What is a Thought Leader?
A thought leader, as defined by google, is “one whose views on a subject are taken to be authoritative and influential.” You cannot become a thought leader, unless you actually share your thoughts. How can people think of your views as authoritative and influential if they don’t know what your views are. If you are to become a thought leader, you must find a way to share your thoughts and be taken as an authority.
Can I be a Thought Leader in Any Topic?
Technically, you can voice your opinions on anything you’re interested in talking about. However, voicing your opinions on every topic under the sun doesn’t mean your views will be taken as authoritative and influential. You should really identify what it is you are most passionate about. What are you actively learning about, or what do you already have a great deal of knowledge in, that you can share with the world? What information can you provide that will beneficially impact or influence your readers?
Five Steps to Identify Your Thought Leadership Content
It can be difficult figuring out what to actually write about [or podcast, video record or whatever means of communication you plan to use]. Many people say, “I need to create content,” then they sit in front of their computer with a blank page and have no idea how to actually get the words to flow. It helps to have a strategy of attack. If you need some help coming up with topics, follow these five steps:
- Identify the category for all your thought leadership content (cooking, fitness, marketing, commercial real estate, etc.)?
- Within that category, identify your top sub-categories (desserts, yoga, search engine optimization, tenant representation, etc.)? You may have multiple sub-categories. If so, list the ones that are of most interest to you.
- Create a list of topics you can talk about, based on those sub-categories. (keywords, meta data, SEO, Google algorithms, headers, backlinks, etc.)
- Create a list of common FAQ questions. (How to get Google to notice your blog posts.)
- Put together some Q&A style items. (Q: What’s meta data? A: blah blah blah)
- List the common industry jargon terms that are often used in your area of interest. (SEO, backlinks, CTA, etc)
- Identify the top 10 piece of advice you would give someone, if you were consulting them. (1. Use headers. 2. Understand how Google works. 3. Etc…)
- Use your list of topics as inspiration for your thought leadership content.
- Start your blog post by introducing what you want to talk about [Read the first paragraph of this blog post if you want an example.].
Get started by writing a summary of what it is you want to write about. I’m talking about the specific topic. Today, I want to write about thought leadership, which is my topic underneath the sub-category of “blogging.” I have decided to explain the fundamentals of being a thought leader. You pick your topic and follow this example. Introduce it and then start explaining it. If it’s something you really care about, it should be fairly easy to get to words to start coming out… once you get started.
Which Comes First, Credibility or Thought Leadership?
Neither! Beneficial content comes first. You aren’t producing crap. You’re actually putting out content that will be valued by your readers. As you create valuable content, you will start to be recognized as a thought leader in your field. As your reputation as a thought leader grows, you will be viewed as more credible. At the same time, as you faithfully put out great content as a thought leader, you will begin to take on more credibility. You aren’t just a short-term self-appointed expert, but rather, you’re loyal to your readers, and regularly provide them valuable content. Both credibility and thought leadership go together, but they are both reliant upon valuable content being produced by you. Don’t wait until you’re a thought leader to start creating content. Don’t wait until you’re recognized as a credible source before you start trying to become a thought leader. Start creating quality content, and the credibility and thought leadership will follow.
This is a successful blog post if it did any of the following:
- It helped you better understand what a thought leader is.
- It gave you a plan of action so you can start creating your own thought leadership content.
- It encouraged you to stop hearing or reading about blogging, and inspired you to start blogging for yourself.
If this blog post helped you in any of the three areas above, please mention it in the comments below. I would appreciate hearing about it. =)
I know it can be difficult to get started, but blogging is a great marketing tool that almost anyone can use to help them with their professional goals. If you’re interested in boosting your business, exposure and credibility, you should very seriously consider writing a blog. If you need help getting started with this, click the image below and let’s find a time to talk.