How Do Thought Leader Generate Massive Profits?
The word thought leader was first used in the late 1800s by Henry Ward Beecher in his famous statements "one of the great thought-leaders in America." Today, the term thought leader is making a comeback especially in the corporate world used in publication such as the Wall Street Journal Marketing section and Harper’s Magazine. But what is a thought leader really?
What is a Thought Leader?
According to Forbes magazine, the word thought leader refers to an “individual or firm that is recognized as an authority in a specialized field and whose expertise is sought and often rewarded.”i
Thought leader have an acquired ability to contribute and lead conversation within their area of expertise of what is happening today and speculate on what may happen tomorrow. In many cases, since they are experts in their industry they can predict trends while shaping the future of their industry.
More than just predictors and generators of ideas true thought leaders also know how to inspire and influence others," said Walt Rakowich, a leadership speaker and the retired CEO of ProLogis. "Leaders can have great ideas, but true thought leaders have the courage to express their ideas and inspire others to implement them."
Why is being a thought leader profitable?
There is an enormous amount of content on the internet. Every single month, there are 54.2 million blog posts published, 300 billion Tweets are sent, and 300 hours of video content is uploaded to Youtube a minute.
In this barrage of noise thought leaders produce content that provides real value to their followers. This is how thought leaders make money than their competitors, by creating real value. They can provide value that others in their industry just cannot match up; value that people are willing to pay for and in many cases, pay a lot for.
How do thought leaders separate themselves and create value?
They create an advantage by being different than anyone else
They create their personal brand
They constantly innovate and develop new ideas
They create a sense of satisfaction for their audience
In their article, “What Is A Thought Leader?,” Russ Alan Prince and Bruce Rogers offer a concise answer to how and why thought leaders generate radical profits.
“For any individual or any organization to be a thought leader it’s especially critical that they monetize their state-of-the-art thinking by increasing their ability to source, work with and profit from their target markets. In effect, being a thought leader absolutely includes the ability to garner radically above-average returns for the investment and effort. Becoming a thought leader is about making money and making history.”
Becoming a Thought Leader
Other than the usual networking and getting published as often as you can, I believe what separates true thought leaders is this:
1. You must love what you do: when you truly love your craft then you dive deep, work long and create through the labor of love. An individual in pursuit of that which he/she admires cannot help but be a leader in it.
2. Be invested in the well-being of your audience: when you are invested in how your followers will benefit, value will pour through the work that you create. Every word will have an intention behind it that will be felt by your readers and viewers. Imagine writing every piece of content as if it would be read by a loved one who you would be helping to improve their lives.
3. Be in the company of other thought leaders: when you hang out with other thought leaders you will be challenged to think differently stretch your comfort zone and find thoughts transcend through you that were not available to you before.
4. Be bold and speak your truth rather than what is fashionable: when you speak the truth of who you are and what you believe a certain attraction is created in the minds of the reader. We are intuitive beings than can attune to one’s authenticity and create a genuine connection. Thought leaders are people that are bold in speaking their truth even in the face of criticism.