Position Yourself as a Thought Leader

If you can give people an exclusive window into a world that only you know, you can position yourself as a thought leader in the space
— Alex Blumberg, cofounder and CEO, Gimlet Media (quoted in Entrepreneur).

What is a thought leader, and why should you aim to be one? A thought leader is one who is credible and forward-thinking in one’s industry or space. As Blumberg notes, they have bits of expertise that they can dish out to those who are hungry for the inside scoop. They are trusted; they may serve in an advisor or mentor role to others. They have the expertise to share a vision for what the future of their industry may hold.

Before you shrug this off as another corporate buzz word, let’s peek at why you may want to position yourself as a thought leader – and how to do so.

Why Aim to Be a Thought Leader?

A thought leader doesn’t necessarily need to be a “know it all” or an expert in one particular subject matter. Instead, this person has grace and is viewed by others as someone who is reputable, knowledgeable, and worthy of being sought out for guidance in a particular space, such as the future of nutrition counseling, how telehealth may evolve to improve access to nutrition counseling, or nutrition and sustainability.

Wouldn’t it be nice to be viewed as someone who is forward-thinking and inspiring others to grow and become involved in the area that you are passionate about? When you have others interested in your vision, and they see that they have you as a leader and guide in this space, they are likely to feel empowered to share your knowledge, too. You gain credibility, you gain online traction, you gain people reaching out to you for counseling, business or networking opportunities. When it comes down to it – being a thought leader uniquely positions you to get others fired up about your niche and to bring it to the forefront.  

How To Position Yourself as a Thought Leader

Know your niche and your expertise, and make sure that others know it as well. Post your credentials loudly and proudly on your website and elsewhere (business cards, social media, etc.). Consider posting your vision on your website as well. How do you want to be viewed by others? Why do you want your peers, media, clients and colleagues to come to you? Are you the low FODMAP dietitian? Are you the dietitian who is doing revolutionary things with your eating disorder clients?

Your online presence is key to positioning yourself as a leader; in addition to your web content, use social platforms to share pieces and content that promote your ideas. Post articles written by you – and other relevant clips on your core topic – to LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, etc. Comment on others’ posts that are inline with your own. And get published! Getting your words in print (or on a reputable blog) speaks volumes.  

Lastly, think about leaders who you admire and wish to emulate, whether they are in dietetics or in an entirely different field. How do they engage with their followers? What vehicles or channels do they use to communicate with their team? What great wins did they have – and what can you learn from their mistakes? Let us know if you need support in positioning yourself as a leader in dietetics. We’re here to help coach you to grow both as a dietitian and as a leader in the field!

What makes you a thought leader in your space?