Whether you’re a business owner, entrepreneur, or leader, becoming a thought leader can help take your business or career to the next level. Thought leadership is one of the best ways to establish your authority, build credibility, and grow your business.
To learn about the best ways to establish yourself as a thought leader, I spoke with Ashley Dudarenok, a LinkedIn Top Voice in Marketing, bestselling author, and founder of a digital consultancy and social media marketing agency. Here’s her advice:
Share something truly insightful.
You don’t want to just share general knowledge, you want to share deeper insight. “Share something beyond the obvious that they can’t just find online, and don’t hold yourself back because you’re afraid to give too much away,” advises Dudarenok. The more insightful your content is, the easier it is to establish your authority and build credibility.
When you share something that people haven’t heard before or present a different way of looking at something or an out of the box solution, you set yourself apart from everyone else. Interesting and thought-provoking content also keeps your audience engaged and eager to follow you so they can learn more.
Create a community.
Sharing content is only part of establishing yourself as a thought leader. Creating a community is the other major component. With a community, you’re creating a supportive audience who will share your content, provide you with feedback, and help grow your reach and influence. Dudarenok has one very prudent piece of advice that you must follow in order to build a community: “speak with people, don’t talk at them.” When you’re building a community, it’s important to keep the lines of communication open. Engage with your audience by responding to their comments and starting conversations. While it can be time consuming, it’s well worth it.
Authenticity is what connects you to your audience. While your authentic style of sharing content may not be for everyone, that’s completely okay. As Dudarenok says, “there are billions of people in the world, but you don’t need to capture them all. There will be people that will find you and want the insight that you’re sharing, in the way you’re sharing it. So be authentic, find your own voice, find your own kind of style, and stick to it. If you’re not being authentic, others will find it very difficult to connect with you.” It’s also important that you don’t edit yourself and try to speak how you think you should rather than what comes naturally to you.
Tailor your content.
Tailoring your content to the platform you’re sharing it on helps you create content that will perform well on that particular platform. For example, on TikTok, short entertaining videos that use filters and are set to music do well, but won’t likely perform as well on LinkedIn.
When you’re sharing content across multiple platforms, you don’t have to come up with something entirely different for each one, you just have to tailor it to match the delivery style of the platform. For example, on TikTok, short entertaining videos that use filters and are set to music do well, but won’t likely perform as well on LinkedIn. In that case, you should create two separate videos, one for each platform. You’re sharing the same content, just in a different format. You can also create multiple types of posts from one single idea. A video can become a podcast using just the audio, which can also be turned into a blog post as well as short-form text posts on social media. A longer video can be broken down into shorter clips for social media that highlight tips and key insights.
Find the right channels.
Not all platforms will be beneficial to all businesses, so you’ll need to do some testing and research to find the platforms that work best for you. Think about who your target audience is and what platforms they spend their time on, and start posting and sharing content on the platforms where those two things intersect.
It can take a bit of experimenting to find which platforms will serve you best. “If you’re posting consistently on a platform for a few months, that’s a good indicator of if it will or won’t work for you. If you only try for a few weeks, that won’t provide you with enough data to make an informed decision,” Dudarenok says. If you’ve tailored your content and maintained a routine posting schedule for a few months and you’re still not seeing the results in terms of engagement, then that’s a solid indicator that it’s not the right platform.
Consistency drives results. You can’t post sporadically and hope to see results, either in terms of engagement or increasing your follower counts. This doesn’t mean that you have to post every day, just that you need to have a consistent posting schedule. Sharing good content two or three days a week is sufficient as long as you do it consistently.