What is a Thought Leader and Do You Want to be One?

Thought LeadershipWhen I first started in the public relations business, I heard the term “Thought Leader” and kind of smugly laughed it off. My young PR guy brain believed it to be a euphemistic term for being influential, or a concept bandied about primarily in MBA classrooms. Today, I’m wiser (at least a little) and now completely understand the concept and believe it offers a great marketing opportunity for executives.

What is it?

“A thought leader is an individual or firm that is recognized as an authority in a specialized field and whose expertise is sought and often rewarded.” Source: Wikipedia, which coincidentally can help you become one.

Next, sounds like a good thing, do I want to be one?

You do and for several reasons: 1) Being a thought leader distinguishes you and sets you apart from your competitors. 2) It adds credibility and name recognition. 3) It brings you new opportunities, which might be new business or marketing-related. 4) It helps keep you on the top of your game. Once you become a thought leader, you have to nurture it and continue to build upon it.

How do you become one?

Develop a strategy to build your profile which includes defining your niche, identifying tactics to build your profile, executing your plan and merchandising the results. For many, it starts with publishing, but it can be almost any type of publishing: writing a blog, submitting articles to trade publications, producing short videos, etc. The tactics can feed off each other and lead to larger projects like webinars, media interviews or hosting a podcast. The key is developing a workable plan with reasonable steps and goals.

What does it reap?

Thought leadership builds name recognition and credibility which can lead to new opportunities. Thought leaders become go-to sources in their industries which creates chances to be a source of expert commentary on a national scale, interviews and speaking engagements. And if you do it right, you can see big opportunities like paid speaking engagements, a book deal or even that Wikipedia page.

If building thought leadership is part of your marketing plan or a long-term goal, let’s talk about it. If you want to put in the work, we can get you there.

–John

Like it or hate it? Leave a reply...we can take it.