In part 1 of the series of How to Become a Thought Leader, I discuss the importance and general goal of being thought leaders, as well as posting content on LinkedIn and Pulse. However, there is another way to build your personal brand: blogging.
In the public relations and marketing world, there is a phrase which all practitioners come to learn--"Content is king." Blogging allows you to act as a syndicate of your own content and allows people to access to your content through the World Wide Web. Blogging platforms exist in abundance and include Blogger, WordPress, and Tumblr. Each of these sites has its own list of privacy and ownership rights, and other restrictions. You should be read them very carefully to prevent accidentally surrendering your rights to your own content. Each website also utilizes advertisements differently, affecting the overall look and feel of your blog. Before committing to any particular software, I suggest checking out several platforms so that you can choose the blog most tailored to your personal style and audience.
If you are worried that your blog will lay unnoticed despite great content, there are ways around such a predicament. Huffington Post allows professionals to apply for blogs so bloggers can take advantage of the publication's immensely powerful search engine optimization (SEO). Other online publications, including Yahoo Finance, Entertainment Weekly, and Forbes also allow for syndication through their online networks. Each has its own built-in readership, thus increasing the number of people who view your posts, your chance of being linked to or cited, and consequently your notoriety in the subject matter. While being part of a syndication network can hold great benefits, you might be wondering what happens to those who are unable to get accepted by one?
One way into closed online syndication networks is guest blogging. An individual first looks for a blogger, preferably an editor, whose work is popular and in the area of expertise you'd like to contribute. You then pitch an article idea to them and ask if the blogger would be willing to publish it through their syndication network. Both parties benefit because the work is attributed to the author and connected to the guest blogger, allowing them to acquire more content and therefore more notoriety. Many syndication networks privilege applicants who have already written for the network as guest bloggers. This is especially the case with Forbes.com and Yahoo Finance, both of whom retain highly exclusive syndication networks.
Thought leadership is therefore simply branding oneself. This article, part two in my series, discusses only a few of the multitude of paths to defining yourself in the job and entrepreneurial markets. As you utilize these techniques, you will find that as you gain a reputation, it becomes easier to build on that reputation. Eventually, you will become synonymous with what you do, becoming a product of fascination in your respective field.
Part 3 of the series will discuss how to get published in newspapers and how to go about applying to a syndicate, which can make your editorial work available for publication to thousands of newspapers at once.