11 Brand-Building Strategies to Become a Thought Leader

Personal Branding

How can a young founder signal or demonstrate their position as a thought leader and build their personal brand, despite their newcomer status?

Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC) is an invite-only organization comprised of the world’s most successful young entrepreneurs. YEC members represent nearly every industry, generate billions of dollars in revenue each year and have created tens of thousands of jobs. Learn more at yec.co.

1. Create a Website

“Creating a website is the first step to creating your personal brand. Find out who your target audience is and design the website in a way that will be relatable to them. Then, the work starts. You’ll want to create a blog and write posts that will attract that audience to your site. Speak directly to them, and help them with new information.”

Chris ChristoffMonsterInsights

2. Share Your Point of View

“If you’re a young founder or entrepreneur, the best way to demonstrate your position as a thought leader is to have a point of view and share it. The more clear you are on who you are, your ideas and what you feel is your expertise, the quicker you can start making a name for yourself. Write articles, join panels, do workshops, etc. Do as much as you can to get that point of view into the market.”

Sunny Bonnell, Motto

3. Get Face Time in Your Industry

“As a young founder new to the industry, you should do everything in your power to get face time. Whether that means attending industry events, writing a blog, doing a podcast or applying for any and all speaking opportunities, getting yourself out there and visible to your audience is a great way to position yourself and build your brand. The experience alone will help you grow.”

Dave Nevogt, Hubstaff.com

4. Showcase Your Skills

“The first step in demonstrating your position as a thought leader is to build confidence, which, in turn, builds trust. Start by creating content that showcases your skills. Consider writing for as many industry-related publications as you can. As you progress, you get to expand your audience while refining your skills at the same time. The idea is to get your name out there as much as possible.”

Derek Robinson, Top Notch Dezigns

5. Answer Questions

“If you want to demonstrate your knowledge and thought-leading abilities, what’s a better way than answering questions? Spending some time answering questions on question-and-answer forums will quickly establish you as an authority on any given subject.”

Bryce Welker, Accounting Institute for Success

6. Write a Book

“Authoring a book is a great way to position yourself as an expert. As a young first-time author, self-publishing can be a great option. There are several companies that can help you get your book ready. After that, it’s easier than you think to get your work on Amazon and Barnes & Noble’s website. There are few things stronger than your own book to elevate your personal brand.”

Brian Greenberg, True Blue Life Insurance

7. Dispel Misinformation

“Write often, and put the full work in to truly explore a topic. Long-form writing that is insightful and teaches something valuable is useful and helps you develop an audience. Look for gaps in knowledge or for common misconceptions about your industry, and work to dispel bad information.”

Jacob Samuel Alexander, Kono Store

8. Be Consistent

“Post consistent and well-thought-out content on websites like LinkedIn and your own blog as well. Research should be involved since you’re a young founder, but you can also share personal anecdotes to bolster your points. Encourage discussion and feedback by responding to each and every comment.”

Andrew SchrageMoney Crashers

9. Leverage Your Passion

“One way to gain a foothold as a thought leader when you’re just starting out is to find something you’re truly passionate about. Focus on finding angles of your interests that really excite you, and your genuine enthusiasm will separate you from the cacophony of other voices out there. A fresh perspective is often just what people are looking for, especially when it’s combined with real passion.”

Ryan D. MatznerFueled

10. Know Your Value

“There’s a reason for the saying “Out with the old, in with the new.” When we refer to fresh ideas and perspectives, this is something a young founder can bring to the table. Our world is constantly changing, so anyone can be a thought leader as long as they stay up to date with current affairs and can educate others within their field by exchanging information because information is valuable.”

Stephanie Vermaas, This Is A Love Song LLC

11. Keep Learning and Sharing Your Knowledge

“If you have the drive to learn and simplify what you’ve learned in a clear way, your personal brand will grow. The trick is to keep learning. Sign up for industry newsletters, follow thought leaders on social media and constantly be reading books and articles.”

Syed BalkhiWPBeginner