The Rise of Digital Influence: Building Your Thought Leadership on LinkedIn

The term “thought leader” can be traced back to 1887, but it was brought to life in 1994 by Joel Kurtzman, the founding editor-in-chief of Strategy & Business magazine. Joel used the term to describe someone who had a deep understanding of a business marketplace and customers’ needs and had original and unique points of view and ideas.

Fast forward to today, being known as a thought leader is a coveted status across all industries, and unlike 20 years ago, there are many more ways for folks to share their points of view and insights. Perhaps the most prominent and accessible channel is LinkedIn. With over 1 billion members (yes billion with a “B”), it is the ideal platform for professionals to build their brand and reputation as thought leaders.

Outlined below are the steps to building LinkedIn thought leadership credibility.

Create a Professional Foundation
Before posting on LinkedIn, ensure your profile is optimized for the public eye. Your LinkedIn profile should highlight your professional experience, special skills, and notable achievements. Use a professional photo and header image, add a captivating headline, and update your summary to include keywords relevant to your industry.

Develop Compelling Content
Now that your profile looks legitimate, start sharing your unique perspective, industry insights, and professional advice. The LinkedIn algorithm tells us it prioritizes relevant, high-quality content, so your posts should be educational and informative, providing valuable insights to your audience. You can also share curated content like articles, blog posts, industry updates, and research findings with your own commentary.

An important note to keep in mind when creating and sharing content is maintaining authenticity and credibility. Sharing marketing materials or branded content can dilute your voice and insights, potentially alienating your audience. While occasional posts sharing your company’s recent news or achievements are great, remember that your audience is looking for you to provide unique commentary on your industry and beyond.

Engage and Collaborate
After your posts are published and start garnering attention, ensure you’re actively engaging with your network by interacting with your commenters and commenting on others’ posts. This helps build relationships, demonstrate expertise, and increase visibility within your industry. You can also grow your network by joining LinkedIn groups and communities related to your industry and experience, where you can participate in discussions with the group members.

You can also contribute to LinkedIn’s Collaborative Articles. These are articles on a professional topic or skill, written with AI’s help but completed with experts’ contributions. Regular contributions can land you in the top 5% of contributors and earn you a gold Community Top Voice badge. As your reputation grows, you may receive an invitation-only blue LinkedIn Top Voice badge featuring senior-level experts and leaders.

Be Consistent
Becoming a notable thought leader on LinkedIn doesn’t happen overnight. The steps and activities listed above take time and commitment, but consistent efforts will have positive results. By regularly sharing your POV and industry insights and engaging with your community, you can establish yourself as a thought leader on LinkedIn and build a strong professional brand in your industry.

If you’re looking for more resources on thought leadership, check out our blog, Why Startups Should Consider a Thought Leadership Strategy.

If you’re ready to take the next step in accelerating and expanding your online presence as a thought leader, 0to5 can help. Contact us today.