Do you wish to become a hotcake, the most sought after person in your industry?
Well, you are not alone.
Everyone want to be known, be taken serious, and be respected for something.
I know this because it is exactly what I yearn for as a person and as an online entrepreneur.
The question that however begs an answer is; how do I promote my brand effectively to quickly rise to become a household name and get even more clients to work with?
The simple answer is to embrace Thought Leadership as a means to grow your business exponentially.
Thought Leadership is a catchphrase amongst content marketers and it is the most essential factor of content marketing. If you would start a successful online business today, what you need to do is simply to embrace Thought Leadership.
In this article, I will share with you everything you need to know about Thought Leadership; what it is, why it is important for you to use it as a leverage for your business and the steps involve to get it right.
So what is Thought Leadership?
Cambridge Dictionary defined Thought Leadership as “An expert on a particular subject whose ideas and opinions influence other people, especially in business.”
Thought Leaders International also said, “Thought Leadership is establishing a relationship with and delivering something of value to your stakeholders and customers that align with your brand/company value. In the process, you go well beyond merely selling a product or service and establish your brand /company as the expert in that field and differentiate yourself from your competitors.”
Jeanine Moss also wittily stated, “Thought Leadership is the ability to aggregate followers around ideas to educate, influence and inspire.”
Rolf Jester emphatically submitted, “The giving—for free or at a nominal charge—of information or advice that a client will value so as to create awareness of the outcome that a company’s product or service can deliver, in order to position and differentiate that offering and stimulate demand for it.”
Tom Paul also opined, “To be a company that exemplifies thought leadership, you need to have an idea engine, a concept forge, AS WELL AS an outward-leaning communication stance combined with a desire to raise the playing field – a capability to not only learn new things, to not only discover them for the first time, but to educate others – selflessly.”
Chris Koch said, “Thought leadership is a way to build a relationship with prospects based on knowledge—not on products and services.”
Craig Badings and Liz Alexander both shared their wisdom when they said, “Thought leaders are brave; explore areas others don’t, raise questions others won’t, and provide insights others can’t.”
Daniel Rasmus thoughtfully penned, “Thought leadership should be an entry point to a relationship. Thought leadership should intrigue, challenge, and inspire even people already familiar with a company. It should help start a relationship where none exists, and it should enhance existing relationships.”
Steve Pell contributed too by saying, “Thought leadership = crazy ideas + inevitability”.
In a nutshell, Thought leadership is a prominent way to market yourself as an expert by sharing powerful contents that resonate with your readers/audience in a way that makes them do what they otherwise wouldn’t do but will affect their lives positively and make them achieve positive results.
Why is it important to embrace Thought Leadership?
Thought leadership is important and it is a key component of content marketing. As business owners, there is a huge need for you to communicate, network with your customers, build awareness about your service or products and make sales.
In the business world today, it is difficult to make ROI by simply slapping ads on readers’ faces and expect them to take action.
Hence, to achieve a result you have to be willing to become part of the process, to be human and connect deeply with your prospective buyers. They have to feel important and loved. You have to show them that they mean the world to you, even more than the money they are going to pay you.
The only way you’d be able to achieve this is to simply embrace thought leadership and start sharing your processes; the stories of how you started your business, how you help people, what the people you’ve helped are saying, your failures, the turning point, secrets to succeeding in your industry, the myths about running business in your industry.
Whatever you are sharing, make sure it’s deep and that it connects with your readers. You have to be able to emotionalize them into loving, trusting and willing and ready to buy from you.
In a nutshell, Thought Leadership is important in building a reputable brand that thrives in the marketplace.
Now, let’s take you through the process and ways to become a Thought Leader in your industry, one that everyone will love and respect and would love to do business with or hire to coach them.
1: Become a brand ambassador
Becoming a Thought leader involves become a brand ambassador.
By brand ambassador, I mean you should become someone who is visible and whose knowledge is worth paying for.
People can’t pay you to coach them, hire to work on their project or pay you to speak at their events if you haven’t proven to them by constantly showing up online to freely share your awesomeness.
By “sharing your awesomeness”, I mean delivering content to your target markets in a text, video, and infographical forms.
When you do this effectively, you would have succeeded in selling yourself, thereby becoming a brand ambassador.
2: Think differently from everyone else
Thought Leaders are critical thinkers.
They are people with BIG guts.
They don’t always care about what people think or are doing.
They always dared to be different.
A long time ago, I read a book titled, “Dare to be an Eagle”.
In that book, I learned all the character-traits of the Eagle bird: It’s a cute sight to which it spots her prey, the legacy of which she leaves for her offspring, but most importantly, Eagles don’t flock with other birds, she simply love and enjoys flying at her high altitude. This is what makes her unique. She will never surrender to the size or strength of its prey. She dares to be different.
I love that Warren Buffett’s quote: “Be fearful when others are greedy, and be greedy when others are fearful.”
To become a thought leader that people will love, respect and root for, you must be willing and ready to head in a direction that’s different and maybe entirely opposite to where the crowd is now headed.
Thought Leaders are most times controversial in that they make certain predictions that people are scared of and don’t hope to happen. In most cases, these predictions always come through.
3: Network like your life depends on it.
Networking with people is one of the ways to build followership as a Thought Leader.
Relationships are the highest need in the world.
People want and like to relate with people they feel will listen to them.
A guy would love to go on a hot date with a hot girl.
A student would love to share his worries and doubts with his/her teacher.
As entrepreneurs, we love to meet people, exchange talks relating to business and that will eventually to business opportunity.
All these, my friend, are traces of networking.
And to be successful in whatever business you are into, you have to be committed to networking as though your life depended on it.
There’s a catchphrase I love and love to share whenever I discuss the subject of Relationship Building: “Your network is your net-worth.”
The more you connect with people, the more you open yourself to the chances of accelerating your income, thereby growing your business to the point where it becomes extremely successful.
So whatever you do, friends, be willing to connect and network because it is a key component of becoming a successful Thought leader.
Highly Recommended: NEWSJACKING – 21 WAYS TO BE SURE YOU’RE DOING IT RIGHT
4: Give public speeches
I love attending and speaking at seminars and conferences in my locale and interstates.
But it was not always like that. I realized only recently the importance of giving public speeches and it has indeed helped in growing my business as a Digital Marketer and a business consultant.
When you give public speeches, you position yourself as an expert, as someone whose thoughts and opinions are out of the world and usually, people will always love to cluster around you to learn from you, especially when you are good.
5: Get published often
Thought Leaders shares thoughts, that’s why we call them “Thought Leaders”.
If you would become a successful Thought leader, you will need to embrace writing and publishing on different channels, such as blogs, print magazines, and of course, publish your own book/ebook.
These are the 5 easy ways to become a Thought Leader in any industry. Do them and you will notice an increase in your follower and client base.
Over to you
What does Thought Leadership mean to you? Are you willing to practice any of these steps? Do you have any other point to share with me?
This is a Guest post of Sam Adeyinka
Read more about Sam here >How To Go Through Tough Times But Never Give Up