One of the hardest parts of leadership is figuring out how to share the knowledge you’ve built up over many painstaking years of work. You’ve had the experience. You’ve been through the fire. And you can make the road easier for other people. But not everyone is willing to listen, and even for the ones that are, how do you get your message across?
The good news is it’s easier than you think to share that first-hand knowledge with people. You can reach out in ways that will touch people’s lives, create value and cement you as a thought leader. All it takes is knowing how to do it.
Build Out an Online Course to Increase Reach
One of the easiest ways to get started is through an online course. It’s not tied to any one location, so you can do it wherever you are, even on the road. You don’t have to travel to your audience. It’s also a very low-overhead way to get started.
Doing a live online course also gives you some video you can use in the long term as evergreen content. When you start an online course, you’re creating a resource that will let you share your first-hand knowledge both immediately and in the future. It’s a personal touch that other resources like blogs and podcasts don’t necessarily have, and it’s one that’s easy to monetize as well.
Kajabi, a platform used to build, sell and host courses, notes on their blog, “…the world of online learning is booming. In fact, the e-learning market is expected to hit over $275 billion by the end of 2020! Videos are the currency of online education because viewers retain 95 percent of a message when they watch it via video, compared to just 10 percent when reading.”
If you want to build up your audience to share your knowledge, try running some courses online. Offer value to your audience and they’ll reciprocate with loyalty.
Make Public Speaking a Real Priority
Have you ever heard of TED talks? Of course you have. Just about everyone has seen one TED talk or another. You might even have a favorite TED talk—Sir Ken Robinson on creativity and schools, Simon Sinek on inspiring action, Tim Urban on the mind of a procrastinator. TED is a well-known platform for spreading a message.
You can spread your message the same way.
That might sound easier said than done. Glossophobia, or public speaking anxiety, affects about 73 percent of the population. It’s more common to be afraid of public speaking than not, even for people who are otherwise confident. The only way that gets better is through practice.
Don’t be afraid to start small if you’ve never really done much public speaking. Start with some marketing or business associations that you’re a member of. Offer to give one of their addresses—most have guest speakers at each meeting. That will allow you to get a feel of how to speak to an audience without jumping straight into something like TEDx.
Keep it simple and clear. Don’t clutter your slides if you have them. Trim the fat away and make sure you leave your audience with a singular takeaway that will stick in their minds. You might even find that the act of assembling a message makes the subject clearer in your mind too.
As you progress and get more comfortable, you can start to think about expanding your audience. The TEDx program allows a lot of people who have interesting ideas to spread them at events, but it’s not the only event of its type. There are yearly events you can find that might be looking for speakers, and as your name grows they may seek you out—or you can go to them and ask to be included as a speaker.
If you have some name recognition already, you can start doing seminars and people will actually pay to hear you specifically speaking about the subjects that you know best. You’ll find that if you become known as a public speaker, your name recognition will shoot up. You’ll make new contacts, create buzz around your business, and build your brand. It’s a key way to share your first-hand knowledge.
Don’t Shy Away From Blogging, Vlogging and Podcasting
These three things might seem different, but they’re all different ways of approaching the same thing. They’re your own content, your own thoughts marketed to the world. The only difference is format. Whether it’s the written word, video or audio, you’re creating a channel for yourself.
And the best part is you can repurpose content between each one. Gary Vaynerchuk is one of the most successful proponents of this—every time he makes a piece of content, he’s able to take pieces of it and repurpose it across multiple platforms.
“What about social media?” you might say. Social media is important, but without the pillar content that you own, social won’t do you as much good as you think. You have to have an owned channel to drive people back to.
As Vaynerchuk notes in his blog, “‘Micro content’ is created from each episode and is used to drive awareness back to the original long-form content. Long story short, I am constantly creating and posting as much content as possible and in a way that is contextual to each platform.”
If you’ve been even tangentially involved in marketing, you’ve probably heard of Seth Godin. Godin’s one of the elder statesmen of online marketing. And one of the biggest reasons for that is the fact that he was an early adopter and consistent evangelist of one of the best thought leadership strategies: blogging. He’s been so successful at it that you can literally go to Google and type “Seth” and the first thing that comes up is his blog.
These well-known entrepreneurs and marketers aren’t the only ones that can be successful with this strategy. You can do the same thing. Creating your own channel is a great way to share your knowledge with the world.
Start with one of those things and build off it, then add the other channels as you have the bandwidth—as entrepreneur Steve Blank says, “Typically, you pick several media to reach each audience. It’s likely that each audience reads different media (potential customers read something very different than potential investors.)” Use content from one pillar to create the others and boost your social media profile.
All of these methods will work, but the most effective way is to combine all of them together. The best part of it is that you can use one to help another—do an online course and work it into a blog, or podcast about something then turn your notes into a presentation. You can save yourself work while still getting your name out there as an authority.
You can share your expertise and knowledge with the world. And there are plenty of ways to do it. Make sure you’re taking advantage of them.