Four ways to build your reputation as a thought leader

Four ways to build your reputation as a thought leaderIn my previous blog, I talked about media releases. Done well, they’re a useful tool to get free publicity for your business. But there are other channels that are equally as effective (if not more so) if you want to be recognised as an expert in your field.

Here are four new ways to share your professional expertise and unique point of view, get noticed and build a reputation as a trusted insider expert.

1.    Subscribe to SourceBottle 

SourceBottle is an online service for journalists to find people to quote or interview on specific topics. Subscribe to email alerts for free, and you’ll receive ‘call outs’ from journalists (and other bloggers and writers) looking for ‘sources’. Your alerts are customised to your chosen topics, so you’ll only be emailed relevant call outs.

It’s a simple way to get your name, business and thoughts out there in the media, without ever writing a media release.

2.   Pitch article ideas to industry magazines

Pitching means offering to write a story yourself. It’s almost the opposite of writing a media release, because once they say yes you’re almost guaranteed publication. Target your pitch to a relevant publication – try your favourite industry mags or your peak body association. Sending out a generalised pitch en masse is a big no-no.

Give them a synopsis of your article, and show you can back up what you’re saying by relating it to big picture market trends. Mention you will be able to interview customers or provide case studies. Keep the subject line simple, and include the word ‘pitch’, or it could be mistaken for spam and deleted. ‘Story pitch on [topic]’ gets straight to the point.

3.   Publish on LinkedIn

LinkedIn now has more than 347 million users worldwide. And it wants people like you to publish content. This is a great way to establish yourself as a source of knowledge – and generate leads for your business.

You’ll gain more credibility and recognition if you post frequently, so create a content plan. Realistically, how often can you come up with a new idea and write a post?

Stick to what you know, and keep each post focused on one issue or idea. Mine your professional life for topics. What advice would you give to someone wanting to enter your field? Maybe you’ve recently had a challenging experience with a client. How did you overcome it, and what did you learn?

Read what others are posting for inspiration, and if you use anything they say, give credit! You’ll show that your ideas are relevant, and you’re tuned in to what’s going on in your field.

4.   Publish a white paper or research report 

The most effective white papers and research reports build awareness and understanding of an upcoming issue, trend or market force. Choose a relevant topic you can put your own slant on. There’s no point reiterating what’s already been said.

Reports are generally longer and much more structured than articles or LinkedIn posts. You can really explore the issue at hand, bring in your own or external research and case studies, and include charts and graphics to help your reader understand the topic better. It’s worth asking a designer to add visual interest to what can be a lengthy read, and you may also consider outsourcing the editing to ensure it is written clearly and professionally.

Once you’ve published your report, make sure you promote it.  Share your findings through social media channels – consider slideshares, podcasts and live webinars as well as posts on LinkedIn, Twitter or Facebook.

Give them something of value

What do all these ideas have in common?

They’re not about selling your product or service. Instead, you’re giving potential customers something they can use.  Some advice, new insights, ideas and inspiration, or simply data.

In return, they’ll recognise your name or brand later and remember that useful thing you told them. They associate it with knowledge, insight and expertise.

As Seth Godin once said, “in a world of zero marginal cost, being trusted is the single most urgent way to build a business.” So if you want to start building a reputation based on trust, try one of these ideas.

Have you had success sharing your expertise via traditional or social media? Let us know how it worked for you!




  1. Great article and yes, giving something of value is the key. Going to check out SourceBottle!

  2. There’s nothing better than offering value!

  3. Thank you for the valuable information. I had not heard of SourceBottle, but I’m headed to their website now. Being visible online and submitting your areas of expertise to sites makes a big difference in leveraging yourself as an expert and building your reputation online and off.

  4. Really great tips, Vicky!

    I’ve bookmarked this one for reference.


  5. Great tips, I’ve never heard of SourceBottle so I will definitely be checking that out.

  6. I started publishing on LinkedIn and have seen my followers soar as well as my connections and engagement on my posts. Strongly recommend doing that. But be sure you know your target market and use keywords that will appeal to them.

  7. I never heard of SourceBottle, I’ll definitely be checking that one out.

  8. Same great information! Thank you.

  9. Erika Kalmar says

    Great tips! I haven’t heard of SourceBottle, I will check that out.

  10. Offering value in everything you publish, either a website page, blog post, or an article or comment is what’s going to make you come top of mind when people need the services you can provide. Great ideas, Vicky!

  11. I will have to give SourceBottle a look – Thanks for your tips. I need to start publishing on LinkedIn – so much to do – so little time! 🙂

  12. Good points. I often forget about Linkedin, thanks for the reminder.

  13. Great new info in this one for me. Value is always key and it sounds like instead of just sharing my Huffington Post articles on LinkedIn, I might consider posting them there as well. Not sure if this is accepted, or if only original articles are considered. Although I subscribe to HARO, I had not heard of SourceBottle and they are on my list to check out as well. Many thanks for sharing some wonderful new tips, Vicky! Very appreciated

  14. Lorii Abela says

    The ideas are as great as those who long to become a successful thought leader. Thanks for your great efforts in explaining the different ways to build your reputation as a thought leader. It is well-appreciated.

  15. I have never heard of SourceBottle…will definitely look it up. Thanks for sharing 🙂

  16. I will say that I started publishing my blogs on LI and it has given me an extension of my reach… so I think it is truly valuable indeed

  17. Ooh, hey now – there was some new stuff in here that I hadn’t heard of before!! 😀 Or well, at least that hadn’t occurred to me as “duh, do that!” 🙂

    I’d never heard of SourceBottle, so I have now joined and am perusing the various things to do on there 🙂

    And well, LinkedIn publishing seems SO obvious but for some reason…I had only been looking at it strictly for networking purposes/growing my contact list up till now…This just sort of flipped the lightbulb on for me, and made me think, “Well, why don’t I go ahead and publish some of my blogs there?!” So, I have posted one of my posts on LinkedIn now! 🙂 Thanks for the inspiration!

  18. Really great tips here. I agree. Like Natalie, I’ve learned some new ones here today too.

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