Thought leadership is not just about being known for something… That’s too self-serving and myopic.
Thought leadership is about being known for serving, for meeting the needs of your target audience.
Understanding this key difference will help us a lot in our personal branding process. It is a cornerstone of our personal branding!
I started off on my personal branding journey thinking that establishing thought leadership is just about getting known for my areas of expertise. As a coach focusing on 2 areas: helping people in the areas of personal branding and empowering them with a positive mindset to become happier in life.
However, creating content (for the sake of it) soon became a bit of a drag and a burden… I wasn’t enjoying it at all.
Then I came across this reminder about what thought leadership is really about, and I had a great revelation! Or rather, it is like a smack on my head…
Let me offer you a step by step guide to building your own thought leadership.
1. Know what problems and pain your target audience is facing
You will have to be crystal clear on the exact problems and pain that your target audience is facing.
If I ask you, can you list down exactly what problems and pain do your target audience face, would you be able to answer with clarity and certainty?
If you don’t know what is the exact problems and pain, then do your research.
Ask your target audience exactly what they will pay money to solve.
But you will also have to bear in mind that sometimes people don’t know what they want.
This is where the top leaders have an unfair advantage: they are intuitive and creative, and act fast to enjoy the first mover’s advantage.
In this “New Normal”, fear and survival is at the top of most people’s minds.
But different demographics will experience fear for different reasons. You have to figure out exactly what your target audience is worried or fearful about.
2. Come up with a solution to address both the problem AND the pain
You have to have the necessary expertise and ability to come up with a creative solution to the problem and the pain.
But bear in mind this: people always pay money to address a pain.
People don’t know that they have a problem; until someone else comes to them with a solution after they have suffered enough from the pain that the problem is causing.
Can you innovate and create a solution, if there is nothing existing in the market?
What kind of solutions do people need in this “New Normal”?
How will your solution still remain relevant in spite of the changes in consumption behaviour?
Can you tap on resources to help you create a solution?
If you can come up with a solution, congratulations!
3. Offer your solution strategically
They say that if you are good at something, don’t do it for free.
I don’t fully agree. Out of the abundance of your heart, you can and you should be generous.
But there is something you need to be aware: be highly intentional when offering something for free.
Make sure that your seeds are sown on good, fertile ground, that can produce fruit.
Don’t ever give away something to someone that will never ever appreciate it.
(Of course, I have done that many times before, that is why I am sharing here, in the hopes that you don’t make the same mistakes as I do).
For me, I only offer free coaching to people who absolutely cannot afford it. For example, the less advantaged in society. It is a way for me to give back to the society, and I am really happy doing that.
One of my core values is this: it is more blessed to give than to receive. Even so, I am aware that I have to be a good steward of my resources, and choose to sow my seeds wisely.
4. Be consistent
Be consistent in honing your expertise in the niche area, as well as improving on the solutions that you can offer.
Being consistent also means that you don’t practice double standards. What you preach, you practice.
People see what you do more than hear what you say.
This is especially true in the “New Normal”, when digital communication plays a bigger role in our personal branding.
A quick Google search can often uncover things that can prove your character’s integrity, or lack thereof.
If you need some clarity, feel free to reach out to me here.