To command the lion's share of your niche market, you ought to place yourself as the go-to person that your audience relies upon whenever they require an expert's opinion.
The worst thing you could do for your business or personal brand is to appear like an unqualified newbie.
That would be a case of internet suicide, and you might as well pack up shop and skip town!
What Is Thought Leadership?
Thought leadership essentially means becoming the only player in the field among all your competitors.
You need to be the first person that pops up in the minds of your prospects whenever they have to solve any of their most critical pain points.
They tought to view you as the only thought leader with the power to carry them to their proverbial promised land, no matter what.
You can only do this if you successfully create a strong industry presence.
Once you gain the trust of your audience, they'll rush to seek your expert opinion at the slightest inconvenience without giving it a second thought.
10 Steps To Becoming a Thought Leader
Becoming a respected thought leader does not just happen overnight. It calls for sheer hard work, strategic planning and meticulous execution.
The step-by-step thought leadership strategy described below will obliterate all other business leaders in your niche.
If used in the right chronology, these 10 steps will establish credibility for your overall brand and help you build relationships with other users in your industry.
Establish Your Area of Expertise
A good starting point is to let people know your particular area of expertise from the get-go and then stick to it like glue. Let it be the sole basis of all your activities online.
You will need to create your own blog upon which you'll build a powerful personal brand.
As you set up your blog, optimize it for search by leveraging all the relevant keywords in your niche to ensure you become highly visible within your industry.
Any blog that's worth its salt serves to nurture its target audience through high-quality content.
Address every burning question your audience has, and always provide them with new ideas.
Boost engagement on your blog by picking topics that are conversation starters.
Each topic should be discussed in a single blog post, to provide your readers with the utmost value.
Every blog post ought to educate your prospects and inspire them to have confidence in you as a certified expert and thought leader.
Expound on Your Area of Specialty
You need to speak, almost obsessively, regarding the most urgent matters within your respective field to position yourself as an authority.
Take advantage of emerging trends in your industry and create an aura of first-to-arrive at all times.
Always being among the first to weigh in on breaking news and emerging trends places you highly among your audience's go-to experts.
Remember, news exposés always stir up a lot of fuss and attract massive attention - this is your chance to shine.
Airing your expert opinion on such issues helps you stand out among the endless sea of self-proclaimed gurus within your niche, increasing your brand awareness.
It also channels near-endless traffic to your blogs. Use such opportunities to provide factual and beneficial information to your audience once they come into your world.
Most people will tend to gain trust in you after you build a good reputation.
So always provide original content with impactful knowledge to gain influence.
Create a Rock-solid Online Presence
The internet is full of garbage, scammers, self-proclaimed gurus, and endless dopamine hits at every turn.
Skepticism is more rampant now than ever before since not everyone who claims to be an expert even understands their area of specialization.
To become a recognized thought leader, you must position yourself as the measuring stick against which all the rest shall be judged by having a solid online presence.
Your best bet is to provide factual, accurate and measurable information in large enough volumes and high enough frequency to drown out all the noise and fluff.
Using your blog as your only content marketing channel is like bringing a kitchen knife to a gunfight.
It just doesn't cut it. You need more!
Martial as many channels as possible to attract enough attention for you to command a large enough market share.
You need to infiltrate and dominate as many applicable social media platforms as you can.
Apply the best social media strategies to drag your competition into the deep oceans, while building your own community.
About 82% of all global internet traffic from last year came from video content.
It's therefore very important that you start a professional Youtube channel and publish all your written content in video format.
Humans are hard-wired to relate to stories on a deeply personal level.
So get off your high horse and occasionally come down to the level of your audience by sharing your story, to help them relate better with your business.
Find an intriguing and incredibly entertaining way to narrate your life experience, detailing exactly how you became the expert you are today.
Our minds naturally gravitate toward the hero archetype. Stories will always draw in your target audience in their numbers.
The logic behind storytelling is that it gives hope to your audience by inspiring the individual to believe they can ultimately slay their own proverbial dragons.
Stories inherently build trust and enable your audience to relate to you on and individual level, thus drawing in more people to your business.
If they can trust you, they can definitely buy your products and pay for your services!
Ensure you express uniqueness in every message you put out there.
Being unique offers your readers and blog visitors a reason to turn into followers since it creates the impression that you could be the only voice of reason amidst all the noise.
Defying the status quo and taking on your approach also gives your company a unique selling point that you could leverage to boost sales.
It also goes a long way toward building your brand.
Your authenticity gives your customers, viewers and followers the ability to separate you from the herd.
Remain Self Critical at All Times and Always Seek To Improve
Ideas often change, and you should always incorporate new information into your operations.
Constantly seek to eliminate every limiting factor to your growth.
Changing for the better solidifies your prospects' trust in you once they see that you are capable of taking up better alternatives after identifying your own faults.
It instinctively sends them a message that they can trust you to eradicate their shortcomings, or at least guide them toward self-improvement.
Get Onto the Big Stage
Seek out any new opportunities for you to attend speaking engagements and industry conferences.
You should also prioritize making appearances on well-recognized media such as TV.
Use these opportunities to give advice regarding the most urgent issues and latest news and to debunk the greatest myths surrounding your niche.
Taking on the biggest stage on all available media further increases your credibility and boosts your authority.
Speaking at recognized platforms rubber stamps your competence and consequently cements you among the top thought leaders within your niche.
Network With Prominent Figures Within Your Industry
Take advantage of any industry events that gather the crème de la crème in your niche and brainstorm with them.
Use these networking events to show your followers that you are more qualified than the already-recognized thought leaders and take your place at the top of the pecking order.
Even if you don't manage to outshine them, no pressure!
Your target market will still consider you a thought leader in your respective field once you start swimming with the big fish.
Such a reputation will, at the very least, help you piggyback on their already-earned authority and place you at the top.
Get Author Credits From Recognized Authorities in Your Industry
Consider writing guest posts for thought leaders with higher authority.
In addition to writing on their blogs, attend their podcasts and contribute immense value to the listeners.
Your brand will receive recognition from credible sources, which increases your influence.
Networking increases your traffic greatly and attracts more clients, which is especially beneficial to entrepreneurs who are trying to establish themselves among the competition.
Solidify your place as a thought leader by helping other people attain their goals.
One of the most practical ways of doing it is by offering free training to beginners. You could hold conferences and provide courses to share your knowledge.
It is also important that you provide the community with some of the best-kept secrets in your industry that have helped you succeed thus far. Especially those that other experts don't want them to know.
Build Industry Presence and Become a Sought-after Thought Leader in Your Industry
Thought leadership plays an integral part in building the reputation of your company. Putting in the work to become a thought leader in addition to your day-to-day business operations is painstaking work.
It's therefore best that you find an experienced and qualified expert to do all the heavy lifting and turn you into an unrivaled authority within your niche.