Updated: Feb 22, 2021
What is a “thought leader” and how can you become one?
Forbes defines a thought leader as:
“An individual or firm that prospects, clients, referral sources, intermediaries and even competitors recognize as one of the foremost authorities in selected areas of specialization, resulting in its being the go-to individual
or organization for said expertise.”
These thought leaders can even benefit a business by attracting clients that want the expertise of the thought leader. Here is where it may seem that a thought leader is an expert, but there is a distinct difference:
An expert focuses on their solutions, a thought leader focuses on their audience, what their needs, desires, and aspirations are.
An expert convinces their audience, a thought leader attracts theirs.
An expert’s goal is to increase their expertise, a thought leader seeks to increase their network.
An expert aspires to knowledge, a thought leader aspires to influence.
LinkedIn is a key platform for these leaders, where they may establish their brand and easily build their network, therefore increasing the reach of their influence amongst connections. To grab their audience, they must empower and inspire their audience and this can be done effectively with two tools combined:
High-quality content is authentic and personal, story-driven, emotion-evoking, and relevant
Good post anatomy seeks to get to the point of the content with in the first two lines, by either making a statement or asking a question, hooking the audiences’ attention. The body of the text should contain a personal opinion, as well as maintaining the correct balance between professional and personal – don’t try to impress, but connect!
Read your analytics to judge what content is popular and to find out the nature of your audience, helping to target them. Think about their needs, aspirations, and goals. What is their demographic and socio-economic position?
Also, look beyond statistics, how does your audience emotionally react?
Ongoing metrics can help to shape your strategy – which posts are most engaged with?
The world of content marketing has moved beyond the days of content marketing 1.0 - selling content, and content marketing 2.0 - sharing content. Now marketers should move into the era of content marketing 3.0 - using their content to become thought leaders to attract their audience to their products and business!
Do you think you are more of a thought leader or an expert? Would you like to become a thought leader?
For some great articles on thought leadership see Susanne Biro's blog