Are you a thought leader?
If you’re gunning for a big promotion, seeking out investors for your startup, or working on a second (or side) career as a speaker or author, you’d better be able to lay claim to the thought leadership mantle.
It won’t happen overnight, of course. But you can get the ball rolling with these four straightforward steps.
- Build Out Your LinkedIn Profile
LinkedIn is a powerful tool for many thought leaders, particularly those with executive leadership experience. If you haven’t already done so, complete your LinkedIn profile — all the way back to your first career-track job — and begin publishing or sharing content pertinent to your knowledge domain.
Do everything right and you might one day earn a perch in the coveted LinkedIn Influencer club, complete with a little “in” badge to prove your worth. You can’t yet apply directly for LinkedIn Influencer membership, but that may come down the line. In the meantime, do your utmost to amass those followers.
- Do an Ideamensch Interview
Ideamensch is a fantastic visibility-boosting platform for influential thinkers and leaders. Interview questions are pretty basic; you shouldn’t have any trouble thinking up compelling answers that shine a positive light on your achievements. If you get stuck, just talk about what you know, and don’t be afraid to show your softer side. This serial investor’s interview is a good example: he doesn’t venture too far outside his domain, but manages to show plenty of personality at the same time.
- Become a Guest Contributor
Even if you’re not a born writer, consider applying as a guest or op-ed contributor at general or niche-specific business publications. You’ll need to demonstrate that you have something valuable to add to the conversation. At minimum, that’ll require a solid resume and a regularly updated blog showcasing the sorts of discussions you’re asking to share with a wider audience. It may require published clips with less prominent business publications too, so set your expectations accordingly.
- Launch a Podcast
Don’t look so skeptical. Sure, it seems like everyone has a podcast these days. But you can say the same thing about personal blogs, and no one tells you not to launch one of those.
There’s a proper and improper way to pull off a successful podcast, of course. If you’re not sure what to do first, consider reaching out to others in your network about appearing as a guest on their podcasts. You’ll gain valuable experience, polish your interview skills, and absorb some tricks and tips that you can later incorporate into your own podcasting efforts.
Who’s Looking to You?
When you’re the boss, everyone looks to you — even when you don’t want them to. Great bosses know that they’re constantly in the spotlight. Whether they relish the exposure or not, they act accordingly and lead by example.
True thought leaders have the same mentality. Though their job duties don’t include rabble-rousing speeches or employee reviews, they know that their words carry more weight than their followers’.
It’ll take some time to get comfortable with this prospect. But look on the bright side: once you do, you’ll wield tremendous power to change folks’ lives for the better.