Why Writing a Book Is the Most Powerful Step In Becoming a Thought Leader
It's the best business card you'll ever have.
Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.
For many entrepreneurs, few things are better than becoming a "thought leader" in their niche. Obviously, you need a solid base of industry knowledge and a proven capacity to generate successful results for your own business if you want others to value your opinions.
But you should also write a book. While it may not be the first thing that comes to mind when trying to establish your personal brand and grow your following, it could ultimately be the most powerful tool in your arsenal.
A book is an outlet for sharing (and growing) your knowledge
Your experiences in life — including those outside of work — have provided you with unique insights that no one else has. It's one thing to share these insights in one-on-one conversations. With a book, you can significantly expand your reach, getting your thoughts into the hands of people you've never even interacted with.
However, there's more to writing a book than putting pen to the page. To create an authoritative book that establishes you as a true expert in your field, you'll have to do a fair amount of research. As you learn from case studies and statistics, you'll develop new insights that expand your current base of knowledge.
As consultant and author Anne Janzer writes on her blog, "Personally, I don't know what I really think about a topic until I start writing about it. I discover new connections and angles while doing the hard work of writing and think of how to communicate with others. When approached in this way (and with a growth mindset), the act of writing deepens your perspective on the topic."
As great as it is that a book gives you an outlet to share your knowledge, it is even more valuable in your journey to becoming a thought leader because it helps you think more deeply and critically.
Related: How to Write a Book (and Actually Finish It) in 5 Steps
Writing a book provides authority
In an increasingly skeptical world, writing a book helps you become a trusted figure that others in your industry will turn to with greater frequency. People are constantly looking for someone who can be a reliable source of information, and your writing helps establish your credibility.
People implicitly recognize that writing a book requires a lot of time, research and personal knowledge. Because of this, becoming published lends an instant dose of credibility to your personal brand. There's a reason we have the cliche that someone "wrote the book" on a given subject.
Data from Convince and Convert shows that while 53% of people view successful entrepreneurs as "very/extremely credible," that number jumps to 63% for academic experts. As an author, you gain some of that academic credibility that bolsters the authority you already earned through entrepreneurship.
A book provides more publicity opportunities
Industry thought leaders don't just publish content on their own channels. They make appearances on podcasts, write guest articles on industry blogs, speak at conventions and utilize other appearances to share their insights and further grow their brand.
These opportunities don't happen by accident. Quite often, they require active outreach on your part to build up a platform. With a published book under your belt, you have established credibility that makes you a more attractive guest. If your book gains enough traction, you will eventually have podcasts and blogs actively reaching out to you to get your insights.
This creates a winning cycle for you and your book. With more publicity opportunities, you gain valuable exposure to new audiences, many of whom will likely want to learn more from you. They'll buy your book, further cementing their opinion of you as a thought leader. Better still, they'll likely begin to share your content through word of mouth.
All of this ultimately has a snowballing effect. Each publicity opportunity stemming from your book will result in more sales and more publicity opportunities in the future. As these appearances continue to scale, your name will spread far and wide as a legitimate thought leader in your niche.
Related: How to Make Over $100,000 a Month From Writing a Book
Writing a book requires a lot of time and effort, but the results are well worth it. When you write a book that draws from your unique knowledge and experiences to deliver real value to your readers, you can dramatically boost how others perceive you. A quality business book will open new doors that allow you to become a true leader in your niche — so get started today.