3 Ways to Build Thought Leadership as a Consultant

By MBO Partners | July 30, 2020

consultants working in office

You’re already an expert in your field, but are you a thought leader? That’s a question every successful or aspiring small business should ask. Marketing is changing along with the internet, and producing content that reaches your audience is fast becoming a necessity for solo businesses.

As a self-employed professional, you may already be an expert in your field, but are you a thought leader as well? That’s a question every successful or aspiring small business should ask. The modern marketing game is changing, and producing content that reaches your audience is fast becoming a necessity for solo businesses.

Influence and reputation are two keys to success as an independent business, and there are clear steps a business of one can take to improve these areas. One way to enhance your reputation and elevate your independent consultancy is by developing a thought leadership platform.

A planned approach that integrates social media, content marketing, and creative ideas can ease your transition to becoming a subject matter expert. That transition, from “good” consultant to sought-after expert, will give you a competitive edge and make you more visible to clients.

What is a thought leader?

Thought leaders inspire others with innovative ideas, which they then turn into reality. Their goal is to replicate and scale their efforts by creating a dedicated community of loyal friends, fans, and followers to help them create sustainable change.

4 benefits of being a thought leader

There are many benefits to thought leadership, including:

  1. Increased and more meaningful access to people, opportunities, and the media
  2. Establishment as an industry leader
  3. Becoming a “trusted resource” to key people and businesses
  4. Shaping the conversations taking place in your industry

Thought leadership can be a significant competitive advantage for independent professionals.

3 Ways to build thought leadership

The three primary ways to build thought leadership are: 

1. Get noticed

Build thought leadership by participating in activities that bring you exposure, promote your business, and give you a platform to communicate your expertise. A list of these activities can be found in our guide.

2. Find your audience

Going where there is already traffic gives you an instant platform for sharing your expertise. Join forums, use social media, participate in events—whatever it takes to go where your target audience is.

3. Teach others

Teaching others to “become you” can take your thought leadership to the next level. First, codify what you do; put it down on paper in the form of frameworks, best practices or even a manifesto. Then, build your thought leadership platform by sharing this information widely. You may do this through writing, speaking, and/or teaching. Next, consider how you can get others to take what you do and do it for their respective audiences. License or certify others in your methodologies using a train-the-trainer model. This can also provide a secondary income stream.

To learn more about these strategies and get other tips, download our guide. 

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