Anyone Can Become A Thought Leader

Everyone can become a thought leader. You are no exception. All it takes is that you make a bold decision and figure out a plan that you follow consistently.

It sounds simple. Yes, in theory, it is simple. In practice, however, it takes patience and hard work – just like in the sports world. “My, what a pleasant surprise. Gold medal in 4×100 relay” said no pro athlete ever.

No, the other side of the medal is covered by sweat, blood, and tears – and if you draw a timeline from the moment the medalist stands on the podium and back in time, you will always find that a decision was made about reaching that goal.

Within Reach

It is my contention that thought leadership (expert status) is an attainable goal for any company or person who possesses subject matter expertise. From a marketing strategic standpoint, it is a very attractive position to be in, especially if cultivating and promoting the organization’s intellectual capital is important.

To be seen as the wearer of the black belt in XYZ makes you more attractive in the eyes of potential customers, who compare you to your competitors – and, it also attracts the greatest talents to your business.

3 Tips To Aspiring Thought Leaders

What can you do today in order to become the industry’s go-to person or go-to place? Here are my three tips:

1. Stop and think

You already have the expertise, but are you willing to pay the price to obtain expert status? Are you willing to make a commitment and put in the hours needed to build an audience and deliver quality content to them over time? Are you willing to have your opinions challenged in social media and commentaries? Last, but not least: Are you passionate about the message you want to convey? Passion is an essential driving force and people will notice whether you are truly inspired or not. If the answer to these questions is yes, there is not much stopping you from making a decision about becoming a thought leader. Go for it!

2. Establish a digital platform

In order to reach an audience with a message, you need a podium to speak from. Remember that thought leadership is all about sharing useful and valuable content with your target audience. The corporate website is probably not the right venue for this type of content since the context is more “salesy”. A blog where you publish articles on a weekly basis is a great way to start. Remember, you need followers in order to be a thought leader. Make sure that you have a conversion mechanism in place – one of the most important KPIs for your blog should be converting visitors into subscribers. Read up on inbound marketing for concrete advice on how to do this.

3. Create and distribute high-quality content

Thought leaders lead thought“. A survey by Grist (2016) has summed up which qualities leaders find most valuable in thought leadership content:

  1. Fresh thinking
  2. Forward-thinking
  3. Evidence-led
  4. Action-oriented
  5. Authentic


You already have the expertise. Communicating it is the next step. Will you dare to make the leap? It could earn you the status as an industry expert with all the perks that come along with it. Start a blog and begin writing articles or making videos that provide value to your target group. Teach, inform and inspire. I’d love to hear your comments below!

This article was first published on LinkedIn Pulse (link)

About the Author

Erlend Førsund
Erlend Førsund is a digital marketing strategist, blogger and author. He is CMO of MarkedsPartner, a Norwegian digital marketing agency and HubSpot Diamond Partner.

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