With so many companies emerging into the business sector with big dreams and unique ways of disrupting various industries, it’s not always enough to simply have great ideas and a business model; nor is it enough to see what works in one industry and attempt to replicate it in another. More and more, entrepreneurs are expected to have some expertise in the fields in which they’re attempting to carve a space for themselves, and expertise doesn’t just come with lots of research. Thought leaders are people who have established themselves as experts in their respective industries, who are well-connected, have trusted ideas, and can act as representatives for their field of interest - for their own businesses, for other business leaders. These thought leaders also speak as experts for the press, adding a personal touch and a vote of confidence in products and services and how these are being used, or how differing products and services can best be improved.
When it comes to being an industry stand-out, those who feel as if they have a lot to say about their particular businesses need to say it. One way to establish more listeners is by producing a podcast or publishing a blog about a topic that the thought leader feels passionately about, but especially if they have the hard earned knowledge and facts about what they are speaking of. By broadcasting their ideas on an accessible platform, they can open up a dialogue with their community and gain expertise through the exchange of thoughts. It takes a while to attract and establish a community of trust with the right people on a certain subject. Becoming an expert in the field takes patience and involves engaging with other industry leaders, reaching out through social media, maintaining a consistent stream of publishing and, most importantly, inspiring people with unique and well-informed opinions. Here’s how you can become a thought leader in your business.
As with anything, it’s better to be the best at something specific, than to be really good at something general. You could be really knowledgeable about cinema, but media professionals are only going to call you for a comment if you’re a leading academic on feminist film theory when the next Grey movie comes out - to mass controversy. The same applies to other aspects of business: if you run a content marketing company, it may well serve you better to double down on SEO, rather than try to tackle all aspects of content analysis. Establish a reputation among influencers in your field If you come from a background of expertise in a field, then you probably know people in the industry. Try to reach out to the people you know, offer to guest post on their blog, invite them to post on yours. Share interesting findings with the experts in your field and engage on social media. Every industry professional has their network of people they know, and it may only takes one great tweet to tap into all of those networks.
Use Your Unique Perspective
The Internet is full of #unpopularopinions and hot-takes these days, but only a few of those opinion pieces are coming from an expert point of view. However, nobody wants to read what they already know (other than to have a quick memory refresh.) The trick to really standing out from the industry is by using your unique perspective and field of knowledge to introduce a fresh element into an old discussion. After all, you don’t want to just parrot information that everybody in your field already knows. By reframing common knowledge into a new context, or thinking outside the box and finding a new angle about your subject, you can inspire people.
Keep Aiming Higher
People who are content with their positions do not stay thought leaders for very long. In the fast-paced digital world, there’s no time to rest on your laurels. Are you getting 100,000 uniques a day? Good - shoot for 300,000. Is your city newspaper calling you for a comment whenever there’s news that relates to your field of expertise? Pitch an op-ed to the New York Times. With so many new thinkers introducing themselves to the market, it becomes absolutely necessary to find new ways to stay relevant. Don’t be afraid to try new things! You'll have to not only be familiar with the new - and the needed - in your field, but you'll also have to become an expert.