Getting your voice out there is an important part of becoming a successful thought leader. However, it can be difficult to know the right way to convey your perspectives on different topics without a strong writing foundation.
For those entrepreneurs who have never written before, the thought of publishing a piece can seem like a far-off goal—but it doesn’t have to be if you have the right strategies in place. To help guide you in the right direction, 10 Young Entrepreneur Council members shared their best writing tips for aspiring thought leaders.
1. Structure Your Argument
To be a successful thought leader, it’s very important to be able to convey your ideas across different formats, including both verbal and written communication. Written articles and blogs are fantastic ways to express your perspective. Structuring your argument can make a massive difference in how it is perceived. When drafting any type of content, be sure to zero in on the main message, or thesis, that you want to get across first. Back up that thesis with at least three supporting points, citing research where relevant. Wrap up with a big picture stance on what the future holds or the greater significance of your argument. – Kelley Weaver, Melrose PR
2. Know Your Audience
Entrepreneurs who are new to writing and publishing online content should remember who their readers are at all times. When you put the reader first, you’re better able to create relevant topic ideas, pitch to the right publications, appeal to their interests, solve their problems and much more. And knowing your readers leads to a better understanding of what they need so you can create insightful content that makes you stand out. – Jared Atchison, WPForms
3. Leverage Your Own Blog Or Social Media
Start with self-producing content and publishing it on your blog or social media. Becoming a published author for a major book publisher takes years of producing content, but with persistence, it can happen. Once you’ve established a portfolio of content on your blog, you can then start looking for guest posting opportunities on other blogs and news websites. There are two ways to reach out. One option is to target a specific website and write a specific piece of content to complement that website. Pitch as if the content was written for them and ask them if they will publish it and give you your own byline. Alternatively, you can reach out to a target website and ask if they accept guest authors and if there is a specific topic they’d like you to write about. – Kristopher Brian Jones, LSEO.com
4. Gather Inspiration From Others
Read how different bloggers, columnists and journalists express certain points, support their arguments and qualify their statements. Use references and sources that validate your thoughts, and summarize key points that might be too abstract for some readers. The more you write, the better you learn to articulate your ideas—and you become more strategic and calculated in your business decision-making too. You’ll find that, in doing so, you’re able to attract a larger audience that’ll consistently be eager to learn more about your business successes and struggles. – Firas Kittaneh, Amerisleep Mattress
5. Create A Schedule
Every valuable skill requires a significant investment of time. Writing is no different. While not everyone can spend 10,000 hours developing their ability to format and assemble words to form concrete images, they can create opportunities to hone their craft. Create a schedule that allows you to practice your writing skills every day, or at least once a week, so you can keep growing. Write more than you intend to publish, and use all the tools at your disposal to edit. Writing allows you to communicate. The right words can persuade an investor to provide capital or convince a prospect to research your products or services further. You can share your knowledge and establish yourself as an authority. – Duran Inci, Optimum7
6. Be An Active Reader
I always tell people that to be a better writer, you should be a better reader. With constant technology overload, we read a lot thanks to work, emails, social media, texting—but this is passive reading. When I say better reading, I mean active reading that stimulates your brain and makes you simultaneously react both intellectually and emotionally. Whether you consume the news, fiction, biographies, nonfiction or blogs, read stuff that piques your interest, challenges your perceptions and gets your brain churning. From there, your writing will naturally improve because you’re expanding your vocabulary, knowledge and views. – Emily Stallings, Casely, Inc.
7. Write Often
There’s this switch in perception when it comes to talking and writing. We all talk—that’s how we’ve done anything since we learned to say our first words. But once communication becomes putting words to paper, we feel intimidated and unworthy—and it’s all right. Business writing isn’t like the essay writing struggle we had in high school and college. You’re not writing to showcase your literary skills; it’s all about communication. So like most things that scare us, exposure to it will help you get better at it. Write and write often. Every day. It could be a LinkedIn post, a tweet, a blog post, an email. Just write. Get good at being consistent and other factors that improve your writing will follow suit. – Samuel Thimothy, OneIMS
8. Be Vulnerable
Although it can be challenging to do so, don’t shy away from mistakes you’ve made when creating content. Share what went wrong and be vulnerable. Most people can relate to feelings of self-doubt and the experience of failure. Writing about your real experience will give your audience content they haven’t read before, and you’ll build your following online and establish yourself as a thought leader and person of influence. – Blair Williams, MemberPress
9. Be Sincere
Some of the worst writing in existence is by people who try to use bigger words than are necessary or by those who use a tone that is overly professional or aloof. No one wants to read insincere writing, no matter how grammatically correct it is. Audiences can smell pretentiousness a mile away. At the same time, it’s okay to hire a professional writer if you need one. They can help touch up important documents or make technical writing more palatable to general audiences. Just make sure they don’t compromise your tone or message. It’s your voice and your own charisma that makes your writing unforgettable to your audience. – Shu Saito, All Filters
10. Start Before You’re Ready
My top tip for entrepreneurs who haven’t been published yet: Start before you’re ready. Entrepreneurs are role models, and we only build thought leadership by showing up and doing the work. Many of us fear we “aren’t good enough” at writing or don’t have the background yet, but we are all capable. Getting started, making mistakes and keeping momentum builds any skill. My suggestion isn’t the obvious “journal daily” or “read for hours.” Instead, we learn by surrounding ourselves with others who have similar goals. I suggest joining a peer group of entrepreneurs who also publish or publish regularly to inspire action. – Libby Rothschild, Libby Rothschild