Today I want to talk about becoming a thought leader. Maybe you already are a thought leader. Have you thought about becoming a thought leader? Well, today we're going to discuss five things that can get in the way of thought leadership. Thought leaders are informed opinion leaders and the go-to people in their field of expertise. They are trusted sources who move and inspire people with innovative and easy-to-learn ideas and turn those into reality. They know how to show and how to replicate their success. There are two thoughts I want you to take away from that. Number one, they're trusted sources. Number two, they show to replicate their success. Obviously, a thought leader has had some success doing the things they're talking about. Pretty straightforwardm right?
Voice Enabled Devices and Search Results
I want I to talk about five things that potentially can get in the way of you becoming a thought leader. These are five things that are relatively new in 2018. The first one that I want to talk about is the year of the voice. Now, I heard on the news the other day that 35% of households have some kind of voice-controlled system. I don't know if that means Alexa or Google Dot or maybe it's their phone, but 35% of people are using this. That means that whether you're using wearables like a watch or your mobile device that you can literally talk in, you can use your voice to “Search” into that device and get responses. For example, if I said, “Hey, Siri, show me articles about speakable search,” what that's going to do is pull up articles. If I said, “Show me videos about speakable search,” it might go find some on YouTube. However, most people are going to just speak in the basics. That's uber important because that means that the text that you're producing is going to be important in the coming year with the proliferation of these different talkable devices.
The next point I'd like to talk about is video. Video was huge in 2017, but in 2018 I believe there's going to be an overload. There's a lot of people who have discovered Facebook Live and are using video in a lot of different ways, but the problem is that they are not really understanding their audience. Somebody is going to jump on Facebook, and they're going to start doing video. They go off on these tangents and they spend can spend, 10, 15, 20, I've seen 30 minutes or more, even up to an hour on Facebook doing a Facebook Live. Now, the question is, do you have 20 minutes, 30 minutes, an hour to spend on Facebook to listen to somebody live talking about a concept? The answer to that is probably not.
What's going to work is short bursts of video, little pieces of information that lead you somewhere else. In other words, if you're thinking about doing video, consider doing maybe a 30-second to 90-second video clip that gives the essence of what it is that you're trying to say, but then give me a landing page, or give them another website to go to that has more detailed content that could have a webinar replay. Then consider turning that webinar into an audio. You could use it as a podcast or something downloadable that people can get. You could also turn that audio into a print piece by getting it transcribed on something like Rev.com. Now you give people the ability to either watch the video, listen to the audio, read the text, whatever it is that they want to do, and then from there you have to come up with some kind of call to action. What do you expect from them? Do you want them to sign up for something? Do you want them to get on your email list? Do you want them to purchase something?
You have to have a plan of attack when you do these things. The next piece of the puzzle that can cause disruption is going to be fake news. Now, I don't want to get all political or divisive about this, but the bottom line is is there's a lot of information being pumped out in the world, and a lot times people are asking you to say, “Hey, just believe this because I said it,” or “Just believe this article that I posted because somebody else wrote it.” In reality, you often have to go and actually to research to see if it's real. In 2016, about over 60% of all information caused a great deal of confusion with everybody in every age group, because it was really hard to tell the different between real news and fake news. What you have to do is become that trusted source to gain that respect so that what you're saying does not have to be researched.
Now, it's a little tougher to do, but it takes some time and it takes repetition to do it right. I mean, even Facebook has recently changed its algorithm to take away a lot of the information that's considered fake news out of the news feed so you're seeing more from your family and friends. If your family and friends are posting fake news, who knows? That's yet to be seen.
The next of the five things that could cause a little bit of grief in being thought leaders is tribal divisions. Now, again, I don't want to get all divisive or political on this, but think about the difference between millennials and seniors. When I say seniors, I mean people in their 40s and 50s and 60s who are working in corporations.
Millennials have their backpacks and they're ready to jump and move to another location and take another job. They don't have the loyalty. Where maybe the bosses of the corporations expect loyalty and expect to keep people around. If they're going to invest money in training them, they want to reap the rewards, right? Millennials don't have that kind of attachment to money, to jobs, to things that are happening. Also, think about men versus women and the #metoo movement that's happened recently. Then, also, aside from politicals, cats and dogs. Do you like a cat? Do you like a dog? The bottom line is, you need to talk to your audience. You need to understand them, and you may have multiple audiences. With those divisions, you can't expect everybody to agree with everything.
Overcoming The Noise
Then, finally the fifth thing that is going to be out there is noise. There's so much information out there. At last check, the average person has 190 cable channels. There are over a quarter of a million podcasts and radio stations out there, and a lot of the TV channels are converting them to podcasts. There are over a billion websites, and a lot of these are where people are getting their internet news, and there are ads on everything. In order to become a thought leader, there are a couple of things that you have to think about. First and foremost, you have to listen to your audiences, but sometime it can feel like it's a brick wall that you're trying to listen to. What you're really listening for is people that are asking for help, and you have to offer them the solutions to the problems that they have. It's all about building relationships to become that trusted source. The end game is that you're helping your audience choose a direction based on the kind of thought leadership that you can provide them.
In the next post, I will discuss some tactics that you can use to help combat some or all of these. Whether you are trying to become a Thought Leader, or trying to help a client find their voice, you have to challenge the norm and rise above these obstacles.
I would love to hear your thoughts and comments on your challenges with communicating about your business in this new online environment. Comment below and share your thoughts, ideas or questions about showing the concepts presented. Have you had to overcome any of the presented concepts? What worked and what did not live up to expectations? Do you have any ideas or advice you could share?
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