No matter what industry you’re in, it’s absolutely crucial to have a presence online. Everyone, from plumbers to insurance companies to the largest companies in the world, has expanded their digital presence to not just include a website, but also social media profiles, blogs, whitepapers, and video content.
But with this rise in the number of people and businesses online also comes increased competition.
We only have so much attention to spend online, and so many hours a day to spend it on. These days, if you want to be noticed and respected online, you can’t just be there – you have to stand out.
Chris Andersen, editor in chief of WIRED, has noted this shift. There used to be tight controls over information, and people were charged a premium to access it. Now, all information is right at your fingertips. Online, we don’t need experts to give us this information – we need trusted people to unpackage all these data and insights, understand them, and inform us about what is relevant and important. We need thought leaders.
The idea of thought leadership has increased steadily with the rise of the internet, according to Google search trends. Everyone from Elon Musk to Mark Zuckerberg to Gary Vaynerchuck has been touted as the ultimate thought leaders in their field. While you may not reach the same level of fame as these experts, you can also achieve standing as a respected authority over a given topic in your industry using these steps.
Thomas Smale, co-founder of FE International, recommends writing thought leadership blog posts and articles to establish your credibility and promote your views on certain subjects in a relatively low-cost, easy way online. If you attract enough attention and traffic to your blog posts, you may even start to have opportunities to write in larger publications like Entrepreneur or Forbes. These kinds of placements help to further position you as an expert with valuable insights in your space.
Establishing yourself as a credible authority figure online takes patience and time. By following these steps, you can begin to build your expertise to create a strong personal brand and attract a following that values your know-how.
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