Welcome to the New Year! 2019 brings new opportunities for success and growth, if you are dedicated. If one of your goals is to build your personal brand and become more widely known as an expert in your field, check out these tips to help you get started:

1) Speaking Engagements

Have you ever watched a Ted Talk or a keynote that ignited you in some way? The person you listened to had a great message to share with the world, and it was clear that they were an expert on their topic. That's where credibility is earned. Landing speaking engagements not only builds your reputation in your field, but enhances your personal brand, increases lead generation, builds brand recognition, and creates relationships. Speaking engagements allow you to connect with different audiences and tell your story, expand your reach, and become an influencer in your field. Consider joining Toastmasters or a local National Speakers Association chapter.

2) Podcast

Whether you are hosting a podcast or are featured as a guest, podcasts are an excellent way to build your brand. Hosting or being interviewed on podcasts allows you to target a new audience, build a community, cover a wealth of content, and build relationships or referrals with fellow thought leaders. Podcasts are growing in popularity and are projected to keep increasing through 2019. Start by scanning the most popular podcasts in your area of expertise and listen to a handful before starting your own or reaching out to explore the possibility of being a guest.

3) Social Media

Maintaining a strong social media presence is essential for thought leaders. With the click of a button, you can share interviews, blog posts, contributing articles, business updates, alerts, and awards on multiple platforms, allowing you to connect with your audience on a regular basis. For example, Paulo Coelho, award-winning New York Times best selling author of The Alchemist, shares his blog posts, book updates, inspirational quotes, and thoughts daily, and tweets in both English and Portuguese. This consistency and personality has rewarded him a loyal following of 15.3 million followers. If you're new to social media, start with one platform and focus there, then expand as you are more comfortable keeping up with it.

4) Blog

Blogging can be an essential part of your personal brand and gives you a unique ability to build audience loyalty. Writing consistent blog posts is a smart way to lay a foundation for your thought leader content because you can show your expertise in detail and experiment with testing content for resonance, as shown via comments and engagement. A library of blog posts can also be used as a resource for brands and corporations you want to work with, expanding your influence and your audience. Start with a commitment that is consistent but manageable, such as two short posts a month, and grow from there.

5) Contributed Articles

This is a crucial step in the path to thought leadership. Some of the most influential thought leaders both blog and contribute articles to credible publications on a regular basis. Contributing articles to a well known publication gives you visibility to that publication's large audience, as they likely will share your content on Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, and so on. Consider business publications as well as industry and trade magazines, depending on how niche your subject area may be. Review the publication's contributor guidelines to educate yourself about requirements related to article length, reusing content, and ownership of rights.

Lay a foundation for thought leadership by building your brand and platform in these content areas. Start with one and get into a rhythm; you'll find that over time, it becomes more manageable and yes, even enjoyable.