First of all, put your thoughts out there. That's a start. Take a look around and see if there are people thinking about the same stuff as you. Chances are extremely high that you will find some similar thoughts to your own. This is where you begin to establish what you’re trying to do. These are the people you want to connect with. See what they are sharing, and see what you may have to add to spark discussion.
So how does one then become a thought leader fro here? Is it really as simple as reflecting on the discussion you see and becoming a part of it? Is it passively commenting on what you think of the thoughts being thought about your thinking, in your own space, then sharing those reflections? Or could it even be about analyzing those that either agree or disagree with your thoughts?
And what are you even thinking about that you could become a leader of that field of thought?
We often get a bit too dragged down with trying to figure out what verticals we want to pursue in the quest to get people to read our thoughts. There are plenty of horizontals and diagonals, too. Really, all you need to do is be a leader of your own thoughts. Whether people want to read about what you're thinking or not is another question altogether.
I've never been much for niche writing, at least as it's traditionally thought of in the content marketing world. I have tended to drift a bit from niche to niche trying to find the best fit for my knowledge and skills. What exactly has that accomplished? You may have written a ton and have plenty of words to show for your efforts. But do those efforts make you a thought leader? Most certainly not, as the actual writing is only half of it.
That isn't to say you don’t have good material to share. It doesn't mean you have lacked passion or insight. Thought leadership, folks, is all about perception. If you can't lead the thoughts, then you aren't a thought leader. But how does one come to have the superpower of leading thoughts?
Just be honest. Heck, everyone and his dog is trying to sell something to you these days. Even those that say they can improve your life significantly - especially them.
Well, I'm not trying to sell you anything, but your own thoughts. And those are free to begin with. So why should anyone buy them? Even if they are free. You know, just because something is free doesn't mean someone will care. Probably will even less, believe it or not.
It all comes down to, what is it you are thinking right now? Is it important to you? Could anyone on the face of the earth relate to it? There you go. That's where you start. Now, how you do go about leading a discussion about that idea?
Is anyone you can find easily on the inter-webs leading a discussion on that idea? If so, do you agree with it? Either way, make your voice heard.
If you find yourself leading the discussion, or even just furthering it, congratulations, you're on the way to being a thought leader.
Becoming a thought leader is all about taking initiative and speaking up. Sometimes, it's just about furthering the conversation about an idea that some others besides you care about. Then, you're on your way to getting people to see you as someone who could well be a thought leader. People will perceive that you care about what they have to say, at least..
And if no one cares about your thought or idea? Maybe no one has written about it yet. Put it out there. See if you can relate it to something people already search. Then, congratulations, you just became a thought leader… perhaps, of a niche of probably one. In any case, you're starting off somewhere.
So, if you have an idea, you're probably not the only one with a similar thought. Even if you can't find anyone else, it probably just means no one bothered to say anything. Again, it's all about initiative. You have to be the one to start something.
That being said, it's OK to not know exactly where you want to end up. Life has a funny way of opening doors to those that take initiative. If you don't know where to go now, that's most likely because you can't even imagine now where you may end up.
Do you want to be a thought leader? You should.