Being a thought leader in your industry has a lot of benefits. From landing speaking engagements to beefing up your company's email subscribers to increasing traffic to your home page, becoming a thought leader is a surefire way to boost your company's credibility along with potential sales.
The problem today is it seems as if everyone is trying to become a thought leader, and with all the content being published online nowadays, cutting through the noise appears to be more hopeless than ever before. That being said, if you're ultra-specific with your goals, your area of expertise and with your preferred social media channels, becoming a thought leader becomes much simpler than you might think.
I know this from firsthand experience. In just two years time, I went from never having written a marketing article to landing guest spots on the top podcasts in my industry, speaking at top-tier marketing conferences across North America, becoming an Inc.com columnist (where you're reading me now), and most recently ironing out a book deal with one of the top business book agents in the world.
I wish I could say this was all part of some elaborate, perfectly-orchestrated plan, but the truth is it wasn't at all. Instead, the only thing I did was religiously follow a simple formula I put together for myself, which I now use for my clients:
"I want to become the go-to authority on [insert your niche here] on [insert your social media platforms of choice here]."
For instance, when I first began writing, my answer to the formula above was the following: "I want to become the go-to authority on social media marketing and content marketing on Medium.com."
Here's why it works:
1. It makes your decisions binary.
By using the formula above as your guiding light, your decisions on how you spend your time become crystal clear. Why? Because every single article you publish, comment you post, book you read and influencer you connect with will either get you closer or further away from the goal outlined in your formula.
Prior to developing the formula, I found myself writing about a variety of different topics surrounding entrepreneurship, business, and more. By doing this, I wasn't creating a specific identity, or personal brand, for myself to put into the mind of the reader. After deciding I wanted to be the social media guy on Medium, I had an identity I knew could resonate with readers.
2. It "eliminates" your competition.
The problem so many of us run into is that we dream too big, too fast.
Without an ultra-specific niche, the likelihood you'll ever be able to gain large-scale notoriety decreases significantly. Arnold Schwarzenegger probably would never have been able to star in blockbuster movies (or become the "governator" of California) without first being very good at one thing: lifting weights.
By deciding I was going to be the go-to authority on social media and content marketing on Medium, I was essentially eliminating large portions of my competition. I was no longer competing with writers publishing articles on self-improvement or poetry, I was only competing with other social media marketers who were actively publishing on Medium.
The human brain craves simplicity, so keep it simple for your audience when it comes to how they remember you and how you portray yourself to them. Start small -- you can always expand your focus later on.
3. It focuses your time and energy.
If you're running a business, you've already got your hands full with a seemingly endless amount of tasks. Creating content on a consistent basis probably seems like yet another chore. By following such an airtight formula, you'll know exactly how to spend your time and why you're doing it.
This makes your goals easy to measure. I used to find it very difficult to gauge whether or not I was getting closer to becoming a thought leader. When my goal turned into becoming the authority on content marketing on one specific platform, measuring became easy.
How many followers did I receive that day? How many people read my articles this week compared to last week? Which articles resulted in more sign-ups for my email newsletter? These all became easy to answer.
Becoming a thought leader has a tremendous amount of advantages. In my personal experience, it has helped me increase web traffic, sales, and the overall brand awareness for my own company. By closely following the formula laid out in this article, you'll be in a great position to break through the noise and faster than you might've ever thought was possible.
Best of luck.