Become a Thought Leader

Edward Segal, CAE, contributed today’s post. He helps associations generate publicity about their events and activities.

Becoming a thought leader can pay important dividends for you and your organization. It can help draw favorable attention to your organization and its products and services; create or reinforce your image and reputation; and help increase your bottom line.

Here are five steps you can take to become a thought leader in your industry, profession, or in the eyes of the general public.

Be an expert

• Select topics or issues about which you have knowledge.

• Have or develop a track record of writing or speaking about your topics or issues to groups and organizations in the industries or professions in which you want to be considered a thought leader.

• Stay ahead of the curve by thinking about your field beyond today and sharing predictions or forecasts that illustrate your authority in the field.

Be a joiner

• Join or lead groups and organizations that are more likely to help establish your role as a thought leader.

• Volunteer to serve on committees or task forces that can bolster your expertise and add to your credentials as an authority.

Be visible

• Identify, create and take advantage of appropriate opportunities for you to be seen as an expert or authority, including speeches, presentations, and media, blog, and podcast interviews.

• Post on your website or social media platforms links to articles, interviews, speeches, etc., that you have done about your areas of specialty.

• Practice your ability to prepare and deliver short, pithy and memorable quotes that will be used by journalists and bloggers in their stories about or interviews with you.

Be a student

• Keep current on the trends and developments in the areas in which you are or want to be considered an authority.

• Study other thought leaders inside and outside your industry or profession. What can you learn from their successes that you can apply to your own efforts to become or stay a thought leader?

Be persistent

• Identify or create new opportunities to position yourself as an authority and expert.

• Maintain a blog to which you post on a regular basis, and install a widget so that people can be notified about each new post.

• Reinforce your role as a thought leader in ways that you have not done before, such as writing a book, starting a blog, becoming a public speaker, or proactively seeking media interviews and speaking opportunities.

• Set monthly, quarterly or annual goals and milestones of important activities and accomplishments that can help you become and remain a thought leader.

• Becoming a thought leader can be a self-fulfilling prophecy. The more you act like you are a thought leader, the more likely it is you will become one.

Edward Segal works with clients to help them stand out from the crowd by creating and taking advantage of PR opportunities; attracting the interest of the media; generating publicity about their activities and accomplishments; writing attention-getting op-eds and other press materials; and coaching them on how to deal with reporters, deliver successful presentations, and make memorable presentations. He is the former CEO of the Beverly Hills/Greater Los Angeles Association of REALTORS® and Communications Director and CEO of the Marin County Association of REALTORS®. He is also the author of two PR handbooks including Getting Your 15 Minutes of Fame and Profit by Publicity , and a contributing editor for Present with Power, Punch and Pizzazz. Reach Edward at

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