As a successful business owner, you are most likely doing your part to connect with the local business community, develop relationships with other entrepreneurs that you can learn from, and engage in annual philanthropic efforts. But what does your online community know about you?

Websites and digital advertising are two approaches to promoting products and services, but online audiences want to know more about you and your company. And you may not realize that between your industry expertise, company history and customer successes, you have a lot to say.

Consider these facts from Kapost:

– B2B buyers conduct an average of 12 searches before ever jumping on a specific brand’s site
– 70 percent of consumers prefer getting to know a company via articles rather than ads
– During their journey, only 25 percent of buyers reveal their early interest to vendors

You can create the same influence online that you have in a brick-and-mortar setting by positioning yourself as a thought leader, a trusted expert resource. The main difference is that you need to share your insights through written content instead of verbal conversations.

When you position yourself as an informed opinion leader, you gain credibility that enables you to develop an ongoing personal brand identity, create more buzz for your company, and expand your professional network.

Sound nerve-racking? It does not have to be! Use these tips and resources to help you get started.

Think about the big picture. 
Down the road when you have achieved your goal of becoming a thought leader, what do you see yourself being known for? Some people are influential for their bold opinions or futuristic predictions, others for explaining complex topics. Some are controversial yet revolutionary for inspiring change.

Zero-in on your strengths, confidence and comfort level to help you focus your approach. Then, answer the following questions:

  1. Who is your ideal audience?
  2. What questions are they asking?
  3. Why could you be uniquely qualified to answer these questions?

Start blogging. 
If you don’t have a company blog, check out this Blogging for Business Marketing Kit to learn more about it, its benefits and best practices. If you do have a company blog, become a regular contributor to get yourself comfortable with sharing insights publicly and in a friendly setting. Consider the power of journaling to help you develop topics.

You can promote your blog posts through social media including Twitter and LinkedIn, in your company’s ePublication if you have one, and by guest blogging on affiliate sites. Gauge feedback on your posts to determine which topics have potential to be expanded into a contributed article for an industry or business publication, a white paper, a webinar, or a presentation at a local organization.

Keep reading.
Look outside of your industry for regular sources of inspiration. This could be anything you enjoy reading about – public figures who publish content, magazines, newsletters and podcasts on entrepreneurial topics, or thought leaders you would like to be like.

Articles such as, 9 Things True Thought Leaders Always Do, can offer ideas for engaging your online community. And articles such as, How to Choose Content Topics That Get C-Suite Attention, can give you writing advice.

Once you are published, send us a link at We are always looking for new experts to learn from!