Make an Impact: 5 Steps to Becoming a Thought Leader in Your Industry

Business.com / Careers / Last Modified: February 22, 2017

Becoming a thought leader in your industry is a process, one that shouldn't be taken lightly. Here are five steps to get you started.

Being a thought leader in your industry can open the door to many opportunities.

You are the one with the new ideas, driving innovation, and a respected expert in your field.

Achieving this is not easy; it definitely takes work. However, you can do it with some work and attention to detail.

These five steps will get you started on your path to making an impact in your industry and becoming a thought leader.

Related Article:Time to Shine: Brand Yourself as a Thought Leader in Your Industry

Create Your Own Personal Brand

Your personal brand is at the heart of virtually every professional decision that you make. Before you do anything you need to first hammer out your brand. The first step in building your brand is to decide what that looks like. Then begin restructuring and enhancing your social media profiles.

  1. What is your area of expertise?
  2. What is your brand personality?
  3. What is your brand's strategy?
  4. And what is your brand's voice?

Answering these hard questions will allow you to craft your story that will resonate with your audience. Try to combine experience and expertise to conceive your core message. Always show and don't tell.

Next, establish a personal blog or company blog, keep it consistent with the brand you have defined, and update it often. Your goal here is to make yourself synonymous with the elements of your brand.

Build a Solid Online Presence

We live in a digital age so when creating your brand and establishing yourself as a thought leader, a robust online presence is a must. If you don’t have a presence on social media, now is the time to get one. Keep it up to date with your experience, awards, public speaking engagements, and other accomplishments. Each profile should point back to your company website and your blog.

Your blog will be the crux of your online presence so you need to give it all the TLC you can. If you don’t have time, make time. Hire a ghostwriter, get help with outlining your posts, do whatever it takes to maintain your blog with regular posts that provide value and are well optimized.

The key to consistent publishing is to create an editorial calendar to manage all the articles that you will publish, plus schedule the social media promotions that will boost it's shareability.

Related Article:In a Content Marketing Rut? Tailor Your Content to Your Customers’ Interests

There is no shortage of templates available online to manage your editorial. Whether you choose to go with a spreadsheet or digital calendar, the goal is to accomplish the following:

  • Provide a place to generate article ideas and key topics
  • Allow you to assign writing tasks to your team
  • Let you create a publishing schedule with ease
  • Act as a communication hub between you and your team

Not all content is created equal. There are different types of content that resonate better than others. A content calendar gives you and your team a framework to better reach and build trust with your audience.

Recognize the Power of Mobile Marketing

When you consider that texting is the most used application on a smartphone and that text messages have a 98 percent open rate (compared to a 20 percent open rate for email) it is easy to see that SMS marketing can be a powerful tool.

People are now using their smartphones and other digital devices to access the internet and it is surpassing computer use. Cyber Monday 2015 was the biggest sales day for E-commerce in the U.S., blowing past another sales record; Black Friday 2015.

Stats showed that people were using their mobile devices to research products, shop, and make purchases. Digital is king and it doesn’t look like it will be dethroned anytime soon. The faster you get on that bandwagon and fully utilize mobile marketing, the more effective you will in establishing yourself as a thought leader.

Put Yourself Out There

This is where the rubber meets the road. While building your brand and creating an online presence do reveal you in some way, there is still some degree of protection. The way to breathe life into your brand is to put yourself out there to make a difference, to have an impact on the world around you.

Book speaking engagements, get published, become a mentor, all of these things take you from the virtual realm of a digital persona and give you a rounded, three dimensional form.

Related Article:Thought Leadership 101: The Pros and Cons of Using Your Blog for Personal Branding

Align Yourself With Other Industry Influencers

Networking is a good way to make vital business connections and meet people who are making an impact in your industry. Spend time with them, exchange ideas and information and learn from them. They can provide valuable information that you can use to promote yourself but they can also introduce you to other thought leaders and broaden your networking circle.

One way is to register for big events in your industry like Mozcon or Social Media Marketing World if you are a marketer. Where else can you find top industry influencers in one place?

Becoming a thought leader in your industry takes commitment, dedication, and lots of work. However, it is well worth all that you put into it. It won’t happen overnight (and you shouldn’t rush it), anything worth having takes time and effort, but stick with it. You’ll get there.

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