Branding: How to Become a Thought Leader
BY Dave Kerpen
Social media mogul Dave Kerpen explains how to get noticed in your field, and make some money while you're at it.
Over the past six years, I've devoted a great deal of time to branding myself as a thought leader, or an authority in my field. These activities, which included writing a book and hosting podcasts, have led to millions of dollars in revenue and helped Likeable, my global social media firm, establish itself as a company to watch in the realm of marketing.
Becoming a thought leader can help you do the same. So with that in mind, here are six ways to get started.
Write a book.
Writing books truly established my credibility as a thought leader. Luckily for you, the barrier to entry isn't too high--my first two books were published by a traditional publisher, and I'm currently working on a self-published e-book. I recommend reading Guy Kawasaki's APE: Author-Publisher-Entrepreneur to get a feel for what followers might want.
Start a blog.
When Likeable launched its blog six years ago, I insisted on calling it Buzz Marketing Daily. My employees objected, saying we'd have to post every day to live up to the title. But that was the point. In just two years, it became one of the most widely read blogs in marketing, and now I have two company blogs and two personal blogs. You can launch your own blog using Tumblr or WordPress, just be sure to offer meaningful content.
Pitch online publications.
Not long ago, it used to be only professional writers and reporters could get a byline in national publications. Today, however, seasoned entrepreneurs can pitch a great idea and possibly get published. If an online editor decides you made the cut, you'll reap the benefits of being associated with a credible, well-known brand. What's more, if your first few articles are well-received and shared, you may have a shot at landing a column.
Make Slideshare presentations.
If writing isn't your thing but you express ideas well through design, you might try making presentations on Slideshare, which generates over 70 million views per month. If a bad designer like me can generate 175,000 views with this presentation, it's worth giving it a try.
Speak at conferences.
People fear public speaking more than death, so this isn't for everyone. But speaking in front of a live audience can be a great way to become a thought leader. Whether you're a keynote or a panelist, or even a virtual speaker at an online conference, you can share your expediences and ideas with others and build your reputation. Plus, the leads you can generate at conferences are face-to-face, often converting into real business even faster than online leads.
Host a podcast.
With over 1 billion podcast downloads on iTunes alone, podcasts are a highly effective a marketing tool. John Lee Dumas built an entire, highly-profitable business around his popular podcast, Entrepreneur on Fire, and the intimacy you can build with an audience through podcasting is unmatched.
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