If you’re a professional in any industry, you know that Southern California offers tremendous potential in securing on-going clients.
Sheer numbers are tantalizing, even though the state and local counties are in a weird open-closed relationship while Covid-19 cases continue falling like an autumn leaf.
While we hear about the middle-class and upper-middle class moving to more business friendly states, there are still millions needing health, legal, business and other professional services throughout Southern California.
But while the numbers of people needing services are great, so is the number of professionals competing for market share while building a solid client base.
The opportunity is large, but you can get swallowed up in the competition.
Becoming a Thought Leader is a great way to stand out, get noticed and become a sought-after voice and solution provider.
What is a Thought Leader?
Marketing consultants produce a tremendous number of buzzwords that sink into cliches and Thought Leader is one of those buzzy-cliche-ridden phrases. But it’s worth pursuing the designation.
A Thought Leader consistently provides useful content that meets the needs of the audience — and earns a place as a respected authority on a specific subject.
Who are Thought Leaders coming to your mind right now? Think of your industry. They don’t have to be world famous names.
What are Your Goals as a Professional?
Whether you aspire to become a Thought Leader or not depends on your professional goals. The more people who listen to your opinions and knowledge on certain matters increases the likelihood that they, or others, will do business with you.
Becoming a Thought Leader is more than business networking. It’s becoming an authority and earning a place of respect.
You then market your business from a position of strength and increase your likelihood of retaining current clients, gaining new business through referrals, and increase your ability to expand your income through workshops and product sales.
Plus, you stand out and are more likely to get noticed than other professionals who secure clients, do the work and then hunt for more clients or patients.
And standing out is a competitive advantage in Southern California.
Think about this, regardless of your industry.
Visualize a map of downtown Los Angeles, Riverside, Long Beach or San Diego. Then expand the map to go out about 10 miles, or just from your home. I live near Pasadena.
How many professionals who do what you do live and work in that 10-mile radius? Quite a few. Perhaps several hundreds to several thousands.
How Do You Become a Thought Leader?
There’s no secret. You have to be confident in your ability to solve a client’s problem — so you have to be good at the service you offer.
But then you have to create content to document what you’ve done and how you’re able to provide.
Blogs and books are two good pieces of content to create while podcasts and videos are also useful. E-newsletters are another proven form of content.
Make your content personable.
Show that you understand the client’s issue and reveal your Why for being in the industry.
Blogs allow you to chart on an-going basis and create specific categories that you can address. For my clients, I typically suggest writing one blog post per week of about 1,000 to 1,500 words — and up to 2,500 if they want a blog post covered in-depth.
I wrote blogs for a robotics trade organization and I covered a different category each week.
- Week 1, I wrote about the benefits of membership and showed examples.
- Week 2, I covered industrial robotics
- Week 3, consumer robotics and
- Week 4, advocacy issues
Make it the aim to write a Best-of-Category post for each piece of content. If you were to compare it to other topics on the Internet, then try to create so that it stands out as the most authoritative. That’s a great aim, even if you don’t always reach that stature.
Then you can turn those blogs into books.
Don’t let books scare you. Produce e-books that are about 5,000 words minimum and then compile those into larger print books.
Can you see how you’re creating building blocks?
I wrote an e-book for an Upper Cervical chiropractor and in it, I described a woman who battled torturous migraine headaches. She became his patient and then they wound up getting married.
The book was personable and not just clinical.
A dental specialist working with oral cancer patients came to me and I integrated his sense of humor into an extremely serious subject, in small touches. He’s passionate about his patients and loves working with this segment of his patient population.
Aspire to be Locally Famous
Remember that I told you that you don’t have to be world famous?
Craig Valine of Enhanced Marketing Performance, Pasadena, is a good example. He’s famous among many business owners in Southern California by holding workshops, hosting Mastermind sessions and producing continual on-line content that always has useful tips to put into use.
Many business owners have come to trust him and seek out his opinion on marketing related topics.
Enjoy the Journey of Thought Leadership
Creating content isn’t easy. It takes planning and work. Believe me, I know. But you should have fun while doing it, especially if you enjoy what you do as a professional.
Convey the fun of that work. I enjoy interviewing business owners, laying out plans and then creating content that engages audiences and helps position them to gain clients.
I decided to aim at being more of a Thought Leader versus a freelance writer who goes from one project to another. My inspiration besides Craig Valine is Neil Patel who produces a constant stream of videos on SEO, blogging and all forms of content marketing.
He’s seen as a Thought Leader, in my opinion. So are others including Ryan Deiss of Digital Marketer and Kim Garst.
What do they know that I don’t?
They’ve successfully documented their hard-earned lessons and leveraged those for others to learn from. Once, I watched and read content from Neil Patel on Google and I wondered where he got the information. I went to Google’s webmaster info and there it was.
Why couldn’t I have done that?
I could have, so I did and decided that I need to take my own blog posts, articles, create user-friendly guides and books to help professionals develop content.
I’m not concerned about becoming famous, unless it’s famous and useful to those who do business with me. The more completely I understand my own profession of content writing and storytelling then the more likely I’ll become a respected authority.
And that’d be fun!