To Grow Your Business, Become a Thought Leader

Developing a niche and becoming an expert can create a new pipeline of clients.

You may be the best individual at your profession in your area. You may even have a few quotes in a local media outlet. But this only helps if people other than your current client roster and family know it. A great strategy for building awareness of your skills is to sink real energy into becoming a thought leader.

A thought leader is a person known to have developed expertise in a particular area. This gives you two major avenues to work with: increasing your expertise and having that expertise become known. Here are some ideas on how to move along:

  1. Narrow your niche. Consider “microspecializing.”[1] Thought leaders often become known because they “own” a specific expertise. Specializing in a narrow area, while retaining your general practice, can give you the chance to learn the details within that specialty.
  2. Read everything you can get your hands on. Blogs, magazines, news articles — all of them could have information relevant to your specialty. Set up a search alert for terms linked to your niche, and read through what you find.
  3. Attend conferences. Connecting with others in similar areas can help you learn more about the subject at hand and build a network of people who might recommend you. You can also begin to develop your own presentation, which can help you with the next step of becoming a thought leader: making your expertise known.
  4. Speak out. Whether you want to present at conferences or your local library or college, speaking publicly on a topic in which you have expertise will elevate your profile and give more people an opportunity to hear you.
  5. Write. Commit to creating and distributing articles, blogs and social media posts on your area of expertise to news sites and professional publications and associations.
  6. Participate in podcasts and radio shows. As you amass clips, post them on your website. According to Entrepreneur, having clips of articles you’ve written and interviews you’ve given can bolster your trustworthiness to site visitors.[1] Podcasts are often looking for guests, particularly when the shows focus on one industry or topic, and you can contact them through their websites.

All these tasks take time and energy, and they won’t always show an immediate reward. But becoming a thought leader is a long-term proposition that can have a powerful effect on your business[2] — an investment likely to be worth the time and energy.


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