How To Become A Thought Leader (and how not to!)

In my last company we paid a small fortune (around $200,000) to a PR firm to position me as a ‘thought leader’. It wasn’t entirely my idea, but we had investor money and my ego loved it!

The result was the odd piece in regional newspapers, some online coverage here and there, a nice piece in the Sunday Times (see the link below – well, ‘nice’ as far as ‘me ,me, me’ is concerned!). Plus I was the ‘Money Doctor’ for a month in a free mass circulation paper called the Metro (ABC circulation 770,000).

At a family get together my nephew told me he saw one of the articles in the Metro and it had helped him save money. I was incredibly grateful, but it was the only direct feedback we ever got.

In hindsight, we needed to spend time, not money. We put no effort into it, therefore it had no real value. The PR firm did what they thought was best, but their agenda was to keep their business going, not ours. To be a thought leader, you need to be… well, a thought leader – Ha!

But this much I know. If you don’t put a great deal of effort into spreading your message (which can only really happen if you care enough) then someone else will show up and trump you. It has happened to me before in my Acorn Computer years. I would have been a millionaire in the 1990’s if I had just bothered to show up.

Spread your message whenever and wherever you can. It’s worth it.

Quentin Pain

Quentin Pain is an author, speaker, and writer on entrepreneurship, business start ups and growth. He is a 'Dummies' series author and founder of a number of books on business and marketing.