The phrase “thought leader” has been given a bad connotation by shady internet marketing tactics but it doesn’t have to be. The dictionary defines a thought leader as a person who “is a recognized authority in a particular field and whose ideas influence and guide others.”
The main premise is creating authority in your industry to influence your target audience, and those following what you do as a leader. This indeed can be done in an ethical and authentic way to gather a loyal and engaged audience of potential customers.
Often, service professionals and entrepreneurs chase business opportunities. They seek discovery calls. They follow up with past clients. They deliver sales messages and try to close those who have expressed interest. This is all standard but there’s power in having potential customers consistently coming to you ready to invest in your products and services.
Being a thought leader gives you the authority and brand positioning that brings you business instead of you always having to go after your next deal. If you want to take what you’re already doing and become a thought leader that exposes your skillset to a ready group of buyers, here’s what you need to understand.
Build your online platform.
Being a thought leader means you have a composed presence and structure online. This happens with a website, social media platform presence, and the building of an email list.
A thought leader has a “home base” for their online audience. This allows those who are interested the opportunity to see all the content, products, and services the thought leader offers. We live in the digital Information Age. Thought leaders build an online presence through a composed platform. The new form of a business card is your online platform.
Create a website that showcases your knowledge of what you do, adds value to potential customers through your content, and offers the opportunity for your target audience to do business with you.
Be seen in authority channels.
We have the opportunity to take our services to authority channels all over the internet. Today, thought leaders can get interviewed on podcasts. It allows potential customers and audience members to hear your expertise. You can write content for large authority publications that get millions of readers. You can host online training and conduct joint venture training. You can create content for social media and have it lead back to your platform.
The point is that you need visibility and a plan to build your thought leadership positioning. The good news is that there are many channels and outlets to do so.
Produce focused expert content.
Customers buy from an expert they know, like and trust. That process is started when you add value to your target audience. You do so through the content you produce on your website and eternal channels (such as podcasts, publications, etc).
Your content should address customer pain points, educate your market about opportunities, paint a picture of what’s possible and talk about strategies they can use to achieve their desired result.
Create a theme based content plan to keep your channels and content organized and cohesive. It will also help you use your time creating content be more efficient.
With these foundational elements in place, you can scale your thought leadership platform to its next growth level. That will have a different meaning for each service professional or entrepreneur reading this. The more you create visibility, the more impact and client acquisition potential you can create. You can help more people as you grow.
You should have a strategic plan that allows you to scale. Know what steps you’ll take with each of these foundational elements and then what’s next.
Thought leadership doesn’t have to be a phrase or concept for selling spammy internet marketing programs. It can mean getting more visibility in a composed way that allows you to build and make more.
You can take advantage of the billions of people that use the internet and consume social media every day. They can become followers and some can become customers.