Ever wondered what makes an influential blogger? Why do certain people attract more Facebook and Twitter followers? Why do people automatically turn to certain websites when they’re looking for information?
One thing to keep in mind is that those blog posts were written by a real person having real-life experiences. That website was put together and is being updated daily by writers, editors etc. Those popular Facebook and Twitter accounts are the result of the popularity of the people who set them up.
It’s the people behind these websites, blogs and social media pages that are the thought leaders. And they have certain habits that you could learn from, if you are aiming to be a thought leader yourself.
- Sharing Your Experiences: When people write blogs, articles and social media comments, they’re sharing what they’re going through, whether it’s something interesting or not. A lot of us think, “What’s the point of writing about that? No one’s going to be interested in it.” So we dismiss our ideas even before they get off the ground. If you want to be a thought leader, you have to assume that people are going to be interested in what you say. So you have to share the things you go through and the lessons you learn from them, if any. The experience doesn’t have to be great or special for you to write about it. Keep this in mind and keep writing, if you want to be a thought leader.
- Sharing Your Knowledge: Another thing that thought leaders don’t hesitate to do is share their knowledge. You might be great at the field in which you work, your hobby or your personal life. Maybe you have a knack for beauty. In that case, you could share a number of tips and tricks with your readers in order to help them look beautiful too. You might be a great cook. In that case, you probably have some novel ideas up your sleeve, such as the magic ingredient to make certain dishes. You need to be generous with the things you know if you want to become a thought leader. You can’t keep all the great ideas to yourself or there isn’t going to be any reason for people to read your blog or go to your social media account.
- Trying New Things: Another thing that thought leaders do quite often is trying out new things. They’re always experimenting in some way. To take the above example, if you’re into beauty, you’re probably always going to be trying out new beauty products, treatments etc. A thought leader is someone who does this just because they find it interesting, not because they want to write about it. However, they do eventually write about it in order to share the new knowledge they’ve gained with their readers.
- Networking: You don’t absolutely have to network in order to be a thought leader. You can come up with great things to share with your readers without talking to anybody else. However, the fact is that thought leaders do generally speak to people about what they’re trying to do. Not only does this help them to get new ideas, it might also lead into alliances with people. To take the above example again, let’s assume that you’re a beauty blogger. In that case, you might be in touch with companies that produce beauty products. This will give you a chance to review them for your readers. You might also be networking with other bloggers or people in the industry. This could result in guest blogs, interviews etc. which your readers would find interesting.
- Interacting: Thought leaders don’t just write blogs or social media comments that are read by people. They also interact with their readers. They invite comments from people and often respond to them, sometimes in the form of a separate blog post. You’ll find a lot of thought leaders beginning their posts with words like, “A number of you wrote in to ask me such-and-such question. So I thought I’d respond with this blog post.” Thought leaders recognize that there are many avenues left to be explored. As a result, they’re interested in knowing and addressing the issues that their readers are thinking about.
- Being Disciplined: Thought leaders become thought leaders because they’re disciplined. You might know a great deal about your field. You might be naturally talented. But unless you keep blogging, tweeting or writing articles about it, no one’s going to know how talented you are. If you’re familiar with the Sherlock Holmes stories written by Arthur Conan Doyle (and recently made into the brilliant TV series, “Sherlock” featuring Benedict Cumberbatch) you’ll know that Sherlock had a brother named Mycroft who was actually much more observant than even Sherlock himself. He could tell everything about a person from a first glance. However, he was lazy and couldn’t bring himself to run around investigating things, so he didn’t become a detective like Sherlock. If you want to achieve a certain aim, you have to keep doing what’s necessary to achieve it. You have to be disciplined about setting up and updating your internet presence if you want to be a thought leader.
- Following Your Instincts: Sometimes, you do have that little niggling voice inside your head telling you not to do something. Or it might just be a voice that’s pushing you in a certain direction. Many of us don’t listen to that voice and regret it later. However, thought leaders have generally honed their instincts so that they know what direction they should be moving in. Malcolm Gladwell writes about a similar process in his book, Blink. He suggests that you should pay attention to your first reactions to people, places or things if you want to move in a direction that you don’t end up regretting later.
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