In today’s world, it takes more than innovative, inspiring ideas to be a thought leader. With so many voices out there, putting in their own two cents, the chances of your own contribution getting lost in the mix is high. As a thought leader, it is key to position yourself strategically and specifically in order to break through the noise. Here are some essential tools to keep in your tool kit to effectively present yourself.
1. Awesome LinkedIn Profile
The importance of LinkedIn in today’s business world can’t be emphasized enough. Instead of a rushed, random few words about yourself, your LinkedIn bio should be the place where you proclaim your essential message. Your profile already lets you include your work and education, so instead of summarizing these accomplishments, use your bio to create the narrative that underlies your brand. Be thoughtful and deliberate to introduce your brand to the reader. Download our LinkedIn Checklist to get started.
2. Media Kit
There are three key elements to a good media kit:
Speaker Bio: Your speaker bio is not an ordinary curriculum vitae. It should highlight your areas of expertise, indicate where you have spoken, and include testimonials, pictures of yourself speaking on stage and a list of top talks. Download an example here.
Speaker reel: A speaker reel is a video with clips of you delivering past talks. Your clips should be brief, insightful and emphasize your unique, creative ideas.
Video Introduction: This video should be of you speaking about your ideas off stage. It should be a discussion of the topics you might cover when speaking, and it should introduce your valuable perspective. When you hire someone to do your video – consider 3 videos to start. One video is a simple introduction to you and who you are. Your second video is about how you work, what makes you unique. Your third video could be a very specific topic that everyone ask about – is evergreen – and could easily be a blog as well.
3. Professional Bios
Executive Bio: Today’s executive bio follows a fairly standard formula. Lead with a headshot and a summary of leadership capabilities. Follow with a summary of business capabilities (i.e experience), then publications, awards and community leadership. Finally, finish up with your education.
Board Bio: Thought leaders give back. A good way to raise your profile and give back at the same time is to serve on a board of directors – for profit or non-profit. To be considered for a board of directors, make certain to put together a board bio, which, instead of listing business capabilities, emphasizes board participation and contribution.
4. Podcasts and Interviews
If you aren’t getting out there and sharing your thinking, then you aren’t leading the way. Hosting your own or making appearances on podcasts will raise your profile to a new audience, and each is an excellent way to gain experience getting your message out there. Interviews on local and national television and radio should also be part of your repertoire. Here is an example of a great podcast that is very specific and includes excellent interviews, Mastering Midlife, with Mark J. Silverman.
5. Personal domain.
Thought leaders are public figures, whose name and reputation matter. Take control of your personal narrative by creating a personal domain (often simply your full name). Here, you can blog and otherwise continue to accumulate content reflecting your perspective. In addition, it gives you personal email address that you can use for public speaking engagements and other opportunities that do not specifically relate to your job. Whether you are a business owner, musician, author – your personal domain could simply be one “page” to bring your narrative together for the public. It can keep your business cards down to one, especially if you are a consultant, and make it much easier to control your own story.
Creating a reputation and building a personal brand as a thought leader takes intent and execution. Make sure you are supporting your efforts with these essential tools.
Be a Noisebreaker,