Increase your visibility, reach, audience and ability to earn by discovering your unique area of expertise as a thought leader and sharing it across multiple platforms.
Growing access to online platforms has made it so much easier for individuals like you and me to use our personal brands in order to be positioned as thought leaders, to build online audiences and to ultimately increase revenue-earning opportunities.
A thought leader, or the “go-to expert,” is defined as “an individual or firm recognized as an authority in a specific field … to consistently answer the biggest questions on the minds of the target audience on a particular topic.”
Thought leaders get the opportunities to be invited to speak at events, be a guest on TV shows, radio shows and podcasts, are invited to write columns in local and international publications, host and moderate events and so much more. Thought leaders also get paid for their knowledge/expertise and for bringing more of a unique or different perspective to a topic.
Let’s look at some thought leaders across industries:
Steve Jobs: innovation and technology
Brene Brown: authenticity and vulnerability
Shonda Rhimes: screenwriting and TV
Oprah Winfrey: philanthropy and media
Richard Branson: rule breaker and entrepreneurship (and the list could go on and on)
Each of these thought leaders have done at least five, if not all of the things listed below, but out of everything listed, what they all have in common is a strong personal brand that they were willing to share with the world through multiple platforms.
Your personal brand is the thing that sets you apart from others based on your skills, experience, knowledge, expertise and, of course, your own personal journey. It is about combining all of the above and becoming known for a particular thing. Thought leadership comes when you are consistently sharing your perspective, insight, new thoughts, ideas and trends around this thing, sharing it with others and providing immense value.
Here are 11 ways you could be using your personal brand to become a thought leader or influencer in your industry:
1. Find out what you want to be known for
Ask yourself, “What do I want to be known for?” When people hear or see your name, what are the keywords that you want to come to mind? Think about your personal and professional journey — what are you already known for? How are you different? What new value or insight are you bringing to what can sometimes be a pretty full table?
2. Talk about it
People need to not only know who you are, but what you have to say. It’s great if you are knowledgeable about a particular topic or if you are even the best in a specific area of your industry, but it doesn’t help you or anyone else if you don’t speak about it. We have so many more opportunities to create our own platforms or to reach out directly to others with existing platforms in order for our voices to be heard and to take space. Think about how you could be using your existing platforms to talk more about what you do and how you do it, to share your knowledge, and be an active participant in conversations that impact your industry.
3. Get online
Being online provides an immediate platform and visibility, as well as the opportunity to grow your reach and your online audience while providing value and creating impact. If you have a smart phone you can get online, create a post, record a video, connect and collaborate. Being online levels the playing field and gives you immediate amplification once you are positioning your content to your ideal audience. There are so many online platforms to choose from. Start with the one that you are comfortable with and start sharing.
4. Write a book
Writing a book can provide you with credibility as well as a reference for people to see your work. It serves as your foundation, pulling together all of the knowledge, expertise and experience into a body of work. You can use a publishing house, or you can even self-publish. Writing my first book in 2018, A PR Chick’s Guide To Building Your Personal Brand, was the catalyst for my career as a personal branding coach, trainer and now international speaker. It has also opened the doors to numerous revenue-earning opportunities.
5. Start a podcast or YouTube channel
Ever thought of being the host of your own radio or TV show? Now, you can easily start a podcast or even a YouTube channel that will give you another way to share your thoughts on a particular topic within your industry. Invite other industry leaders, and become the go-to channel for content that you want to be known for.