Updated: Jan 9, 2022
To be seen as an Expert in your Industry, you need to build a brand that establishes:
A Thought Leader is an Expert with a Personal Brand Story
Real thought leaders are experts in their industry and hold the respect of their peers and are admired by those they have lead in the workplace. They had successful careers, interesting experiences, and a unique point of view due to the access to information they have access to and others do not. They have held the keys to the vaults of secrets. Thought leader is an ‘Expert’ and leader in their industry whom others look up to. They are willing to share the lessons they’ve learned over the course of their life to inspire audiences. They are mentors, good communicators, and have credibility in their industry. Thought leaders have a responsibility to those who follow them because their advice can affect the life decisions of others, not just where they will go to eat. Thought leaders are in the role of being mentors and helping others to achieve success in their industries.
Are you a thought leader? Click to learn about the definition of a thought leader
Education, Life Experience, or Skills to be an Expert
If you have certifications, awards, work experience, examples of your work, or the knowledge about a topic, you will have to communicate your credentials to your target audience where they will see it.
The first step is to figure out where your ideal audience spends its time. Is it online, on social media, or in the real world? To figure out where your ideal client hangs out, you need to research your top ten clients to discover behaviour patterns.
For example, I have 20 years experience in marketing, sales, customer relations, and writing. I also have a Bachelor of Arts in economics and certifications from the online companies, Google, Hubspot, Hootsuite, and Moz. To back up this statement, I have a portfolio of work on my website, three novels, and a number of social media platforms showcasing my skills.
What can you do to build proof of your expertise?
Why does being an EXPERT Matter in Thought Leadership?
I help leaders become known as ‘experts’ beyond their bubbles to build a personal brand. Recently, one of my clients retired from their CEO position for an international company and wants to restart his professional speaking career to share his knowledge and experience with the next generation of potential leaders. He has years of experience, successes, and stories to share. His knowledge is not theory. Thought he's well read, he used what he learned from the books and applied it to real world situations with new insights and real stories. What he has to share comes from being in the trenches of the corporate world not in the stacks of libraries.
When I Google Thought Leaders to understand the competition, I find many who have no actual ‘experience’ in any industry. Most never came close to the C-level of my client's career. Some barely have any life experience. Have I misunderstood the classification and made a mistake about what the term thought leader means?
Determine your credibility and communicate your credentials succinctly.
Authenticity is vital to create trust in your industry because you don't want someone to discredit you by shining light on a lie, a unsubstantiated boast, or gossip.
Like me, you may have a wide general knowledge of a topic or industry and might be tempted to showcase everything you know all at once. It is easier to start by choosing one or two topics to write about, tweet about, broadcast about, podcast about. Once you have exhausted everything you know on the topic, go on to the next one.
By tackling one topic at a time, you are creating a resource online that will provide solid keywords for SEO and you can connect all your content easily from social media posts to blog posts on the topic.
Take the topic, How to be an Expert, as an example.
I have a video on YouTube and Facebook entitled, How to be an Expert. I share this video on social media and link it back to this article for more information. I also have various graphic posts with quotes on being an expert, tips on How to be an Expert and third party “expert” articles on the subject to share on social media. Each post links back to my websites where I have links to my portfolio, and more information to backup my claims.
Be deep with your knowledge. The more content on the topic you have to share, the more visible you become online.
Think about the people you believe to be ‘Experts’ online.
Why did you start paying attention to them in the first place?
They probably showed up more than once for you to pay attention. In fact, I bet you saw their name, face, or logo over ten times before you began to believe they were someone worth listening to.
It takes work. It takes time. It takes focus to be seen as an ‘Expert’ in your field. There are so many people trying to be the next big name in your industry that the noise can be overwhelming, however, if you start with narrow topics and work out from there before you know it, you’ll be seen as the one to follow.
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Tips on How to be an Expert or Thought Leader
Here are some ideas on how to be seen as an expert:
Find a Niche and know it better than anyone else
Write about other Experts in your field - Better yet, interview them
Share content written by other experts in your industry on social media
Write about what books you've read, courses you took, and people who taught you
Write about your mistakes and what you learned from them
Write about your struggles as you work towards your next level of success
Write about topics that will teach, encourage, and motivate others
Write a book - a good book about your industry
Find speaking opportunities at networking groups
Join toastmasters and give talks about your industry
Make hard to understand topics easy to understand
Focus on your reader not on you by analyzing what they like
Be authentic and honest
Read as much as possible
3 steps on how to become an expert at anything.
Peter Economy wrote an interesting article for INC.Com
"A great way to become more valuable in your current job--or to make a major career change--is to become an expert. The good news is that it is never too late to become an expert by either developing a base of knowledge within your current field of work, or in an entirely new one.
How does becoming an expert at something you love--and earning more money as a result--sound? Try these three steps to becoming an expert and you, too, can revitalize your current position, or begin an exciting journey toward a new you."
How to Become an Expert Thought Leader at Anything
Eric Barker wrote an article for TIME.com about how to become an expert at anything, according to the experts, he lists 8 things you must do to succeed.
"Being an expert at something really pays off. Just how good are top performers compared to everybody else? Research shows in high complexity jobs like professional and sales roles, the top 10% produce 80% more than average and 700% more than the bottom 10%.
But as I’m sure you’re aware, becoming the best ain’t easy. As Bobby Knight once said, “Everybody has the will to win; few people have the will to prepare to win.”
And one of the reasons why it’s hard to become great is because a lot of what you’ve been told about how to learn, study or train is wrong, wrong, and dead wrong. So it’s time to learn how to get better at getting better."
4 Easy Ways to Become an Expert Thought Leader...
Alex Honeysett wrote an article for Forbes.com on 4 easy ways to become an expert in your field
"At some point, it may start to feel like you’ve exhausted every PR trick in the book. You’ve attended events, distributed press releases, made friends with key journalists, and created more social media platforms than you can count. But in all of that noise, you may have forgotten about your brand’s biggest asset: Yourself.
You are an expert on your brand—and more than likely on your industry, too—and you can leverage that expertise to help your brand further its reach."
Brand Yourself as an Expert Thought Leader
What is the one thing you do that you do better than anyone else?
Create a marketing message based on that service, product, or skill and once you have saturated all the media channels, start talking about the next thing you are great at.
People want to hire or buy from someone they trust and knows what they are talking about. We want to deal with those people who can teach us something, who come across as experts because we want to know we are being taken care of by the best and not having the wool pulled over our eyes by a con artist.
Personal Branding is Your Reputation
Your reputation is what people say about you when you aren't around based on their interactions with you, your product, your service, and your marketing message. Today, you are able to be part of your reputation's conversation online.
If someone posts a comment on social media about you or your business, you can address any negative comments and post gratitude for positive comments. By doing so you are building your reputation.
Each social media mention, online review, and all your digital marketing content work together to build a larger picture of your reputation. The more content the more complete the picture. Don't fear digital comments, embrace them and build a virtual reputation that enhances your real world rep.
Need help? Contact Shannon Peel at the MarketAPeel Agency
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Shannon Peel is a Professional Marketing Manager and Storyteller. Her company, MarketAPeel, helps Professionals define their personal brands and tell their story through different channels, including writing their book.