Pleasantly Persistent PR Blog
How to Become a Thought Leader
March 27, 2021
The term "thought leader" has become a buzzword of late. It has grown beyond the narrow definition of entrepreneurs and life coaches who fill auditoriums with motivating speeches and publish a new book every couple of years.
Nowadays thought leaders are more generally people who are experienced and respected in their profession or niche - be it finance or fitness, bartending or bookkeeping - and have developed a robust public interface using traditional and digital communications platforms to disseminate their insights.
Maybe you are a professional or artisan with at least a decade of experience and have noteworthy abilities and accomplishments. If so, you might be thinking, can I be a thought leader?

Read on to learn 6 basic steps on how to become a thought leader.
1. Network Your Way Up
The good news is that you likely already do this if you are an established professional. Networking is key to making connections within your industry and expanding your presence. It is also an opportunity for knowledge-sharing and mentoring, both as a mentor and a mentee.

Attending industry events, conferences and meet-ups, as well as joining online groups and associations are all great ways to boost your connections within the industry and gain a following.
2. Secure Relevant Accolades
Honors, awards, titles and credentials go a long way in making the case that you are an authority in your niche. These are particularly helpful when breaking into new opportunities, such as speaking engagements, media interviews or drawing in new followers.

If your accolades list is short, do your research and plan. Identify awards that can boost your brand and are attainable, and then develop a plan for nabbing them.
3. Implement a Content Marketing Campaign
Content marketing is how a brand educates and entertains their target audience through a variety of formats, including blog articles, videos, infographics, white papers or contributions to other publications. As with any campaign, a content marketing campaign should begin with a well-thought out strategy.
Content marketing is how a brand educates and entertains its target audience through a range of formats, including blog articles and videos.

Your content marketing strategy needs to be aligned with your marketing goals and brand identity. The messaging should speak to your target audience, which will largely be composed of other professionals in your field and potential clients. Use an editorial calendar, which will organize your content, establish channels for dissemination, and if structured right, give your campaign momentum.
4. Do the Social Media Thing
I know, I know. I speak with a lot of clients who don't like social media. I understand why. There are plenty of drawbacks to engaging on social media, like the bullies and bots, and the mobs and misinformation. But there are pluses, especially if you are a professional wanting to propel your standing into thought-leader status. Here's the deal:
Social media goes hand-in-hand with content marketing. Content marketing is the messaging, and social media is the way you amplify that message.

An example would be if you have posted a great blog article on your website, you broadcast this content across your social media platforms.

Social media is also the main way, and in some cases the only way, brands interact with their audience. There's a lot of talk about followers and likes on social media platforms, and yes those aspects are important. But it's just as important to make sure you are engaging with your audience and analyzing audience reaction to your messaging, such as through comments and shares, something in the business known as sentiment analysis.
5. Hire a Publicist
A publicist books media interviews, and sometimes speaking engagements, for their clients. It takes tons of time and know-how to develop a list of media contacts, pitch to those contacts and follow-up with them.

There are thousands of potential media programs to contact, requiring research on their demographics and subject focus. Having a relationship with a contact is a big plus. Additionally, there is an art to pitching, knowing how to create a hook and tie it into the program's area of focus and current news events. And finally there is the very time-consuming task of following-up, which is a must since you are not likely to get booked for an interview after one pitch to a contact.

A publicist can be hired at any time, but is particularly helpful if you have a specific project to publicize, such as a book you have authored.
Want to find out if a book publicist is right for you?
Read this article to learn more: Is a Book Publicist Worth the Money?
5. Get Published Often & Write a Book
Getting published online and in journals lends considerable credibility to authority in your niche. There is also a cumulative effect in being published often.

The road to a feature in a national magazine includes byline articles published in websites and magazines, or being quoted in an article. This can create momentum culminating with your penning a feature article in a major publication.

But the crown jewel of publication is writing a book. There is considerable cachet associated with authoring a book. You inherently are seen as a subject matter expert having spent so much time research and writing about your niche. Additionally, it is much easier to land media interviews when you have a specific, respected project to promote, such as a book. In this way, you can promote not only your book, but also your brand as a thought leader.
Bringing It All Together
In sum, public relations strategies coupled with social media marketing tools can transform your career as a respected professional into an influential thought leader. As a book publicist of nearly two decades, I have been able to help clients become thought leaders in their space. Currently, I am working with Eric L. Pierre, CPA, and CEO of Pierre Accounting. I'm handling his PR and booking media interviews, while he tackles other projects to expand his brand presence, including starting a podcast.
Now that you know how to become a thought leader, learn how I can help you reach your goals by reaching out to me today.
Feel free to contact me
Julia Brown
Book publicist
Phone: +1 619-888-7956
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