Becoming a thought leader needn’t be something other people do. Rarely is it a matter of these other people becoming influential in business circles and then becoming thought leaders; it’s more often the other way around. They become influential because they are thought leaders within their circles, and beyond. Thought leadership is something that is curated over time with dedication and guidance. The following ten suggestions are proven ways in which many of today’s trusted individuals have created personal brands grounded in thought leadership.

1. Pick your specialist subject and your WHY

The two of these should be linked, giving you purpose and specialism in your area. Finding your why is easy if you pull together some ideas from your passions, values, skills and talents. A specialism can be more difficult – look back over your education, technical capability, what key achievements you have had in your career to date. Try to zone in on an industry, role type or future technology. Having a WHY is important to get you motivated and excited about what can be achieved.

Frederick Nietzsche once said, ‘He who has a why can endure any how.’

2. Friends in high places

Identify 3-5 key contacts in your market that have great personal brands, strong opinions, active in the market – host them at your office or for coffee and pitch them your WHY and find ways to work together.

3. Set up partnerships

These can be training organisations, start-up companies, educational contacts, meet up organisers or industry experts. Building your network is always great for opening doors but with a more formal partnership you can work together on a win-win basis to challenge the market, create new approaches in your industry and evolve in the right direction.

4. Run/host an event

Identify an opportunity or important topic that is not already happening in your space, and who the key audience would be and event format. The agenda should cover innovation and a progressive approach to your sector with a good amount of healthy debate!

5. Podcast

Speaking on a podcast is a great modern way to share your message, ensure you listen to a couple of peers before recording your own, there are some great platforms around so do your research.

6. LinkedIn

This is THE number one tool for professional networking. Whether you are posting, following, sharing or liking it’s all important for your personal brand, thought leadership and position in the market. Set yourself weekly goals in terms of number of connections, key targets and number of posts.

7. Attend meet ups and industry events

Network, network, network! Find out what’s new in your sector, pick up key industry intelligence and increase your knowledge. Dedicate some of your personal time each quarter to attending an event. These are invaluable to your success.

8. Blog

Dedicate each blog to one key topic and build your personal brand. Get creative with your style and deliver punchy messages that take a look at ‘big picture’ issues within your field.

9. Your thoughts and insights in writing

Push your opinions and ideas internally and to the wider market in an easy to chew format. Keep the info short and sweet but relevant and catchy! Become a trusted adviser to your business and make your offering the compelling opportunity they cannot afford to miss.

10. Support friends & peers –

Facilitate introductions of colleagues, clients and friends that you don’t directly benefit from. This is a great way to make a significant impact on people in a quick and easy way, building stronger relationships. It’s all about adding value. Become necessary.

For more on becoming a Thought Leader and pushing your career to the next level, join us on Linkedin.

The above points were crafted by and published with permission from our own thought leader, Caroline McColl, Associate Partner, FutureYou Executive Recruitment | Data & Analytics

Connect with Caroline personally on Linkedin.