Building your online presence to be a thought leader in your industry doesn’t happen overnight and it can take a lot of your time. However, starting off right and focusing on key areas can help accelerate this.
First, let’s begin by making sure we are on the same page and define what a thought leader is: “individuals who read complex business situations well and can bring out the best in other people.” It’s not just about being an industry expert who also happens to know how to leverage Twitter, LinkedIn, or Google+, it’s about who’s behind those accounts. People are often skeptical of anyone who calls themselves a thought leader and just launched their sites or social media efforts last month. However, if you’ve already acquired the skills, especially if you’ve used them to make positive, lasting impact at well known organization(s) you can skip a few steps.
Lately, I’ve had more friends and family and even a local non-profit from my home town ask me if I could share some information around several online topics. I’m an optimizer (or Maximizer according to Gallup), so I love to “kill two birds with one stone” as they say so I figured I might as well see if I could capture the information I was about to share with a couple of my friends, family, and even a local non-profit from my home town. Even if you’re not focused on thought leadership, a lot of the information is still relevant.
I believe there are five steps you can take that will help you get started to establishing yourself as a thought leader. I will just share some things I did, “working out loud”, a movement I’m really interested in. If you’re not familiar with it, watch John Stepper’s TEDx Talk. I came across that one day and have been thinking about it a lot. It makes such logical sense to me:
“Working out loud is the phrase I use to cook capture that approach and those elements building meaningful relationships based on generosity and shared purpose.Having a growth mindset leveraging modern ways to reach and engage people, combine those elements are like a superpower but it’s one that most people don’t know they have or are comfortable using.”
Here’s what I think are 5 ways to start establishing yourself as a thought leader, especially if your thought leadership area isn’t online marketing or even technology related.
- Buy a Domain
- Learn the Lingo
- Review and Clean Up the Social Media Accounts You Plan to Use
- Learn How to Use Hashtag and Keywords Appropriately
- Publish an Article to LinkedIn (or industry website of choice) with the Right Keywords
In this article, we’ll focus on why buying a domain may be a good first step. Remember, I’m not saying this is the way or the only way, this is just what I did and I fully expect some to only take what they need out of it. Or hey maybe even Maximize it 😉
Buy A Domain
You don’t need to know the details, but if you’re setting out to build an online presence registering your domain before doing anything else can be a good idea. You don’t need to buy hosting, but at least get your web domain parked. That basically is you putting your stake in the ground and letting the world know. I like Dreamhost’s little cat gif parked domain and it makes a difference. If you know that you can start building exposure elsewhere first, it’s a good idea to make sure you look good on all fronts.
This isn’t 1999 and “under construction” gifs are not funny to everyone anymore. Those kids the media calls millenials, they grew up with cat gifs being the norm. Some of those kids are starting to have a large place in running the world. You can use a provider that has a default parked domain option that aligns or you can even customize your parked page. In my opinion, unless you’re launching some kind of product or starting a new service, I wouldn’t waste time on it.
And make sure you choose your host wisely, the one that makes more sense to your target audience. Some don’t even know the difference or care, but some would. Most importantly, some wouldn’t even know they cared unless they saw the difference, and if they haven’t yet, they will soon. But you know your audience best and that’s something I’m truly a staunch believer in. Do what’s best for you and your target audience. Only you know or know how to get to (that’s just as important) the day-to-day realities and types of personas they have.
Here’s a few examples of other default parked domains, and note that comments are in the tone of a “millenial”:
Parked Dreamhost Example: “awww cute”
Unparked Dreamhost Example: “meh”
Parked Godaddy Example: “huh?” “this person doesn’t even know they whole world can see they haven’t started their site”
Not Sure?: “I don’t even know, but isn’t Time Warner evil?”
BlueHost Example: “Meh”
Once you decide which provider is best for you, register your domain. It’s just like online shopping, there’s nothing special to it. If you don’t know what you want your website or blog to be titled, you can do one or a few of the following:
- Register your full name. If it’s taken play around with middle names, initials, or what might make you stand out more in domain name searches. For example, there’s already a JessicaSalinas.com who is not only a web designer, but looks nothing like me. I did some reasearch and let me let you in on a little secret.
Research equaled going to my domain host registration page, searching for variations, and then going to Google to see what the search results for that name would be. That’s it. Nothing fancy, no special tool, complex formula, or software to install.
- If you have a few ideas for what you might want to call your website or blog, I would go ahead and register those as well.
- If possible, try to register them for more than one year. I know there’s a whole debate on whether registration length matters. Not everyone agrees (I’m open to feedback, too) but I’m kind of with this guy. You don’t have to register for 10 years, but I personally do 2-year domain registrations as default unless it’s just an idea of what I might want to start a blog on later.
I know some of the domain parking commentary could be seen as harsh but in many cases it’s true. One of my personal core values is to be as authentic and transparent as I can. I know it’s uncomfortable sometimes, but growth isn’t supposed to be comfortable. It’s supposed to sting a bit and sometimes can get a little messy.
The reality is that the way the business world works has vastly changed. Julian Stodd has done a lot of work on this already and even has a book called the Social Leadership Handbook that goes into details if you want to learn more. I know it’s so cliche to say this, so please only judge me slightly, but we’re not in Kansas anymore Toto. #Theoldshavearrived and as one of #theolds, I am just going to embrace it. Give it a big, warm hug. I’m even wondering what George would be tell Punky right now. I know I’m the not the only one, but sometimes I do feel that way. “Is there anybody out there?”
There are others like me who are in that generation that has no name, the one everyone forgot about. The last generation to remember life before and after the internet. It’s not as simple as millennials, gen y, or whatever they’re called these days. If you want to learn more, read Leo Miran’s What it feels like to be the last generation to remember life before the internet. It’s a
I’ll discuss learning the lingo in Part 2 of five ways to build your thought leadership presence and look forward to hearing your thoughts on this or anythng.
Thought leader source