What is a thought leader?

Samantha Bryant
May 2, 2022
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Put your passion to purpose as a thought leader in your field.

Hey you. Yeah. You. Did you know that you can be a thought leader in your industry? A thought leader, or influencer, is someone who can offer unique guidance, inspires innovation, and influences others based on their expertise and perspective in their industry. While it may sound like typical corporate jargon, becoming a thought leader is an important aspect of becoming a respected source in your field and industry. 

Who else knows your industry inside and out? Who has the tips and pointers in your field? As a business owner, establishing yourself as a thought leader is an important step to helping your business and industry flourish. 

Why should I aim to be a thought leader?

There are many reasons to have the ultimate goal of becoming a thought leader. The benefits of being a thought leader are endless and include:

*Creates increased brand awareness

*An opportunity to secure partnership opportunities

*Expanding target demographics and casting a wider net to reach your desired audience

*Provides a way to set yourself apart in your industry - when people think of a certain industry, they will turn to you

*Builds credibility and trust 

*We live in a world of content creation, the more information you put out that relates to your industry the more likely it is that you will be referenced 

With the appropriate tactics, dedication, patience, and an open mind - you can easily become a thought leader in your field. A successful thought leader is always open to learning more about their field and continuing to educate themselves on every aspect of the industry. 

How do I become a thought leader?

So, how do you become a thought leader? This is where your trusted PR professional steps onto the scene. Whether that be assistance in sharing tips and knowledge with the press, helping you submit op-ed pieces with your input on timely topics, discovering speaking opportunities, and staying on top of trends relevant to your industry - all of these elements are what creates a thought leader. As a thought leader, your goal is to be the expert source that can be the voice of your industry. Below is an overview of how PR can help establish you as a thought leader. 

Media Relations

Media relations is an important element to earn “thought leader” status. Present yourself as an expert source to ensure that reporter’s know who to turn to when a particular news story topic comes up. Media coverage establishes your credibility as a thought leader whether that be inclusion in print, online, or broadcast outlets. Topics to cover can include product announcements, events relevant to your business, perspective on news stories and trends, and breaking news input. 

Public Speaking

In addition to media opportunities, present yourself as a leader by seeking public speaking opportunities to further dive into your industry knowledge. This may look like being a keynote speaker at a conference, participation in a panel discussion, and attending various networking opportunities with speaking engagements. All industries are constantly evolving, so stay in the loop and get ahead of these trends by adding your relevant insight.

Seek Publishing

Similar to media relations, a published article further ensures credibility. Now, what if that article was written by you? Offer to guest post on various industry-related blogs and outlets relevant to your industry, this will further position yourself as a thought leader. Distribute weekly newsletters with additional information to your contacts. Create content for your own blog as well. Submit your insight to a newspaper’s op-ed section. This will allow for freedom of expression and your personal perspective on current topics. Participate in podcasts and webinars as well to elevate your voice. 

Become a Podcaster

Go a step beyond being a guest on a podcast, and create your own podcast. Host a podcast related to topics in your field and have guests join to offer their insight. Narrow down your niche, choose a name for your podcast, find your intro and outro music, select your equipment, record and edit, use a trusted host, then send to Apple Podcasts. 

Social Media

Social media provides a wonderful soundboard for you to add your expertise and stay in the loop on trends. Between Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Instagram, and TikTok - there are a plethora of channels and audiences for you to connect with to establish thought leadership. You can connect with others in your field and share additional information. Use your platforms to share your media coverage, guest blogs, speaking opportunities, and more. This will also provide a wonderful resource to learn about potential upcoming speaking and guest blogging opportunities.   


Find various networking events that fit within your industry. There you will meet with like-minded individuals and find opportunities to further establish yourself as a thought leader. Networking events may also provide a great public speaking outlet. You can present topics related to your industry that will help others in the field.

The Bottom Line

As with all things, becoming a thought leader takes time, patience, and persistence. You will not become a thought leader overnight. Look beyond your day-to-day tasks, clarify your area of expertise, listen to others always, and be open to constantly evolving and learning. If you take the time to focus on becoming an expert source with the avenues list above you will be well on your way to becoming a thought leader in your field. 

A photo of Samantha Bryant
Samantha Bryant
Samantha Bryant Public Relations
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