How to Become a Thought Leader on LinkedIn

Becoming a thought leader on LinkedIn is easier said than done. Thought leaders have established a reputation in a specific area and people continuously reference their work for inspiration and guidance. With time, patience and consistency anyone can become a thought leader. You don’t have to be born with supernatural powers or superior intellect to become a thought leader, but you do need drive, vision, and focus.

#1 What do you want to be known for?

What do you want to be known for? Only you can answer this question. Keep in mind, your reputation as a thought leader may or may not be related to your industry. By that I mean you could be an engineer and be a thought leader when it comes to social good and volunteering. You can be a marketer and become a thought leader in coding techniques or finances. I know these look random and that’s okay.

Remember that your career or what you do for a living only makes up one facet of your personal brand. For instance, you could be an RN and be an awesome motivational speaker. You can be a dentist and be really good predicting the stock market. Be careful not to limit yourself to your chosen profession. It’s okay to think outside the box.

Learn more about how to use LinkedIn to prepare for a salary negotiation

#2 Learn more about that topic

If you want to be known for coding or public speaking or anything that piques your interest, you need to invest time and energy into learning about that topic. Make it a point to establish a level of expertise in that area.

Relax.

I’m not telling you to abandon your day job. In fact, don’t.

If you love what you do then keep doing it. Becoming a thought leader on LinkedIn won’t interfere with your ability to be amazing at your job. If anything, it’ll add more richness to your personal brand. You’ll be able to leverage your unique personal experiences and insight.

With that being said, you still need to take time to learn about this topic. It is a time investment. Luckily, LinkedIn makes it easy to do. LinkedIn will let you customize your feed so that relevant content will populate it. Customizing your feed is really easy.

Step 1: Go to the LinkedIn homepage

Step 2: Go to the right-hand section where it says “Add to your feed”

Step 3: Click on “View all Recommendations”

Step 4: Click on topics you find interesting and relevant

Once you go through these four easy steps, your feed will be populated will relevant topics. Now every time you visit LinkedIn, you have a ton of different resources you can use to learn more about your area of interest.

Learn more about how to write an amazing LinkedIn recommendation

#3 Offer unique insights

As you learn more about your area of interest, I’m sure you’ll feel compelled to share. Before you do though, make sure you caption the articles or videos you share with unique insights and takeaways. You don’t have to write an essay, but include a couple of points you think are worth noting. You can take this a step further by including your own personal insight or critic.

For example, if I were sharing an article about a new free tuition program in Texas, I would add insight about how trends like free tuition programs and various other programs that help students complete a degree can help stimulate the economy and build the middle class.

This will help establish your reputation as a thought leader and it gives your peers and colleagues an idea of what you are interested in and where you stand on certain issues.

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#4 Publish original content

This is where you write an essay.

Fortunately, publishing original content is not limited simply writing an amazing article (like the one you’re reading right now). You can also create videos, infographics, and other media to share on LinkedIn. LinkedIn has recently opened up its platform to allow videos to be directly uploaded. (Before you had to publish it on YouTube and share it to LinkedIn.)

If you are considering making a good video, but have no idea how I strongly encourage you to check out Pavi and Nammy at MisFit Communications. They created a short straightforward video on how to make a solid video. They’re seriously awesome you should check them out. (Note: not sponsored, just a serious fan)

Make sure the content you publish is easy to read, free of errors, and actionable. You want your reader to feel like they can apply the skills they learned from your article, video, or infographic directly to their work.

When you publish original content, avoid sounding like a robot. This is the place where you want your personality to come through. You want to come across as authentic. (Yes, you can be authentic and have a personality while being professional. I do it all the time.)

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#5 Be consistent

Don’t pressure yourself to share something profound and awe-inspiring every single day. That can get exhausting. It’s more important to be consistent. That means if you make a habit of sharing an article once a week on Tuesdays then continue with that pattern. If you make a habit of publishing an original article on a weekly basis then keep with that pattern as well. As you start to build a following on LinkedIn people will come to expect a level of consistency in your work. It’s okay if you miss a week, but going ghost for a couple of months can hurt your credibility.

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Above everything else, you need to understand that becoming a thought leader takes time. As the saying goes, it takes 10 years to become an overnight success. It might very well take you ten years. It might take you 5. There’s no telling, but it will take time. You have to be patient and you have to be consistent. Without a doubt, your brand and experience will evolve and grow. You’ll run into other influencers who will challenge you and help you grow in your field as well. If you take the time to enjoy the process, time will fly by.

Who are some of the thought leaders you follow on LinkedIn? What do you want to be known for on LinkedIn? Share your thought in the comments section!

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