Blog: Brand Building
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The Long Path To Becoming A Thought Leader

Avatar for John Locke

John Locke is a SEO consultant from Sacramento, CA. He helps manufacturing businesses rank higher through his web agency, Lockedown Design & SEO.

Most people never believe that they have something special to offer the world. Most people have way more knowledge than they realize — but hesitate to share it.

They want to become a thought leader in their industry, but the distance between there and where they are seems insurmountable.

There will always be people ahead of you and people behind you on their own relative path through life. Seek out both kinds of people. Learn as much as you can, and share as much as you can. Help others whenever possible. Be yourself. These are the major components to gaining influence in your industry.

Be Selfless, Help Others

This is the most important piece of the puzzle. The motivation behind a goal determines your attitude in pursuing it. By lifting others up, you will lift yourself up.

Everyone wants to succeed at something. Everyone needs help, and wants to learn more about things they struggle with. No matter what stage of your journey you are on, there is someone who just started right behind you. These are the people who will benefit from your experience.

Give freely of your knowledge.

People can sense sincerity. They know when you are doing something because you expect something in return, and when you are doing it altruistically.

Do things in order to help people get what they want. This is the only way in life to get what you want.

Create More Than You Consume

This isn’t an original idea. I heard this particular phrase from Sean McCabe. But, it makes sense.

This doesn’t mean don’t consume media at all, but be disciplined about what you consume.

Decide who you are going to listen to, and where you are going to get your information.

Books and long form writing goes deeper than a blog. But people who write consistently and articulate well-formed thoughts usually have a lot of knowledge you can absorb.

You will have to be ruthless with your time — more than you were in the past. Mindlessly browsing on Facebook or YouTube is an easy trap to fall into.

Time is your most precious resource. Every hour you are watching TV is time that could be alternately spent building your business, creating information, or bonding with your family.

Cellphones are great tools, but also an omnipresent temptation for distraction. Continuously checking social media and email throughout the day will prevent you from creating, while producing the illusion of productivity. In order to make time to create, you must decide when and how much information you will consume each day.

Here’s a way to gauge whether your actions are constructive or not. Ask yourself, “Will this action help me grow my business by just a little or a whole lot??”

Publish Thoughtfully, Publish Often

You have to have something to say. You cannot just regurgitate jargon-filled articles that you read somewhere else. Being a curator of content relevant to your audience is more important than being the center of attention when you first start. Share anything that will help the people you are trying to help, even if it’s not yours. Especially if it’s not yours.

What you fill your mind with will translate into what you believe, and what you hypothesize and test in the real world. Take your real-world experiences and write. Blog. Make videos. Podcast. Speak in front of people whenever possible.

Social media is one leg of the table, but get used to writing — a lot. Edit. Refine. Then hit the Publish button.

The more you publish helpful, well-spoken material, the more chances you have to be found and listened to.

Look at people like Gary Vaynerchuk. He publishes 3–5 videos every week, and publishes about five articles a week. I’m probably underestimating these numbers.

Sean McCabe publishes a minimum of five videos, two podcasts, two articles and a unique email newsletter each week. This is a person who made 100k in three days from a 2014 product launch.

Seth Godin has blogged daily since 2002. Most of his best-selling books come from the ideas captured there.

In the WordPress ecosystem, Tom McFarlin, Curtis McHale and Eric Mann are pretty much daily bloggers. And their thoughts are always insightful and compelling. All these guys also speak in front of people, appear on podcasts and/or publish videos on top of that.

That’s the type of quality and consistency that you need to be aiming for if you want to be at the top of people’s minds.

Be Real

Always be who you really are.

We have been conditioned to blend into our surroundings — to mimic what everyone else does and says, to resemble what everyone else looks like.

But no one else has the same life experiences that you do. No one else has the same perspective that you do. No one else has the same combination of skills and interests that you do.

People know when you’re being fake, or cautious, or trying to fit into a frame of mold that you don’t fit. Embrace what makes you unique; do not fear it.

Develop your unique voice, and deliver your take on your craft with confidence. As Jim Rome would say, Have a take, and don’t suck.

It Takes Time

Like I said at the onset, you have to know your stuff. You have to have the chops. You have to have words that help people solve the problems they are facing.

But consistency requires showing up day after day to grind it out. Empathy requires listening to the people you serve, and answering questions they are asking verbally and non-verbally. Quality comes when you hone your delivery by repetition — whether that’s through writing, speaking, or any other means of publishing.

If you do all these things, and don’t quit, you’ll find that more and more people are listening to what you have to say.

Avatar for John Locke

John Locke is a SEO consultant from Sacramento, CA. He helps manufacturing businesses rank higher through his web agency, Lockedown Design & SEO.

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