In today’s world, there are many different opportunities for exposure and influence outside of the typical news story. Every employee in a business is a representative of the company, and each person’s personal brand and community involvement can contribute to the company’s visibility and profile.
Thought leadership can take many different forms, and it’s not a one-size-fits-all approach. Some leaders are strong writers and able to articulate the latest trends and predictions in the industry in a concise and applicable way. Others may be fearless speakers with a storytelling capability that captivates and engages audiences. Sometimes, sharing knowledge as a board member or through social media can be another way to add value and build relationships.
Regardless of your strengths, one thing’s for sure – you don’t have to be a C-suite executive to become a thought leader. Building your personal profile and brand takes time and dedication, but with the right support, these 5 avenues are great places to start.
1. Join a committee or board of an organization you’re passionate about or that aligns with your interests.
After spending years in an industry or organization, you typically gain valuable experience and skills that can help others. Joining a nonprofit board of directors is not only a great way to serve within your community or industry, but it can also offer valuable relationships for you and your company.
Not in a senior enough position to join a board? Not a problem! Get involved with organizations that align with your beliefs or interests by volunteering or joining a committee. You can give back and test out the fit before adding the additional responsibilities of a board position.
2. Engage with other professionals and experts in your industry.
Impactful thought leaders are not only featured in publications, they engage with others through social media, too. When building your profile, comment on trending LinkedIn posts or join popular conversations on Twitter. Share innovative ideas or thought-provoking articles on your personal pages, and utilize trending hashtags.
Attend in-person networking events or award ceremonies. Consider hosting your own events around a cause or topic that your relationships would find valuable.
3. Develop and place a bylined article in a local or industry publication.
If you’re a strong writer or have the assistance of a PR or marketing team, a bylined article is a great way to share your insights and expertise on a specific subject. Bylined articles in your local news publications or industry media can elevate your voice while building credibility.
Another way to become a thought leader is to share some of the knowledge and insights you’ve gained over the years. Many industry-specific outlets accept guest articles for submission and publication. These pieces can position you as a go-to contact on specific topics.
4. Apply to win awards in your local community and industry.
Recognition or awards you earn can be utilized in many different ways to showcase your leadership, differentiators and areas of expertise. Apply for relevant local or industry awards or ask colleagues to nominate on your behalf. If you win, you’re typically featured in an article or at an event.
If the award is significant, consider developing a press release for additional recognition in local papers and add the award to your website, social media accounts and bio materials for extended lifespan and reach.
5. Create a speaker media kit or add a page on speaking to your website.
Landing speaking opportunities offers an additional outlet for thought leadership, but it rarely comes without incorporating some of the above tactics. Once you have a few speaking engagements under your belt, create a speaker media kit to pitch future opportunities. Include your background, previous speaking engagements, topics you’re available to speak on and contact information.
Alternatively, if your business is small or your name is recognizable, consider adding the same information to a speaking page on your company’s website. Build further credibility by adding videos, photos and testimonials from previous speaking engagements.
You don’t need to have decades of experience to begin. It may not happen overnight, but if you invest the time and energy into these areas, you’ll be well on your way to becoming known as an insightful, trustworthy and reputable thought leader.
Bri Carlesimo is an Account Manager at Pierce Public Relations.