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How to be a Thought Leader

by Pete Mosley

Published: January 2018

How to be a Thought Leader

Pete Mosley, Business Editor of craft&design

Not sure what a thought leader is? You do know, because you consume thought leadership every day – you may simply have never realized what it is. You may already be practising thought leadership yourself in some small ways.

A thought leader notices and comments on ideas and themes that are of interest to their niche – and comments consistently over time in such a way as to develop an audience for themselves, their company or their brand.

So how can you do this yourself? First pick a topic that relates to your work, For example, if you are a potter you may wish to share information about glazes or kiln firing or different techniques. Then start collecting links to other people’s posts about that topic. Then share their posts on your social media feed, interleaving them with your own. This adds value to your stream, and saves you having to constantly come up with new ideas for your stream on a daily basis.

It’s about delivering something of value to your clients and customers that aligns with your core interests and expertise. By doing this you go beyond selling a product or service and begin to establish yourself as an expert in that field. This makes people think about you differently in significant ways. They get to like your point of view and look out for the contributions you make. Over time, you become the ‘go to’ person when people are looking for information on a specific topic.


One of the great things about thought leadership is you don’t need to be well-known or famous in order to establish yourself. You can start in tiny ways and build this up over time. What do you notice each day? What do you find yourself sharing on Facebook and Twitter? Is there a consistent theme to this? One component of thought leadership is the consistency of what you share.

Selling without selling

Thought leadership allows you to create a consistent narrative. This storytelling will allow your customers to connect with you and your values. If you interweave information about your own products and services with your thought leadership posts you completely change the way your social media works – you move away from selling all the time to a stronger position where your sales posts are more likely to be read because people like and respect the other things you are posting about too.

Engaging with a variety of learning styles.

Do you like sharing audio, video or narrative (articles and links to things that others have written)? Many thought leaders choose a specific form of sharing – podcasts, say, or videos on a YouTube channel. Or, you can blend what you do across all learning styles – this can be quite a successful technique to build an audience quickly.

Creating Original material.

To become a top notch thought leader, you must work towards creating original material – the very best bloggers work on this principle – and don’t just write about themselves or their own product/output. They have an opinion – or interview others and share a range of opinion around a topic.

People often say to me, ‘why do you share so much – aren’t you worried people will steal your ideas?’ Hmmm…for me, it’s a no-brainer…isn’t sharing the currency of our humanity, of culture. This sharing of knowledge will earn you respect and help you build the relationships you need to sustain your business.

There’s another article about building customer loyalty in the series.




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