How to become a thought leader

Thought leaders are influential, experienced individuals in an industry, and many aspire to be thought leaders, although many fall short. Thought leaders often become known as thought leaders within their industry by clarifying their area of expertise, boosting industry presence, and building their own personal brand. After developing an established position within an industry, thought leaders are able to inspire and influence others while also offering unique guidance. Here are six ways to become a thought leader in your industry.

Understand your niche and love what you do

Before you become a thought leader, you need to figure out what you’re an expert in. This should be something you have experience with, something you are incredibly passionate and knowledgeable about, and something where you have colleagues and peers. You must accept that you don’t know everything, and that’s OK. In order to be an effective thought leader, you aren’t required to know everything, but you must at least be specific about what it is you do know.

Great thought leaders understand their niche, and they know how to use the intersection of their niche interests and their audience’s interests in order to become a more influential leader. To further understand your niche, your message, and your brand, ask yourself: What do I love? What do my peers find interesting about me? What have I built my life and my career around? What am I passionate about? What fulfills me?

Get experience

You can’t just wake up one day and decide to be a thought leader. It takes hard work, dedication, and determination. It requires you to wake up every morning and be willing to put in 100% in order to get experience, create content, and share your message with others in order to become an established authority. Without gaining the experience necessary within your area of expertise  to establish yourself as an authority, becoming a thought leader in the minds of others can be very difficult.

Be yourself and create content using your own voice

While your expertise can help you and guide you on your way to becoming a thought leader, the rest is up to you. While creating content for your audience, remember to create content that speaks in your personal voice. Build a brand around yourself and others will be attracted to you as a genuine leader in their lives. People in any industry can spot a disengaged voice, ingenuine voice from a mile away. Yes, they will notice your self promotion. You have to drop the self promotion. Thought leadership content can build your brand, but that does not mean you should talk about yourself or your business all the time. Try to create content that informs, excites, or entertains your audience. Above all, be genuine. Your ability to project your own unique personality will set you apart from everyone else in your industry. 

Be Social

Choose the best social media platforms for sharing your content and ideas, and use them consistently to share your content, ideas, entertaining industry related tidbits, and more. Social media can be one of the best ways to appear more genuine, down to earth, just like everyone else, and allow your audience to feel connected to you, as though you are a close friend or peer within the industry. This can result in your audience sharing your content with others, strengthening your status and encouraging your growth as a thought leader. 

Having high engagement from your audience on your posts regularly is a great way to further establish your status as a thought leader, but make sure you are interacting with your audience, as well. If there’s anything you’ve learned thus far, you should definitely understand the importance of not making everything about you. Like and comment on others’ posts consistently. This will help to establish you as an active member of your community, once again allowing you to stay top-of-mind with those in your industry.

You should also interact with other thought leaders, peers, and influencers. By making thoughtful contributions on others’ pages, you will learn from them while boosting your engagement at the same time.

Be consistent

In order to become a thought leader, you need to be remembered. People need to remember you. It’s much more difficult to be remembered if your content and your voice only pop up once in a blue moon. Publishing content regularly is the key to being remembered and staying top-of-mind with your audience. Just providing a few strong pieces of content is not enough to establish yourself, you must continue to create and publish quality content in order to be memorable. Consistency is key with content creation for your brand as a thought leader.

Keep learning by listening to others

Continuing your education is crucial to your success and development as a thought leader. Listening to others is a great way to continue learning, as well as an amazing way to connect with others within your industry, creating a larger network of individuals who may consider you an influential leader within your area of expertise. 

Becoming a thought leader takes determination, hard work, and dedication, but it can be done. Just remember these few tips: Consistency is key, learn from others by listening to them, use your own voice when creating content, be genuine, be social, and get as much experience in your chosen area of expertise as possible. With those tips, you’ll be well on your way to becoming a thought leader!


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