can benefit from. They understand the importance of building a sphere of influence and being recognized as an expert. Most importantly, thought leaders look for strategies to strengthen their position and share it with others.
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