Unlocking the Benefits of Thought Leadership
Whatever your industry, there are some voices that you cannot ignore. When an industry leader tweets or blogs, you will drop what you are doing and pay attention. You may not always agree with the person’s conclusions, but you will take them seriously. This kind of influence demonstrates the power of thought leadership.
What is thought leadership?
The definitions of thought leadership vary. Thought leaders are often social media influencers, but they are not primarily concerned with self-promotion. They are experts in their fields, but they garner more attention than the average analyst or researcher.
Thought leaders have a reputation for sharing new ideas and predicting trends. Although they have an expansive knowledge of an industry’s past and its current state, they are predictive voices that point out the direction of the industry. When businesses want insight into the future, they will turn to the valued opinions of thought leaders.
The Benefits of Thought Leadership
Being regarded as a thought leader brings several advantages. Thought leaders regularly share content through blogs, articles and speaking engagements. If you engage in these practices, you have already created a relationship with potential clients. They know your voice and way of thinking, and they will have respect for your opinion.
As you grow as a thought leader, it will become easier to make connections. Industry leaders will look to you for opinions and advice. These relationships will benefit everyone involved.
Secrets to Developing as an Influential Thinker
All definitions of thought leadership give priority to the act of thinking. People expect this person to add valuable content to industry discussions. Before you become a thought leader, you must learn to develop creative ideas.
Know Your Niche
It is difficult to be a generalist and a thought leader. In most industries, there is too much information for any one person to follow. Find the portion of your market that you are most passionate about and put your focus there. As you develop relationships with other leaders, your ideas will make connections across the industry.
Education is essential to this path. People trust your voice because you can demonstrate your expertise. You will need to spend time looking for the latest information about your niche.
Develop Your Point of View
As a thought leader, people are not seeking you out simply because of what you know. Online research will give them the information they need. They are looking for someone who can put the pieces of the puzzle together. While you will use data to inform and support your point of view, people look to deep thinkers for their ability to share a vision.
To become an industry leader, you must gain the respect of other industry leaders. In the early stages, you will want other leading thinkers to cite your content. They are more likely to follow you if you have made a point to connect with them at conferences or through social media.
Secrets to Engaging in Thought Leadership
Thought leadership must be more than deep thinking. If your innovative ideas never make it off your desk, you may be a thinker or a dreamer, but you are not a leader.
Consider Practical Applications
You have combed through the industry literature and developed a new way to think about your niche. Now you must consider the practical applications. How can a business owner put your ideas to work beneficially? When you share your thoughts, it is a good practice to include steps for implementation.
Model Your Approach
If you are an entrepreneur, your business can be a laboratory for practical innovation. Explain the nature of your experiment to your team members so that they can share feedback about new processes or organizational changes. This will not only help you refine your ideas but will also encourage a culture of innovative thinking in your workplace.
Develop Regular Content
Regular content is the main way that thought leaders share information. With online publishing forums like eBooks, blogs and social media, it is easy to get your thoughts into the world.
However, being recognized as a thought leader takes time. It may take a series of blog posts or articles before people start paying attention outside your local area. Developing a regular publishing schedule will create a sense of anticipation in your audience.
Invite, Don’t Sell
In several surveys, top business leaders have shared their opinions about online content. Their common desire is to read innovative thoughts that are specific to their industries. They will skip past generic copy that does not add anything new.
Self-promotion is another issue. As soon as the article becomes focused on the author, they will set it aside. As a thought leader, your opinions and vision are your calling card. When you share information that gives value to the reader, the content will market itself.
Growing as a Leading Thinker
What is thought leadership? It is turning your passion and knowledge into valuable industry insights. If you are looking for ways to improve your thinking process or share your ideas, contact the Productivity Intelligence Institute. I would be thrilled to work with you and help you unlock the benefits of thought leadership.