5 Steps to Becoming a Thought Leader — People First Content
If you’ve spent any amount of time on LinkedIn over the last few years, you’ve undoubtedly come across some thought leaders. They’re the people who share their advice, expertise, and wisdom with an audience.
Thought leaders don’t just hang out on LinkedIn, however. They’re on podcasts, speaking at conferences, and posting articles on other outlets, like Forbes or Entrepreneur.
Their names become synonymous with whatever they are talking about. There are thought leaders for nearly every business niche, from entrepreneurship to marketing, finance, strategy, startup culture, investing, etc.
Because they are known for their expertise in a specific niche, thought leaders are tapped for speaking engagements and promotional opportunities. They also become increasingly appealing to investors and clients who want to work with only the best in the field.
When you’re casually scrolling on LinkedIn, it might seem like thought leaders appear out of nowhere with all the correct answers and best connections.
The truth is that it takes work to become a thought leader. We know because we’ve worked with several thought leaders and have gotten a rare behind-the-scenes look at what goes into it.
Here’s what you need to do.
Step 1: Be Authentic
We’ve all come across “those” thought leaders who write a lot of words without really saying anything. Their messages lack substance and include way too many long words. They seem to love hearing themselves speak, even if they don’t make sense.
Worst of all, they don’t participate in the conversation in the comments section, seeming to prefer instead to let their followers fight amongst themselves.
That’s not the type of thought leader you should aim to be.
Instead, you want to be an authentic thought leader whom people can see as a real human being. The most successful thought leaders position themselves as experts without being arrogant. They can answer questions from their followers with poise and grace and admit when they don’t have all the answers.
So, before you get started writing or publishing any type of content, commit to only showing your true, authentic self. Be OK with being raw and imperfect. That’s how you will gain a following of people who trust you and your expertise.
Step 2: Pick Your Platform
Next, you need a way to get your ideas out into the world! As mentioned before, is an excellent platform for sharing your thoughts with an audience. Don’t worry if you only have a handful of followers now. Your audience will grow as you continue to publish content.
Of course, there are other platforms for sharing your ideas. For example, I highly recommend starting a blog . If you have a website, you can add a blog section. You can also create a profile on a free platform, like Medium , where you can grow your audience. You can cross-post on your business blog and Medium to get an extra boost in traffic.
Step 3: Choose Your Niche
The thought leaders who stand out the most are those who zero in on a particular aspect of their business. So, what do you want to be known for? Spend some time thinking carefully about this. Look at other thought leaders in your industry to see where you can offer a unique vantage point.
Don’t worry about running out of content ideas by getting specific. Defining your niche gives you space to go deep into subtopics instead of staying surface-level. That’s where the real magic happens.
Step 4: Create Consistent Content
Now comes the most challenging part for many people — creating content.
Hopefully, you already have some ideas of what you want to say. The next step is to get those ideas down on paper. Some people have an easier time writing short, 300-word LinkedIn posts, while others (present company included) prefer getting ideas down 1,000 words at a time.
Whatever your preference, the key is just to start writing. If you’re writing a blog post, make sure to optimize it before you hit “publish.”
Next, stick to a pace you can keep up with. That might mean publishing one blog post a week or two blog posts a month. It could mean getting on LinkedIn every day or doing it twice a week. I recommend setting a pace you can consistently keep up with and then adding on once you have a healthy backlog of content.
We’ve put together a list of essential tools that can help you create content. Even with them, though, it’s critical to remember that you’re not going to hit it out of the park every time.
Sometimes you’ll feel overwhelmed with the amount of engagement you get. Other times, you’ll hear crickets. I can promise you that every thought leader has dealt with a deafening silence now and again. The important thing is to take that as an opportunity to reframe your narrative rather than reading it as a sign that you should give up.
After a few months of consistent posting, you’ll have some metrics that can help you decide what content your audience loves. The more you publish, the more data you’ll get, and the easier it will be to create content that gets engagement.
Step 5: Repurpose Ideas for Bigger Gains
The great thing about content marketing is that you can repurpose content for different reasons. For example, you might start with short LinkedIn posts that turn into blog posts. A few blog posts might turn into a lead magnet . A lead magnet could turn into a longer e-book that you sell online or give away at conferences.
And, of course, all of these types of content can be used in an .
All it takes is one idea to spiral into all kinds of content that can be used for different purposes.
Looking to Become a Thought Leader? Let’s Talk
One challenge thought leaders face is finding the time to create content that gets shared with the world. Fortunately, you don’t have to give up on your goal of becoming a thought leader because you’re out of time to create content.
Instead, set up a time to talk to the experts at People First Content. We can help you publish your message using your ideas, tone, and voice. We’ve worked with thought leaders from across the business community and would love the opportunity to work with you.
Schedule a call to get started!