As a thought leader, corporate decision makers, policymakers and media institutions depend on your research to support changes and ideas happening in the world. You’re called upon for two reasons: 1) to use theories and data to explain circumstances, and 2) because you are trustworthy and rely on academic rigor to support your claims. However, it’s up to you to sustain your credibility and build it into an image (your brand).
If your goal is to become known as an authority in a particular field or area of focus, you need a thought leadership strategy. Here are a few ways you can build your brand.
- Social media. Not only are Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn platforms great mediums for conversing and engaging with your students, but they’re also reputation builders. Expand your network. Contribute to the dialogue in your space. Lead the conversation! Before long, you’ll become sought after for your insights and ideas – potentially by media, conference organizers, other gurus, influencers and buyers.
- Institution profile. While your faculty page might fall under the jurisdiction of your affiliated institution, it’s important that you help keep it updated and as detailed as possible. Media, fellow colleagues, and other organizations and writers use the material and information you provide here for reference. Call attention to your research. The more backlinks you have, the more your page will appear in search results, which brings me to…
- Your website. While your academic page highlights your research and credentials, your personal website can be more promotional and extend beyond your current academic focus. For example, are you a consultant? Do you speak at industry or business conferences? Are you a blogger? If yes, your website is the medium to make those connections. And as far as your blog, maintaining a regular cadence with posts is key. Even if they’re short 200-word viewpoints, publishing them frequently and consistently will help you establish a following. People want to follow relevant news.
- Lectures. You lecture for a living to students, so why not expand your presence to the speaking circuit? The lecture business is thriving; organizations are always seeking experts to advise their management teams and employees. Industry conferences are constantly searching for pro bono [and paid] speakers to keynote their events. Plus, this type of engagement helps you build contacts and draw more attention (people!) to your personal brand.
- Build a network. Creating visibility for your brand is important, but being seen as a true thought leader requires more than awareness. Engagement is essential. Reacting to and conversing with your “followers” will increase the possibility that they’ll become promoters of your message, further helping you to achieve the third-party credibility that is core to thought leadership.Engagement is essential. Reacting to and conversing with your “followers” will help you achieve third party- credibility.Click To Tweet
Together, the tactics above will help you create – and employ – a successful strategy to build your reputation as a thought leader.