Are you a Thought Leader?

While it’s great to have a business blog, it’s easy to fall into the trap of posting whatever you can in order to stick to your blogging “schedule.” Newsjacking is great, certainly, but if you’re just writing about any news event you can in order to loosely tie it to some product or service, you risk losing readership, and worse, devaluing your influence.

It’s important that if you want to be a Thought Leader in your industry, you take the time to develop your thoughts and publish information that will educate, entertain and engage your readers.

Think about the issues you’ve worked through yourself in the past with your business and talk about those. Share your challenges and how you struggled to get through them, but what you did eventually to achieve success. Or, sometimes even more enlightening, share your failures, and how you’re working never to experience that particular failure again.

An old Afghan proverb I heard on the radio last week said, “If you think you’re leading, and no one’s following, you’re just going for a walk.

Not every business owner wants to be considered a Thought Leader. If you’re using your blog to make sure that your website is “fresh” and as a different way to communicate and market to your customers, there’s nothing wrong with that. For those that do want to be Thought Leaders though, and for those that achieve that level of success, the rewards can be great. To be a Thought Leader, one must be a leader! Are you providing ideas and sharing assistance? Are you giving other people direction and purpose? Are you innovative?

These are the qualities that a Thought Leader possesses.

Think about what it means to be a Thought Leader in your own industry, specifically. Who are your current Thought Leaders? Are you following them, reading their blogs and books? You might even check out LinkedIn’s thought leader section as a start, if you’re not sure who you should be reading.

As a Social Media Strategist, I am blessed to have quite a few individuals that I can regularly follow and read, and even monitor what they’re doing online for inspiration and leadership. Other industries aren’t quite so public in their activity, so it might be more challenging to find your leaders, but find them you will. As you read and study what others are doing, and continue to write and publish your own thoughts, you will refine and clarify your own perspectives and develop your unique brand of Thought Leadership.

Image courtesy of FMG2008, Flickr.