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How To Become a Thought Leader In Your Industry

by Chelsea Rosine | May 10, 2019
How to Be a Thought Leader While thought leadership may seem like just another buzzword, there are many benefits that come with being seen as an expert in your field. Becoming the trusted source in your community and industry will take time, but with this roadmap, you can be seen as a credible name in your industry and help others along their career journeys.

Find Your Voice

First, you will want to find a voice that is genuine and true to yourself. Take an honest analysis of yourself and your personality. If the content you are putting out does not reflect who you are, then people will be less likely to follow you. Some people are naturally lighthearted and motivating while others are more serious or authoritative. No matter your personality, choosing an appropriate voice will give you more consistent interactions and let those in your network truly get to know you.

Use your voice often and consistently. You will have to find a content creation and posting style that works for you. If you have a 9-5 job, you could create content during your lunch break to share the next morning. If you are a weekend warrior, you could spend your weekdays at networking events to establish yourself in the community or join volunteer programs that use your skills. No matter your work schedule, it’s important to set aside time to create your content.

Bring Value to Your Followers


Use your voice to bring value to your followers. Whether it be knowledge or motivation, your followers want to apply your message to their lives. A thought leader doesn’t just take existing information and state it in a new way. A thought leader will find new topics with refreshing outlooks that others may not have thought of before.

To create thought-provoking content, educate yourself deeply on the topics you’d like to talk about. You will need to have more than just a surface level understanding of basic principles. When reading articles from other thought leaders, make sure to ask yourself “why?”. When you create content about the “why” of a topic rather than the “what”, you’re looking deeper into a subject and perhaps creating a new narrative that has not been shared before. It’s important to always remain factual and present accurate information, but don’t be afraid to add your own narrative.

Determine Your Medium

There are many different mediums you can use to share your content. First, you’ll want to decide who would benefit the most from your content. If you are aiming to be a professional thought leader, other professionals in your industry will likely be your target audience. Or, you can break this segment down even further by tailoring your content to reach other demographics based on age, career stage, or gender.

A must-have medium for sharing your content should be a blog. Most thought leaders have a blog on their own website or guest blog for other sites and publications. The written word has shareability and accessibility to broad audiences. Other mediums you might consider are podcasts, videos, social media, newspaper, magazines, or even digital advertisement. Choose the mediums you are comfortable using and always make sure to research the best practices.

Get Into Your Community


Professional thought leaders are often active in their communities. Your community can be geographic such as the city you live in or based on affinities such as professional organizations. To be a thought leader, it’s important to network with those in your chosen community and support those with similar goals as yourself. Building credibility and trust in your community can grow your network as well as give you the opportunity to learn from others about subjects you are interested in.

One way to get involved in your community is to join a professional organization that meets face to face. These interactions often build the most trust and create a network of professionals to share ideas with. You could also volunteer for a cause you feel strongly about to reflect upon in your content. For example, if you are a thought leader in the insurance industry and often write about working with the elderly, you may consider volunteering at a retirement center. If you own a local business, make sure to get outside to meet your neighbors to grow lifelong bonds with friends and potential customers.

Establishing yourself as a professional thought leader does not happen overnight and requires you to create relevant content and form lasting connections with your network. Although it will take work, the rewards of thought leadership are plentiful. Take the first step in becoming a thought leader by aligning yourself as an expert in your field with continuing education courses from WebCE.

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