What Does It Take to Be an Influencer and Thought Leader?


Beyond knowing your business inside out, it takes genuine humanity and heartfelt connection to be a thought leader or influencer.

One common trait shared by influencers and thought leaders is the desire and willingness to help other people succeed. Whether leading an industry, a business, a country, a community or a family—leadership, in all its forms, is an accomplishment that is earned through years of experience, diligent work, and dedication.

To be a thought leader means you are recognized as an expert in a specific company, society,  or area of business. You are someone who offers guidance, inspires innovation, listens to other people’s ideas, and shares your insight. 

Over time, a successful thought leader will earn a positive reputation by adding value to their business and to other people’s lives. The respect that comes along with that is a rewarding driver of your business.

Within the business of marketing, there are some hands-on, actionable tactics you can add to your leadership strategy to become a more authoritative, trusted voice in your sphere of influence. 

  • Maintain an active business blog

Keep the pipeline filled with relevant insight that people will want to read. Weekly blogs will capture more interest and keep readers coming back for more.

  • Contribute guest blog posts

Share blogs as a guest contributor on websites that give you an opportunity to share your expertise.

  • Create valuable content

Make sure the content you create offers value to your readers. Self-promotion is not the aim, but rather insightful content with purpose, guidance, and inspiration.

  • Publish long-form content

Long-form content is between 1,000 — 7,500 words. Its goal is to provide a deep dive into complicated subjects from an expert source.

  • Speak at conferences/events 

Let your business contacts know you are available to speak at events or conferences tied to your knowledge of an industry. Be sure to present value in a compelling presentation.

  • Answer questions on social media

There are ample opportunities to step up and answer questions on social media. Take the time to contribute when you see questions posed that you have viable answers for.

To gain the experience needed to become an influencer or thought leader takes time, patience, hard work, and a willingness to listen and learn from others. Staying informed on the needs and demands of the marketplace are important, too. Your credibility will be cultivated over the long term, not overnight, so be prepared to work for it.

Stay on top of what’s happening within your industry and be a constant learner. Get comfortable with understanding market dynamics which can reveal patterns and trends. You can then combine what you’ve learned to help find solutions.

As a thought leader/influencer, you will not have all the answers, so be humble enough to admit what you don’t know and listen to what others have to say to help expand your understanding on a topic or issue.

Remember to focus on providing value to current customers, potential buyers, and business partners alike. An effective, genuine thought leader isn’t focused on driving up website visits or sales conversations — although the ancillary result of building trust and respect will likely be more business for you. The main goal of an influencer/thought leader is to deliver content that’s engaging, compelling, and trustworthy.

Witmer Group can help you with content development, blogs, social postings, and impactful inbound marketing strategies. Contact us for a discovery call today.