Thought leaders have uniquely out-of-the-box opinions on current events and trends happening within their industry, but they also go one step further by taking the time to share those insights in thought-provoking blogs, social media posts, op-eds, videos, and podcasts. Thought leaders are experts in their field and willing to show others the path to success. As natural problem solvers, they lead by example and inspire others to follow.
Clearly, thought leaders are all about giving back to their community, but they also enjoy several benefits. As a thought leader, you can expect increased influence, impact, networking opportunities, and professional growth in your space.
Gain increased influence and credibility in your industry
As a thought leader, you will be in a position to make an impact in your own organization, your industry, and the world around you. Thought leadership enables you to become an authority in your field and a trusted source of information.
A recent study found that 54% of an organization’s high-level decision-makers and 48% of its C-Suite executives spend at least one hour each week reading and reviewing content from thought leaders in their respective fields. The survey goes on to say that 52% use that content to understand and implement best practices.
Consumers are also listening to thought leaders. In fact, according to that same study, 64% said that thought leadership content builds more trust than advertising, and 65% admitted that impactful thought leadership has improved the way they think about a company. Finally, 63% claimed that thought leadership is critical in proving a brand understands and has solutions for the real-world challenges consumers face.
From these statistics, we can see how thought leadership gives you a voice and a platform that reaches a broad audience. As a thought leader, you will be asked to speak at conferences and events. You will also have the opportunity to publish your ideas in magazine articles, industry-specific blogs, and even books.
As you take advantage of these opportunities, you will build credibility and recognition in your space. This influence can impact your industry, and it can also increase your revenue and brand image.
Initiate needed change and drive innovation in your field
Many people share their thoughts online, but not all of them are thought leaders. As a thought leader, you are not just an individual who has ideas — you are someone who uses your ideas to initiate positive change in your industry. One survey found that 64% of people believe thought leadership means confronting the status quo or challenging conventional ways of thinking and 70% believe thought leaders are the people who motivate others to action.
We live in a time when change is inevitable. Whether your industry faces technological advancements, societal shifts, or political changes, you can help the people around you adapt and point them to the skills and strategies they need.
If you have been in your industry long enough to know what works and what doesn’t and are not afraid to speak out about the issues that need to be addressed, you can use thought leadership content to shape your industry. Your ideas can educate companies on best practices, advocate for legislative changes, and inspire others to action.
Enjoy valuable networking opportunities
When you share thought leadership content with others, you’re helping them learn new things, solve longstanding problems, and become better at their jobs. Over time, your willingness to share this valuable information will cause others to take note of your expertise and insight.
As you start to gain credibility as an expert in your field, more and more people will reach out and want to connect. This is only natural, as they want to learn more about their industry, and they want to learn from a trusted source of information.
These connections will lead to speaking engagements at conferences, guest appearances on podcasts, and publishing opportunities, but best of all, your engagement creates the beginning of a cycle. You will continually broaden your network among industry leaders, and the more networking opportunities you take advantage of, the more will come your way.
Experience personal and professional growth
Being a thought leader is not only about gaining recognition for your ideas and accomplishments. It’s also about advancing your own personal and professional growth.
As you become an established expert in your field, people will recognize you and listen to what you have to say. You can then use this visibility to grow in your field, build your reputation, and expand your customer base.
Ultimately, being a thought leader is about becoming a better person and helping others do the same. We all have something valuable to offer and thought leadership is a way to not only share your expertise with others and shape their lives, but it can also be an important career move, allowing you to build credibility in your field and grow as an individual.
Chan Desai is the Account Strategist for Otter PR.