Being a thought leader in your industry is a great way to gain exposure, gain credibility, and gain new clients or customers. But how do you convince people you really do know what you’re talking about and that you’re worthy of the “thought leader” title? Here are five ways to showcase your expertise.
1. Make videos. Think short, helpful, instructive videos (no more than two minutes) on topics that are of interest to your target audience. You don’t necessarily need to get them professionally done, thanks to all the video-making capabilities at our fingertips today. Just make sure the lighting and audio are strong. Leverage your videos across multiple platforms, including:
- YouTube. Create your own channel (and optimize the meta data for keywords so people can find them).
- Your website/blog. A video can make a great blog post, and it’s a great way to push this content out there.
- Social media. Think Twitter, Facebook, Google+, etc.
- Google+ Local page. Videos make for a more robust profile.
2. Create podcasts. Have you heard of Grammar Girl (otherwise known as Mignon Fogarty)? She’s a perfect example of someone taking her expertise and creating popular podcasts around the subject…podcasts that have helped catapult her to thought leader status in the writing industry and beyond. (Check out the article she wrote on 7 tips to grow your podcast listener base.) Here’s a helpful article on how to create a podcast. And if you’re wondering if podcasts are popular, the answer is yes. According to an eMarketer report, the US podcast audience grew from 18.5 million in 2007 to 65 million in 2012, and it’s expected to continue to grow through 2013.
3. Offer free workshops. There’s no better way to demonstrate your expertise than to show people what you do. Are you a financial wiz? Offer free lunch ‘n learn series on relevant topics (promote them through networking groups, your clients, and even your local library). Yes, it’s an investment, but this goodwill gesture not only highlights your knowledge, but also your generous spirit.
4. Speak! Know that when you’re just starting to build your profile, you won’t be paid for these appearances, but you need to get some under your belt. Lots of community organizations (e.g. Rotary clubs, senior centers, schools) are often on the lookout for experts who are willing to speak pro bono or for a small fee (or lunch). Once you’ve developed your speaking chops, you can approach speakers’ bureaus (such as The National Speakers Bureau) to help get you paid speaking gigs and you can get listed in speaker directories, such as Speaker Zone.
5. Publish. Demonstrate your expertise by getting it all down in words. Whether you contribute a regular or semi-regular column to your local paper, you pitch articles to regional or national magazines, you maintain a regular blog, or you decide to self-publish ebooks, you have a variety of ways to see your words in print (be it physical print or virtual). Last year, we wrote a detailed post on everything you need to know about digital publishing.
Can you think of other ways to demonstrate your expertise and position yourself as a thought leader? We want to hear them. Share in the comments.