Thought leaders like Selim Zherka are people who are known for their innovative solutions and ideas. They are experts in certain specializations and people within their industry come to them for their thoughts. So how are they different from regular experts?
Selim Zherka on What Sets a Thought Leader Apart
Thought leaders are recognized by other experts, journalists, and companies for their knowledge. This isn’t because they are good at marketing themselves, but rather because they have proven time and again that they come up with the right ideas, and that they truly understand their business. Usually, the only advertisements for them are through word of mouth.
How to Become a Thought Leader
If you want to be a thought leader, your first step is to become more generous. You have to be willing to share your information for free with people who want it. You also have to be willing to embrace change, recognizing it before anyone else. Next, you need to build networks with industry editors and journalists, who are happy to share your knowledge in publications. This will ensure others read your knowledge and come to see you as a thought leader.
Getting quoted by the press is really important, but so is constantly writing new pieces of information with your latest thoughts. Commercial white papers that showcase your ideas, and articles that highlight your unique insights are vitally important. You also have to be willing to embrace the unusual, taking risks on controversial topics because you believe that is where the next change will be.
Once you have committed your thoughts to paper, you need to make sure they are widely published. You should do so for free, ensuring anyone with an interest in your opinion can get to it straight away. Hence, you should also have your own website and encourage industry leaders, customers, organizations, and businesses to bookmark it and regularly checkback for new information. You must make all of this very easy, so you should also link it to social media pages, thereby ensuring people never miss your latest thought or insight. And you have to be willing to speak to people and answer their questions about your publications as well.
Indeed, availability is of key importance. The more you establish yourself as a thought leader, the more in demand you will become. And this is also where you can finally start to make a living. As invitations to become public speaker, keynote speaker, or panel expert start to pour in, all of which you should accept, by the way, you may also be able to receive remuneration for this. And, eventually, your skills will become sought after in the world of consultancy, where businesses will fight over having you and your innovative ideas as part of their overall change management strategy.
It takes time to be a thought leader, but it is time worth spending. The personal pride of being the recognized expert on a certain subject alone makes it all worthwhile.