Owning your own business means taking responsibility for every aspect of running your company. That burden will likely include tasks that are not directly related to your actual expertise but are necessary for continued growth, such as personal branding and marketing.
An effective way to market yourself online is to establish yourself as an industry thought leader—an influencer whose content is shared and respected by a large number of people. As a thought leader, you can build influence, respect, and recognition for your company and for your brand. Follow these four steps to start your journey to becoming an online influencer.
1. Create Original Content
Creating content is a great way to establish your expertise, but before you dive in head first take some time to think about the subjects that your target audience is interested in reading and learning about. This will help to shape your topics of focus.
The content you share with your online audience needs to be unique and showcase your own expertise and opinions. While it’s okay to use information from other blogs, articles, or online research, seek to make your blog more than a simple rewrite of what you find. Instead, add your own unique insight or twist. Creating original content that reflects your expert views on industry trends will help to position yourself as a thought leader.
2. Find Your Unique Voice
The content you produce should reflect your own voice. Whether you have an academic or more humorous approach, letting your true personality shine through in your writing will help your audience feel a more personal connection. Coupled with original content, a unique voice will help your audience begin to trust you as an expert in your field.
3. Create a Variety of Content
While blogs are a good way to discuss the latest industry trends, consider publishing a variety of content. Long-form content such as an annual eBook or white paper can help establish you as an industry authority. Offer this long-form content as an incentive for email subscribers or provide it as a free download on your website. If writing is really your thing, go the extra mile by writing a book, self-publishing it, and offering it for sale on your site.
4. Contribute to Guest Blogs
One of the fastest ways to be seen as a thought leader is to be accepted as a fellow expert by other thought leaders who are already established in your industry. Find influencers in your field and contact them, asking if you can write a guest blog on their site. Not only will this open up new audiences for you, but it will also help to firmly establish your names among the experts in your industry.
As an independent professional, you need to maximize every second of your workday. Becoming a thought leader is an efficient form of online marketing. As a thought leader with an audience of devoted followers, word will spread about you and your services even while you’re busy running your business.