Want to become the next Richard Branson? You may not have your own airline or a party compound on a private island, but that doesn’t mean you can’t get your ideas noticed and position yourself as an industry leader.
If you follow entrepreneurial superstars like Richard Branson, you’ll know they are constantly sharing the highs and lows of their business journeys, alongside valuable advice on how to make a venture a success. They’re also not afraid to draw on personal experiences to add something new to a conversation.
This trend of giving the public an insight into the life, lessons and thoughts of successful startup founders is called Thought Leadership – and it’s quickly becoming the best way to tell a more personal story about you and your brand, while establishing trust and credibility with your target audience.
So how do you become a thought leader? Here are six tips to help position yourself as an industry expert.
Sounds simple, right? But good content and thought leadership has to come from a place of authenticity and experience. What are you passionate about? Where do you want to move the needle? What are you trying to change in the world through your work or your business? This is where it all starts.
We all know how annoying it is when people talk about things they know nothing about. Do you have the experience or accolades to be an authority on something? There are lots of ways to justify your position to speak out on issues, trends or best practices – look to both your personal and professional experience and just make sure that you can demonstrate you’ve walked the walk before you talk the talk.
Where does your audience live? Can you best reach them by speaking on a panel at a conference or through an article online? And what do they care about? Remember the four Ws: thought leadership only works if you know WHOM you are speaking to, WHY you’re speaking to them, WHAT matters to them and WHERE they are getting content from.
Are you an amazing public speaker that loves the camera? Maybe writing is your thing? Pick a medium or channel where your voice, thoughts and entrepreneurial brand will be best demonstrated. Whether you self-publish a blog post on Medium or reach out to your local TED Talks organizer, there have never been so many channels to choose from.
Nobody wants to read your diary entry. Content needs to be worth reading/hearing/watching. General rules of thumb: contribute something new or noteworthy to the conversation, and dare to be different. Take a strong and researched position on an issue and go for it. Give your audience actionable takeaways by sharing from your experiences and outside research. If you aren’t adding value, you aren’t adding anything.
One article placement or media opportunity is just the beginning. True thought leadership success comes from amplification and repurposing. Did you do a great talk? Turn it into a blog post. Wrote a fantastic article? Add a new photo and repost it on Linkedin. Sharing and repurposing content can help it live forever – or at least a few, impactful months.
For more tips on becoming a well known industry expert, you can register for SFU’s intensive one-day thought leadership bootcamp on November 7. There you will learn how to identify the issues that matter to you or your business, connect with media and influencers, and share your ideas with the world. You can also explore the resources on CSuiteContent.com.