A Guide to Enhancing Your Personal Brand through Thought Leadership.Jackman
Thought leadership is about boldly establishing yourself as an expert authority in your field, by:
- leveraging your distinctive talents, experiences, and passion
- creating ideas and content that introduces new ways of thinking
- shaping and sharing a unique point of view to stay top of mind
- providing insights into the biggest questions on the minds of your target audiences
- influencing, inspiring, educating and engaging your network
- making a personal and emotional connection with your prospects and customers.
To position yourself as an influential thought leader – like other trailblazing movers and shakers – you will need to invest in an intentional storytelling, personal branding strategy.
“Thought leaders are brave; explore areas others don’t,
raise questions others won’t, and provide insights others can’t.”
– Craig Badings & Liz Alexander
The following steps can lead to success in becoming a subject matter expert in your world.
Step One – Build Your Brand and Reputation.
Before you can live your brand and tell your unique story, before you can make the leap to a thought leader, you must truly get to know thyself…then define and shape your brand.
Personal branding drives 100 % clarity in identifying and understanding your:
- Passion – what your purpose and driving motivators are
- Promise – how you will commit to consistently delivering on your value proposition
- Superpowers – how you will leverage your successes, expertise and energy
- Messaging – how you will creatively engage your niche, target market
- Differentiation – how you will stand-out and influence your customers mind.
By linking your guiding values to your purpose, to your story, and to the content you curate and share, you will leave the exact lasting impression that you wish to build. This will unlock your true potential and optimize your customer experience. For additional information see how to build a powerful personal brand
Step Two: Become an Authentic Storyteller.
Storytelling brings your brand to life and strengthens your ability to stand out in a noisy social media world. By embracing a narrative to tell your tale, you can take your audiences to magical places and create a buzz, for all the right reasons, so you will be remembered.
Thought Leadership at Its Best Is:
- Living your brand, establishing your reputation… this will take time
- Becoming the kind of person that adds value to the people in your world
- Patience, as it takes time to build respect and earn recognition
- Compelling storytelling that drives exploration and strategic differentiation
- Sharing your passion and expertise to stimulate ground-breaking, big ideas
- Offering a unique, and sometimes innovative, delightful entertaining perspective
- Sharing stimulating content, that can incite a revolution/evolution!
- An invitation to become part of the conversation early in the customer journey
- Redefining how specific audiences perceive their world
- Inspiring others, creating intrigue while challenging the status quo
- Sharing viewpoints that shaping people’s perceptions, instilling a call to action
- Building connections, through an interactive conversation between brands and people
- Improving, and building solid relationships in your network and expanding others
- Relationship building with prospects based on knowledge
- Enthusiasm for getting involved in the communities of your choice
- Personal and professional growth, helping others be more, to do more
- Providing a platform where others gain valuable insights into their career, work and life
- Embracing lessons learned along the way for adaptation and growth
- Inspiring everyone in your circle of influence to take their game to a higher level.
“Too many brands treat social media as a one way, broadcast channel, rather than a two-way dialogue through which
emotional storytelling can be transferred.” Simon Mainwaring
Thought Leadership is NOT about:
- Self-promotion, touting your own horn, telling or shouting
- Selling products or services, transactions, leads or revenue generation
- Opportunities to talk about your services or products, and how great you are
- Rehashing old school
“You never change things by fighting the existing reality.
To change something, build a new model that makes the existing model obsolete.”
– Buckminster Fuller
Are You Ready to Become a Thought-Leader?
Once you have a brand strategy in place to support your passion and purpose, and you have put your core value into words, you can confidently articulate your story. It is only then can you build your thought leadership plan for sharing your informed opinion.
As the go-to-person in your field, your goal is to:
- Innovate and disrupt, to lead and never follow
- Turn ideas into reality, while sharing successes
- Provide a relevant, original point-of-view whenever possible
- Share your voice, craft messaging that resonates with your audience
- Shape and stimulate timely, thought-provoking, game-changing conversations
- Address what is on the customers’ mind, their challenges and needs
- Broadcast your opinions, offer insights and a depth of knowledge
- Lend and establish your expertise by giving to others, by leveraging your track record
- Influence your strategically targeted your network to become a market authority
- Become a trusted source, the sought-after market expert
- Engage with and attract like-minded, influential leaders
- Move and inspire new fans, building brand ambassadors to help share the story
- Educate and entertain and by infusing a little humour in your writing.
Those people who think they know everything are
a great annoyance to those of us who do. — Isaac Asimov
Although your audience won’t always look to you for entertaining or disruptive content, they will be seeking your guiding advice on what is keeping them up at night.
Once they respect your opinion, when the time is right, they will tap into your talent, experience, and passion, seeking you out as they begin to perceive value in building a relationship with you. Katie McBride, Principal at R3 Communication LLC, said it best,
“Thought leadership puts others’ needs above our own.
It involves understanding where we can add the most value to help them accomplish their goals.”
Embarking on the Though Leader Journey – Be Social.
Once you know the brand called You, you can leverage these Top 10 Tips on how to get started on building your brand reputation, to support and strategically advance your story, on your journey to becoming the most sought-out authority in your field.
Content. Ask yourself, why should anyone care?
- Create, curate content that will excite and make audiences take notice
- Write your proprietary playbook, or publish a book, both can serve as core content for you to consistently draw upon for your posts
- Define your customer challenges, and the best strategic ways to overcome them
- Ensure your story is current and synergistic with what is happening today in the world
- Keep it ‘fresh’ with ideas that will inspire, sustain interest and create dialogue
- Keep it simple – avoid industry jargon so everyone ‘gets it’ and don’t try to be everything to everyone – find a niche
- Identify topics that you’re passionate about, that are closely associated with your brand
- Support your story with proof, facts examples and compelling visual elements
- Interview those ‘in the know’ for insights, quotes and credibility enhancement
- When using other source commentaries, be sure to add your own perspective
“For a truly effective social campaign, a brand needs to embrace the first principles of marketing,
which involves brand definition and consistent storytelling.” Simon Mainwaring
Connect. Ask yourself, how can I be everywhere my audiences are?
- Identify other like-minded, influential bloggers and thought leaders
- Follow and engage with them, add your unique perspective, comment and share
- Monitor key businesses and selective digital channels for topics you can write on
- Use Linkedin’s Sales Navigator to helping find the right audiences
- Encourage your network to tell your story – share, like, comment, and return the favor
- Consistently post your blogs on platforms like Linkedin’s Pulse
- Pitch your article to business and trade publications – Guide to Guest Blogging
- Speak at events, become a host, be a regular guest etc., seek strategic alliances
- Choose a platform to manage your social media work like Hootsuite
- Strategically select you social media channels for the best return on your time invested.
“A thought leader is true to themselves even when others might laugh, disagree or nay-say. They actually walk their talk.
Be an original, share your enthusiasm, educate yourself
on your industry, make enough room for others,
be open to criticism and don’t get short-sighted.”
– Jessica Northey
Change the Way the World Thinks.
Now is your time to join the exclusive group of intrapreneurs, entrepreneurs, and thought leaders who challenge the status quo. Embrace your brand, share your story, thrive by cultivating a culture where new ideas flourish. Thought leadership requires perseverance and dedication. In time, you will build a trusting and loyal following, and you will SOAR!