A yellow paper airplane soars upward above three low-flying white paper airplanes against a black background, representing the concept of thought leadership or leading your industry.

You Achieved Thought Leadership, Now What?

March 3, 2023

When you empower others to share their unique insights, real thought leadership happens. 

Key Takeaways:

  • Thought leadership happens when you share real insights, lessons learned, and unique points of view that provide value to your audience.
  • To be a successful thought leader, you must constantly learn, tenaciously create, and pay close attention to what your competition is doing.
  • Remain true to the 3 Keys that led you on your path to thought leadership grounds you and reminds you where you started. 
  • You need to remember the “lead” part of being a thought leader is to empower others to become thought leaders in their own right.
  • It’s crucial that you don’t rest on your laurels – continue to learn and share authentically to stay on top of your thought leader game. Remember: If you aren’t growing, you’re dying – there is no such thing as coasting.

You’ve put in the hard work, developed your point of view, and shared it with the world. But now that you’ve achieved this prestigious thought leadership status, what’s next?

First things first – let’s look at what a thought leader really is and does. A thought leader is someone who develops a unique point of view and shares it with their audience, but what sets a genuine thought leader apart is the amount of work they’ve put into their POV. It’s not just about self-promotion or sharing success stories – you must deliver value to your audience through true insights, lessons learned, and authentic opinions.

That fancy title, thought leader, must be earned. It’s important not to rest on your laurels but to continue learning and sharing information in your unique, authentic way. Keep creating, keep learning, and keep inspiring – the world needs more thought leaders like you.

If everyone’s a thought leader, how do you stand out?

The problem is that it’s not enough to simply earn thought leader status. Let’s be honest – everybody aims to be a thought leader in their field these days. What was once a mark of prestige is now a saturated pool of opinions and Medium essays. 

To really stand out as a thought leader, you need a unique POV that sets you apart from the rest of the pack. This isn’t just any old viewpoint – it’s one that you’ve put a lot of knowledge, experience, and effort into developing and sharing – even gathering data as proof points to demonstrate and validate. 

You need to be willing to share real insights, lessons learned, and both the good stuff and the bad stuff. Remember, a true thought leader doesn’t hoard their thoughts – they share them generously.

Don’t just be a self-promoter – be a thought-provoker, idea-generator, and opinion-shaper. Thought leadership is not about what you sell, but about what you say.

Be authentic and vulnerable, and don’t forget to stay true to your core values and principles. You can’t just take it easy and bask in the glory of your thought leader title. You need to constantly create and learn, and, most importantly, empower others to become thought leaders themselves. 

The art of staying on top: 7 tips for outstanding thought leadership marketing

As a thought leader, you have to stay on top of your game and continue to provide value to your audience. Whether you’re a seasoned pro or just starting out, these seven tips will help you continue to be the thought leader others look to and respect.

1. Know who’s listening

You can’t create content that resonates with your audience if you don’t know them inside and out. If you’re not tuned into your audience, your content won’t make a peep. You need to understand their preferences, habits, and what makes them tick. 

Don’t be shy – connect with your audience and ask for feedback. Conduct surveys, review comments, and analyze customer engagement. Stay in the loop with the latest industry trends and keep your content fresh and relevant.

2. Create a never-ending stream of incredibly fresh content

In the thought leadership game, content is king, queen, and the whole damn royal court. Your job is to create content that not only captivates your audience but also provides genuine value. 

Talk about things that are trending. You have to know what people are paying attention to. Be clever – use unique, engaging graphics, video, and other media to support your stance. This not only keeps people interested, but it also lends credibility to your awareness of what’s going on around you, provides value to your ideas, and shows your audience that you’re invested, all of which helps secure your position as a thought leader.

In short, you must bring your unique perspective, share your insights, lessons learned, and experiences, and offer something more than just a sales pitch.

3. Stay tuned into competition

Don’t copy your competitors – learn from them. Take a closer look at what they’re doing – right or wrong – do a competitive analysis. Look at their content, their tone, their engagement, and their marketing strategies. Identify the gaps in the market that they’re missing and see how you can fill those gaps with your unique perspective and offerings. 

4. Be REAL

Authenticity is key.  To truly be authentic, you must be constant. No one will hitch their wagon to you as a thought leader if you don’t project consistency. You have to live your brand and breathe it into everything you do. Share anecdotes that relate to your story in a way that encourages connection. 

Your audience wants to see the real you, imperfections and all. Don’t be afraid to share your vulnerabilities and beliefs. This is what makes you relatable and builds trust with your audience.  So drop the facade and bring forward the authentic you. Those who appreciate you for who you are will stick around.

5. Invest in your knowledge

To stay on top of your game, you need to invest in your knowledge. Learning should never stop, no matter how much you already know. Make it a priority to keep up with your industry’s latest trends and innovations. This will help you stay ahead of the curve and offer valuable insights to your audience.

6. Keep your 3 Keys close in mind

Remember the 3 Keys that led you to become a thought leader in the first place – your brand’s Purpose, Values, and Story. Keep them at the forefront of your mind and use them to guide your content creation and marketing strategy.

7.  Don’t forget about the “leader” part

To be a thought leader is not a platform for self-promotion or to tout your brilliant ideas – it’s about empowering others to succeed. Provide your audience with the resources and tools they need to increase their knowledge and even to become a thought leader in their own right. Share your knowledge, offer guidance and support, create a community of like-minded individuals who can learn from and support each other.

As a leader, your responsibility is to share what you know and provide others with the same chance to develop their unique point of view and offer it to the world. When you do this, you not only help others succeed, but you also nurture a network of thought leaders who can bounce ideas off each other and make an even bigger impact.

Thought leadership is a never-ending journey

Thought leadership isn’t a title you earn and then sit back and relax. It’s an ongoing journey that requires constant learning, creativity, remaining relevant, and, most importantly, authenticity. 

Continue to provide value to your audience, stay true to your unique point of view, and don’t forget to lift others up with you. By doing so, you’ll not only elevate yourself but also those around you, creating a community of thought leaders who are changing the world one idea at a time. So keep pushing yourself, keep learning, and keep leading the way!

Let’s talk about how to scale your impact and connect purpose with profit!

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