You probably have tons of thoughts and opinions. What if sharing them with the world could position you as an expert and help you earn more money? It’s entirely possible with a few strategic efforts.

“Social media has lowered the barrier to entry for those interested in becoming thought leaders in 2021. While this means becoming a thought leader is now a feasible reality for all, it also means you will face more competition to stand out in the saturated market,” says Kyle Elliott, a LinkedIn award-winning job search expert and career coach.

“Bolstering your thought leadership can dramatically increase your earning potential. As a business owner, thought leadership can position you as a leader in your industry and enable you to charge more money for your products and services. As an employee, thought leadership can position you as top talent and help you secure competitive roles with increased earning potential.”

Here are some of Elliott’s tried-and-tested tips to become a thought leader and increase your earning potential.

1. Continuously develop yourself

“The key with thought leadership is to continually be developing yourself and your unique value proposition. You want to stay on top of industry trends as well as contribute distinct insights that people cannot find elsewhere. This helps make you irreplaceable, which drives up your value,” he says.

From subscribing to industry podcasts and newsletters to taking online courses and attending conferences, the constant pursuit of personal and professional development opportunities will give you an edge and foster unique viewpoints you can then share with the world.

2. Start sharing your insights

You might think that people are not going to care about what you have to say. But the irony is that to build credibility, you have to start sharing your insights long before anyone sees you as a thought leader.

“While it sounds simple, one of the best ways to become a thought leader is to simply begin sharing and publicizing your insights. You cannot be a thought leader if you are not sharing your thoughts,” says Elliott.

“This can include writing articles and blog posts, posting content on LinkedIn and other social media platforms, being a guest on podcasts and radio shows, and speaking at conferences and industry events.”

Don’t fall into the trap of aiming for perfection. You’ll get better and better at your craft when you start putting content out there.

3. Go multi-platform

Creating content is great, but you also want to maximize your distribution levers by being visible on multiple social platforms.

“Leverage multiple social media platforms as well as long-form content to further differentiate yourself as a thought leader. You do not want to be stuck only being able to reach your target audience on a single platform,” shares Elliott.

“Instead, you want to be able to reach them, as well as new people, through a variety of mediums in case a social media platform or medium becomes defunct.”

4. Book public speaking gigs

Booking public speaking gigs is one of the best ways to create impactful connections with potential employers or clients. Research relevant events and pitch yourself as a speaker with one of your core areas of knowledge and key message. Project confidence in front of the audience along with your key message.

“Public speaking engagements are an underrated yet high-impact opportunity to reach, engage, and convert your target audience. Rather than wait for podcast hosts or conference organizers to invite you to speak, consider pitching yourself to be a speaker and share your expertise with their audience,” according to Elliott.

5. Narrow down your focus

Focusing on your main message is also key for attracting and growing an audience while building your brand as a thought leader.

“Avoid the mistake of attempting to position yourself as a thought leader on too many topics. The key to being an effective and successful thought leader is choosing one or two key areas that you can confidently speak to and from an angle that is different from others in your industry.”

Lacking inspiration? Think about topics you could spend hours discussing. Reflect on things you strongly disagree with and why. Ask yourself what you do best and what your coworkers tend to come to you for. Your core message lies at the intersection of your strengths, experience, interests and values.

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