3 Steps to Becoming a Thought Leader – Part One

[vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]3 steps to becoming a thought leader

Part One

Thought leaders are doers, makers, speakers, writers, leaders, personalities – or some wicked combination of each. They generate new ideas and share their opinions which shine a new light on the industry they represent. Many thought leaders are disruptors who challenge the established order, but bring people around to their way of thinking. They are experts and a reliable source of insight.

The term has become ubiquitous of late, but it’s far from a throwaway concept. Instead, it’s the single best way to enjoy clout in the industry you’re in. There are three crucial steps to carving out your own niche in the arena of “thought leadership”.

Have a unique message or idea

Unless you’re pioneering a new industry, chances are you’re entering a crowded marketplace where competing voices are vying for attention.

Thought leaders stand out with a unique message that rings true. 

At Area 213, we’re championing the idea of working smart in advertising and marketing by using freelancers, flexi-hours and office sharing. With this bold approach, we’re not constrained by location and regularly work with clients in the UK, despite being based in South Africa. 

We’re saying you don’t need expensive offices and crippling overheads in a digital space.

Find your message and own it.

Simple, not shallow

The best thought leaders have a message that can be summed up simply but explained in depth.

Imagine this: you’ve been asked to speak at a TED talk about your “USP” and what makes you different. What’s your elevator pitch? The overriding message needs to be utterly digestible, but can you discuss it for 10-15 minutes? A message without legs will bore people to sleep, but a simple message with depth can be discussed for hours.

Tim Urban’s brilliant talk on procrastination is a good example of this. Urban has been a master procrastinator throughout his adult life. But now, after exploring the topic for years, he’s had an epiphany. Non-procrastinators don’t exist. We all do it. The key? To realize that fact and remember that your time is finite.

In a unique and conversational style, Urban unpacks an affliction we’re all familiar with and brings the audience to a realization: we have finite time on earth. Use it wisely.

Once you’ve watched Urban live, his USP – the ability to clearly unpack procrastination – is demystified to the point that it’s not only possible to overcome, it’s easy to.

Become omnipresent

If you don’t adhere to points 1 and 2, you’ll never be able to achieve point 3. Namely, to become omnipresent.

Successful thought leaders take their unique, simple idea and run with it. Podcasts, blogs, television, radio, magazines, online. A thought leader is a self-promoter and capable of using all modern tools to make a splash.

Of course, this only works if you’re actually selling an idea that is A) different and B) valuable. But if you have both those boxes ticked, your best starting block is a personal blog. Here, hone your message, then gauge audience feedback. Are people interested in your idea?

Our story on the rise of freelancers (and the downsides of a traditional office) has been picked up by FastCompany and Entrepreneur magazines and generated massive reach online. Clearly there’s an appetite for what we’re saying.

If there’s a similar appetite for your thoughts and ideas, contact magazines and websites and pitch them your story. You’ll be surprised how many are willing to listen.

Then, start the journey of constant output. In the end, thought leadership is about generating interest in your ideas. If you’re in the business of attracting clients, this can only be to your benefit.

Next time: We look at how you can define yourself as a thought leader in the shortest time span possible.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]