These days, most entrepreneurs are encouraged to try and turn themselves into “thought leaders” for their given industry. On the surface, it’s good advice. But the term has become a buzzword, and it’s saturated the entrepreneurial community. After all, how can you be a thought leader in an industry where everyone else is also a thought leader?
What is thought leadership supposed to be? What has it turned into? And can you really take advantage of it to improve your chances of success?
Let’s start with the basics. A “thought leader” is someone who is seen as an expert in a specific field; they’re capable of introducing new ideas and influencing other people in the industry to make certain decisions or take certain actions. Thought leadership, or thought leadership marketing, is the process of developing your expertise and leveraging that into leadership over others.
There are several potential benefits for entrepreneurs here, including:
However, there are some issues that make thought leadership a more challenging obstacle to overcome. For example:
So how can you overcome these issues and become a thought leader in your own right? The straightforward pieces of advice still apply here; it’s important to create high-quality content, nurture your audience and differentiate yourself from others. But if you want to stand out and overcome the limitations of modern thought leaders, you’ll also need to follow these tips:
Even if you’re the type of person who rolls their eyes when they hear the term “thought leader,” the core principles behind thought leadership can help you succeed as an entrepreneur. Look past the buzzword-y nature of the concept and focus on the tenets that can make you stand out.
Originally appeared in Entrepreneur