3 Tips to Establish Yourself as a Thought Leader

Thought leaders are all around us in today’s society, but it’s sometimes hard to separate the posers from the real pros. If you’d like to become a thought leader in your industry, here are 3 tips to help you establish yourself as a person others look to for ideas and guidance:



1) Research current industry trends and hot topics

If you are already familiar with your industry, it’s still great to brush up on current events to stay in-the-know about upcoming trends, hot topics, best practices, and so on. There is always room for you to learn new information that will help you formulate new thoughts and ideas for your next networking or speaking event.

2) Be proactive in seeking out speaker or writing opportunities

Establishing yourself as a thought leader doesn’t happen by chance. You must actively promote yourself through speaking events, blog posts and through online media and discussions.

  • If you currently do not have a blog, start one now.
  • Use the research you’ve done (from #1) for blog post topics that can help you expand on your opinions and thoughts.
  • If you are new to the idea of speaking in front of others, start small.
  • Check out small business events you can attend around your local community where you can practice your public speaking skills.
  • If you have children, volunteer to speak at a school event.
  • Contact local Rotary, Lions, and other service clubs for speaking opportunities.

The opportunities are out there if you look for them!

3) Promote yourself (but don’t overuse the title “Thought Leader”)

I once overheard how one attendee at a conference determines which speaker is an actual expert or just a ‘phony.’ “REAL experts don’t give themselves that ‘expert’ title!” The same should go for thought leaders:

  • Be confident in your thought leadership, but don’t abuse the term. Some may find the overuse of your “Thought Leader” title as an act of desperation (or perhaps covering up an insecurity).
  • DO more rather than SAY more: show your peers, loved ones, and the public that you are indeed a thought leader just by what you do via blog posts, speaking events, and other opportunities. Then you will establish yourself as a thought leader more effortlessly (and you’ll earn the title righteously).

By following these 3 tips, you can get on, and stay on the right track to establishing yourself as a thought leader.

Contact us for more ideas about thought leadership.

If you enjoyed this article, you may also want to check out these others:

Why Should You Care About Starting A Blog?
3 Tips For Successfully Marketing Your Business at Trade Shows
Email Marketing: How to Keep Your Messages Out of Your Customer’s Spam Box
Combining Blogging and Social Media into a Truly Effective Strategy
5 Ways You Can Benefit By Using LinkedIn
How To Amp Up Your Visibility With Facebook

This article is published by Will Sherwood | The Sherwood Group |Website Design | Graphic Design | Marketing Communications: The Sherwood Group has over 30 years of experience working with all sorts of companies, small and large. Our clients range from entrepreneurs to Fortune 500 firms, in nearly every business sector, from across the street to around the world (and yes, even Europe, China, and South America). Our goal is to create advertising,  graphic design, website design, and marketing communication that still looks fresh and relevant 10-15 years later. Our mission is to stir your imagination and leave your competition shaken and wondering,  Now what do we do?”  We are located in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina.

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Please comment. We’d like to know if you found this article informative or helpful?


  • By Arthur Charles Van Wyk 16 Apr 2014

    Have your client start a blog and then blog and guest blog – a lot. Instead of seeking writing opportunities – create them yourself. Before you can speak anywhere you need to have put enough content into the ether to be considered someone worthy of addressing an audience. Nobody has done this without having a significant amount of content in the ether.

    But not content for content sake. Content on a subject matter you’re passionate about. Content that is consumable, interesting and engaging.

  • By Mike Garland 16 Apr 2014

    To be a though leader, you have to have a clear message of the thoughts your are communicating – hopefully what you are passionate about. Thought leaders are not just reporters but also have a perspective to offer, promote and defend.

  • By George Carson 16 Apr 2014

    This article actually cuts to the chase, meaning it offers the best method to become a thought leader. If your client has a product or service to become a thought leader requires you, or a pr person, to write a release about the person behind the scenes. Have comments in the release from your client. I find it best to offer advice in your clients industry through releases, or postings in a company blog. Then approach a few publications in his industry asking to be a contributor to articles.

  • By MK Colling 16 Apr 2014

    Actions speak louder than words. Promotion is a sophisticated skill, but it needs content to have an impact.Self-promotion is empty. Others are more likely to look to you for guidance if you have success as the wind beneath somebody else’s wings – some hapless person with a head full of relevant knowledge that the world could use, if only somebody could teach him how to share it effectively.

  • By Cecilia Alers 17 Apr 2014

    These three tips are basic. Your client becomes a “thought leader” by HELPING clients solve problems. Help them and they will come. I suggest you probe your client to identify what his clients need help with the most and then help them. An example is how I helped a client in the insurance defense law industry set his firm apart from ALL OTHERS by sending a monthly newsletter of recent cases to the claims reps and in-house lawyers at insurance companies. They wanted and needed to stay abreast of recent cases but spent their days juggling hundreds of files. Once a month they get a newsletter that HELPS them. This client grew his audience from 500 to 5000 in two years and has become known as “Elvis” in this field.

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