Before the digital age, thought leadership was very much focused on authoring articles for trade publications and speaking at industry events. Nowadays, with the rise of digital platforms and influencer marketing, there is massive opportunity to reach your audience through online platforms. In this article we explore the steps needed to become an industry thought leader.
Create a personal brand
Whilst you may own a successful business, a personal brand gives your audience a face and real person behind the credential. It helps to build genuine connections and trust, leading to more business opportunity.
To start building your personal brand, decide how you want to be seen in the market (eg. are you energetic? Contentious? Innovative?) and use that as a framework for your strategy and marketing materials. Rather than trying to please everyone, focus on a small niche that you know inside out, and share your knowledge freely to build a strong fan base.
Choose your platform and develop an audience
Whilst professional publications are an excellent way to get your name out there, you need to have your own platform to develop your voice and share your opinions freely. Without taking the time to develop your own material, you are at the mercy of editors and current market trends.
The best platform to develop your thought leadership really depends on your industry and customers. For example, if you are in a B2B industry, LinkedIn is most likely the best platform to share your knowledge. On the other hand, if you are targeting a niche like personal finance management you may be more successful on YouTube or Instagram.
A blog is another platform that could really benefit all thought leaders, as it is searchable and allows you to manage your content with longevity in mind. However, keep in mind that the blog should be used in conjunction with other social platforms, not as a standalone asset.
Build a network
As well as building your networks online, it’s important to meet as many real people as possible. Attend networking events and industry conferences to make connections with others in your niche – you never know which connectors you may meet and the opportunities that may arise.
By being a part of the financial adviser network in Australia and regularly attending events, I was personally appointed Chair of the Association of Financial Advisers. This position has boosted my authority within the industry, and I now actively work for my peers to improve the industry overall.
Disrupt your industry
To be a true thought leader, you need to do more than just disseminate existing information into easily understandable tidbits. Whilst this may help some in your audience, your goal should be to offer something new and innovative to your peers. Stay up to date with the latest industry trends, and encourage others to think outside the box when it comes to new technologies or industry challenges.
At ComplyX, we were the first paraplanning firm in Australia to introduce the game-changing software Commpay as a response to the government’s 2018 Royal Commission into financial services. Through this technology, we have saved our clients tens of thousands of dollars per year and became industry leaders in the software.
Becoming an industry thought leader requires years of experience, comprehensive industry knowledge and consistent work and focus. It’s an ongoing process, but can be extremely rewarding for those willing to make the effort.