In building your integrative health practice, there’s nothing like becoming a thought leader in the integrative/functional health world to ensure your success.
It’s good personally. It’s good for business.
And it’s great for your current and future clients.
You know your stuff. You’re an expert in your particular field of stuff. You have some great, visionary ideas.
But, having great ideas does not a thought leader automatically make. There’s a lot of groundwork that needs laid before you can make that jump.
Here are 8 ideas for beginning to market yourself as a thought leader:
1. Find Your Ideal Client
You need to know your audience. Specifically, you need to know your ideal listener.
Thought leadership is a game of niches. Now that information is so widely available, “expertise” in general has become very focused.
So finding your Ideal Client (or, what’s known in the marketing world as Buyer Persona) is a great way to begin to find and begin developing that niche.
2. Become a Media Company
Thought leaders have ideas. And they communicate them. Best way to start doing that? Blogging and producing videos.
And creating a lot of both.
Any successful business these days owes a lot of that success to the fact that it’s not just a “regular” company.
It’s also a media agency.
Podcasts are everywhere these days. The streets are littered with them.
Part of the reason they’re so popular is that they’re easy for people to consume while they’re doing other things. I find myself looking for things to do sometimes just so I have an excuse to listen to another podcast.
They’re also very inexpensive to produce. Have a computer and a decent mic? Sweet. You’re all set.
You could also find other podcasts to guest-host or be interviewed for. Find one that sits nicely inside your niche, and reach out to the host. Most podcasters would love having their content to come from somewhere that isn’t them. Plus, it gives them a break trying to come up with something new for that week.
4. Find Relevant Media Opportunities
A good way to set yourself up as an authority on a subject is to get journalists to look to you for your expert opinion. A good way to do this is to sign up for a free account at helpareporterout.com (HARO.) Put in your credentials, and then check your email. If a reporter is doing a story on your niche area, there’s a good chance they’ll reach out to you for your input.
5. Get Social… The Right Way
Find some Facebook groups organized around your niche, and then engage. Start conversations, answer questions, propose ideas… just be nice and helpful. People like nice and helpful.
Networking is key. Being engaged is key.
That’s the right way to use social.
The wrong way to use social is to dump a bunch of content and then sit on the sidelines.
It’s called “Social” Media for a reason.
6. Reach Out to Thought Leaders
Who are the thought leaders in the integrative/functional world? They aren’t too hard to find. I can think of 15 or 20 right off the top of my head.
Reach out to them and start a conversation. I’ve found that most experts tend to be perfectly willing to share what they know. Just make sure the relationship, as it develops is a two-way street.
Leeches haven’t been popular for at least a century now.
7. Write YOUR Book
For anyone in the health world, this is a huge one. Tell someone you’ve written a book, and they automatically take you more seriously.
Writing a book takes a while. The good news is that there are a lot of great ghostwriters out there who are experts at helping you get your book organized, written, and edited.
8. Speak at Conferences
Find a conference that’s related to your niche. Go to it. Network.
Then figure out who’s organizing the conference and offer your services for next time (or another conference they might be putting together.) Presenting in front of a group of people who are interested in what you’re discussing can go a long way in establishing yourself.
Any and all of these ideas are going to be necessary for building your brand and becoming a thought leader. Any of these will give you a good start.
But, again, it’s just a start. It’s a long and sometimes arduous process. The key is to employ these strategies as a foundation, and build from there.
It seems like a lot of people become thought leaders overnight. But that’s just not true. The thought leaders you look to today have been doing everything listed here for years, at least.
They got there.
And so can you.