When you're an expert, you eat, sleep and breathe your subject. If someone set a timer and said, “Go!” you could probably talk their ear off about your area of expertise for an entire hour.
But it’s not enough to just be passionate about your subject: If you want to be seen as an expert (and hired as one), you have to show the world why you're the authority on that subject.
Part of being a thought leader in 2021 means building your digital presence. Take household names like Dr. Oz, Oprah and Bill Gates: They have put in years and who knows how much money into publishing opportunities, TV appearances, commercials, media spots and multimedia channel opportunities.
You probably don't have the budget that Oprah does. I know I don't.
So what does the average business leader need to do? You have to somehow find the budget, time and energy every single week to position yourself as a thought leader, all while wearing the many hats of your business role.
Where do you start?
Showcasing your brand on LinkedIn is the perfect way to demonstrate your thought leadership — and it doesn’t cost you anything but a few hours of your time.
Here are your first steps for building thought leadership on LinkedIn:
2. Identify your target demographic.
Who is your ideal client or consumer? Now go further: What kind of content do they want? The C-suite will want different information than middle managers, and members of HR are going to be interested in different topics than those in marketing or finance. Learn to speak to your audience about what they are interested in, and be sure to use the terms that they would use when talking about the subject matter.
3. Start building content and sharing updates.
If you want to be a thought leader in any field, you need to be published. Being published is a huge “proof point” that shows your audience that you really are qualified to talk about your particular areas of expertise.
If you have already been quoted in interviews, terrific: Now start dripping those URLs out across LinkedIn with an introductory sentence or two. If you haven’t been published, now is the time to start courting those opportunities.
In the meantime, you can start publishing your own articles right on the LinkedIn platform (again, for free), then sharing them as updates on your feed and in your LinkedIn groups.
Attention: LinkedIn groups aren't there for you to hawk your product or service. This is what LinkedIn refers to as “overly promotional” and what the members of your group will call flat-out annoying. So if you're trying to sell something, then save it. If you can use your article to incite interesting conversation, then it’s okay to share it.