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The fastest way to prove you are a jerk is to call yourself are a thought leader.  This is my new favorite way of discussing thought leadership. Le’ts face it, not everyone can be a thought leader. You might be an expert and even an online influencer, but if you are not living your values and demonstrating your leadership through action, simply writing about them and talking about them is not enough.

We developed a thought leadership graphic to provide a snapshot of what it takes to be considered a thought leader and what kind of marketing tactics should accompany these actions. The interesting thing is that when you distill these ideas and get to the essence of this title, it all goes right back to public relations. All of these tactics reside under the umbrella of good, old-fashioned PR. Thought Leadership is just a fancy new title for those who are actually really effective with their public relations efforts.

If you are trying to be a thought leader, stop. This is a result. People don’t try to win awards, they do great work and the awards come. Have great thoughts, lead with your actions and communicate your ideas with others. Building your reputation as a leader, a thinker and a doer, will help your business and your career grow much more than the aspiration of becoming a thought leader.

Evaluate your marketing efforts. Are they integrated? Are you leveraging content on multiple channels? Are you adding thoughts to your industry’s conversations? If not, get started! Try these four tactics once a week for a month and see if you start to become easier to find online and if your phone starts to ring a little more frequently.

  1. Write one short blog post per week for your website.
  2. Share your post on your LinkedIn profile.
  3. Have one conversation with your staff or colleagues on an industry topic that fuels your passion.
  4. Have one conversation with a client about your thoughts on an issue that can be solved by your company.

Remember, do this consistently and the efforts will pay off. Good luck!