Leveraging the Thought Leadership Spectrum

What is thought leadership, anyway? 

Thought leadership can be an elusive beast for businesses. But it doesn’t have to be.

You are already, whether you realise it now or not, an expert (or thought leader) in something. You just might not know what it is yet. Most people spend a lifetime trying to find a passion, but in the wise words of Mark Manson: “screw finding your passion” - you already found it.

Your passion is where you’re already spending your time. It’s what you think about when you lie in bed at night, it’s what you choose to spend your time doing, and how you choose to spend your money.

They say that to become an expert in any given field, you have to have spend 10,000 hours studying it (whether formally or informally). Think about where the majority your time and energy is being spent, and you will likely uncover your passion. We’ve said this to a few people and they’ve responded (only half jokingly): “Yeah, that’s great, but I can’t go around getting paid to shop, eat and drink wine!”

Our answer: Yes you can. If that’s what you’re truly passionate about, there is a way to monetise it. What about personal shoppers, food bloggers and wine connoisseurs? I rest my case. If you don’t believe it’s possible to get paid to do what you love, you’re just not thinking big enough.

Give the people what they want

You are a thought leader in your field of passion, whatever that may be. Your job now, is to tell people about it. In fact, if your passion or area of expertise can help others, then I would go as far as to say that you have an obligation to tell the world about it. Thought leadership is broadly defined as being a ‘go-to’ person in your field of expertise. This doesn’t mean that you have to be on live TV or radio talking about your speciality. You already have your own sphere of influence that you can talk to and lead.

Start by posting once a week on your personal Facebook or Instagram page about the field you’re an expert in. People will start to take notice. Tell the world what you really believe on certain subjects, and don’t be afraid to be a little bit contrary - sometimes thought leadership requires you to push the boundaries.

Thought leadership is integral to your business success. We know it can be scary to ‘put yourself out there’ but as a business owner in the internet age, you simply have to. The more you do it, the more comfortable you will be with the concept.

The thought leadership spectrum

When it comes to thought leadership, there is a spectrum to consider. One of biggest marketing thought leaders of our time, Russel Brunson, describes thought leadership in the ability to be prolific in a chosen field. That isn’t to say that a thought leader has to produce masses of content, but it means that they speak of unique ideas that aren’t ‘safe’, universal or generic.

On the other end of the spectrum, you have the Crazy Zone - this is where a person’s ideas are so outrageous that they are unbelievable, and therefore don’t carry enough weight and credibility to be adopted en masse by the market.

The Prolific Zone is the ‘sweet spot’, where ideas are new and unique, but not boring and safe, and not crazy enough to be discarded as nonsense. For you to really excel as a thought leader, you need to work up to and own the Prolific Zone in your own market.

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Ps. We’re now recognised as a top Branding Agency on DesignRush