There’s more to your work life than just the daily grind. Get some creativity in your life and build up your all-important reputation to watch your career and business prosper.

If you consider yourself a thought leader in your industry, it’s about time you started letting the rest of the world know. After all, if the rest of your industry is unaware you’re a thought leader, it’s pretty tough to gain any thought followers!

If you’re feeling a little uninspired, here are our top five tips to get you thinking about whether you’re building your reputation to be the best it can be.

1. It’s All About Passion

Writing isn’t everyone’s passion, and a lot of people can quite easily string sentence of conversation together, but when it comes to writing down your thoughts? No way. People try and make things more complicated than it should be when they’re writing for audiences because they think they should only be writing about professional, sterile, boring subjects.

Here’s our first top tip: there’s no point writing about something that doesn’t interest you. If your business doesn’t, then it’s probably about time to start looking for a new challenge.

First, think about what you like to read about? It could be while you’re sitting on a packed subway on your commute, while you’re on the toilet, or while you’re at your desk. You might even consider which Buzzfeed quizzes you’re most inclined to take while you’re watching a documentary about whales on Netflix. Use these as inspiration for your writing.

2. Who’s Your Audience?

Who are the people that you really want to see you as a thought leader? It may be that you want the CEO of a prospective new client to read your musings, or you might just be happy to get your friends learning more about what you do to avoid those awkward dinner party chats.

Whomever it is that makes up your target audience, you need to make sure you choose the right platform to capture their attention and engage them individually.

If you’re hoping the recipient of your latest business pitch will sign on the dotted line, send them the link to your published work as soon as you’ve posted it on your chosen platform. If you just want your friends to understand what a CMO actually does everyday, post it on Facebook with a funny one-liner.

Whatever the subject of your post is, make sure you’re giving it the best chance to be seen by the biggest audience by controlling how and where it’s communicated.

3. Pitching to Publications

This may seem like a mammoth task, but getting your musings in print/online is the most effective way of pushing your thoughts into the wider domain. Start by writing a list of all the publications you read, whether industry-related or otherwise. Also, talk to your partners if they have blogs and find out whether they would be willing to post your article to their site as a favor.

Although not all publications accept guest posts (or they do, but retain the right to change them as they like), there’s no harm in asking. Let them know that they’re able to use the article as a free exclusive (all editors love an exclusive), but that all you ask for in return is a byline and a link to your company’s website, LinkedIn page, or personal blog.

Don’t be put off if you’re asked for payment, as some publications charge a fee to include a guest post. Think carefully — is it worth the money? Is their readership targeted exactly to your prospects? What kind of promotion will they do? Are there any perks to using this publication over another?

Don’t be afraid to ask questions and make sure that, if you’re paying for the coverage, they’re putting as much effort into promoting it as you are.

4. LinkedIn

If you have a big network on LinkedIn, you should be using it to promote your post, too. If you don’t have a large network yet, you should be spending at least 15 minutes a day building your following. This includes adding people you’ve worked with, done business with, or want to do business with in the future.

You can ask your current contacts to send an introduction for you to people you aren’t connected with, or you can be a little more forward and start talking to people you’d like to meet using InMail.

Join groups to find more people like you, and once you’ve started writing content, you can start posting in these groups. For once, you can be the topic of conversation, rather than being just another onlooker.

If you already have a big LinkedIn network, what are you waiting for? Posting relevant, interesting content is sure to help you gain a bigger and better reputation than you already have.

5. Social, Social, Social

Got Twitter?. Facebook? How about LinkedIn? If you answered yes to all of these questions, what are you waiting for? Start linking to anything and everything you’ve read that’s relevant, along with the pieces you’ve written.

Becoming a thought leader isn’t just about what you’re writing, but also what you’re reading. If you have an opinion, shout it from the rooftops. Become involved in Medium, Reddit, Stumbleupon, and every other content sharing or recommendation engine.

The more you promote an opinion, the more you’ll find yourself in new conversations with new people — whether they’re new friends or new business.

What Next?

We know you probably don’t have time to write as much as you’d like to — after all, how can you build your reputation when you’re so busy finding new business?

L&T can make this process a whole lot easier by writing down what you’re thinking and promoting your thought leadership.

Contact us to find out how to get started.

Longneck and Thunderfoot offer thought leadership services to turn your company executives’ opinions and insights into authoritative content that starts meaningful sales conversations. Learn more about thought leadership here.

(Main image credit: christopher_brown/flickr)