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10 Tips to Developing Your Personal Brand Through Thought Leadership Becoming an expert doesn't happen overnight.

By Scott Bartnick

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

What criteria are necessary to be deemed a thought leader in your industry? The answers may vary; however, most people can agree it takes a complex series of experiences — not just successes, but also the kind of setbacks that make you rethink, redesign and restart an endeavor you believe in.

Once you master your craft, your successes will eventually speak for themselves. This process is how thought leaders are born. But thought leaders cannot rely solely on word-of-mouth endorsements. Here are 10 tips to help develop your personal brand and become a top-notch thought leader.

1. Define and refine your area of expertise

This step might seem a little obvious, but most people have a wide range of interests and a vast knowledge base. Being a thought leader requires a narrowed focus in a specific area. You will be best served to whittle down your options to a precise area of expertise. There is some contention regarding whether or not your subject area needs to be distinctive and not over-addressed. Here's one way to look at this issue — even a popular industry has room for an authentic expert who brings knowledge to the table. If you are indeed an innovator in your field, people will listen.

Related: Why Finding Your Niche Is Crucial To Excel And Succeed

2. Build your background and continuing education

Now it's time to do the work. It's your job to become highly proficient in your industry. You must invest time and money into your education by going to seminars and conferences. You must also read ferociously to understand the stance of other leaders in the field. Having a considerable wealth of perspectives on your subject will help develop your unique approach from the expertise of others.

3. Find the best platform to share your message

With so many ways to get the word out — YouTube, TikTok, Instagram, Facebook, podcasting, blogging and more — it is essential to pick what platform will return the most growth. The trick is you only need to be good at one. Instead of trying to be average at all, dive deep and select the best platform for your message and skills.

4. Become a podcaster

One way to promote your notoriety as a thought leader is to become a podcaster. Podcasts have become alluring to the general public. One big draw is the mobility podcasts offer. You can listen from your device anytime and from just about anywhere. Adding this type of accessibility to your brand authority can be a game-changer.

5. Become an author and a guest poster

The more articles you author in your area, the wider your audience will be. Adding continual content in your area of expertise gets your name out there and begins to establish your authority. Publishing a book or ebook on your topic is also a great way to widen your audience and build your status in the industry.

Related: Make Yourself a Star! Turn Yourself Into a Guest Author.

6. Build your social media audience and publish daily

When building your personal brand, don't underestimate the power of social media. Being a devoted social media contributor is almost essential these days. And equally important is the frequency with which you post. Posting every day on your social media is a great way to quickly establish your presence and eventually become known as a thought leader in your industry.

7. Produce high-quality content that helps your audience

Of course, reaching great heights in your field will rely on the quality of your content. Making an effort to follow these other tips will be in vain if what you have to share is not real expertise. Finding worthy content will be addressed with the diligence you put into your education on the topic. However, be aware that your information always needs to be valuable and helpful for your audience.

8. Work with other experts

Interviewing and collaborating with other experts in the field will help in the education aspect of this process. But there's another vital reason to surround yourself with like-minded people — this connection centers you with established, well-known names in the industry and will help expand your reach.

9. Become a speaker

The pandemic shutdown taught us that public speaking didn't necessarily have to be in an event center full of people. Whether it's online or in-person, speaking to the masses and disseminating your wisdom is a tried-and-true way to propel your thought leader status.

10. Mentor others in your space

Mentoring is a win-win arrangement. People who have mentors tend to thrive from the knowledge-sharing relationship. The mentors themselves also benefit from the connection, gaining a new perspective and fresh ideas. Part of building your thought leader status should include having a mentor and then mentoring others in your space.

Being known as an expert in your field is a worthwhile goal with a life-changing journey. The best thought leaders are devoted and passionate about their topic with an overall purpose to help others in areas where they shine.

Related: The Art of Mentorship: 3 Steps for Building Business Leaders

Scott Bartnick

Entrepreneur Leadership Network® Contributor

COO at Otter PR

Scott Bartnick has been nationally recognized for his business acumen. He is a nationally renowned author, ecommerce specialist and media expert. As co-founder of Otter PR, a multi-million dollar media agency, he works with top thought leaders and brands to break into mainstream media.

Want to be an Entrepreneur Leadership Network contributor? Apply now to join.

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