B2B Writers International

Debunking 4 Myths about Thought Leadership

3 minute read

B2B copywriters, especially beginners, sometimes believe thought leadership is not open to them. It seems like only extremely experienced and recognized heads of companies who we read about in Entrepreneur or Inc. are thought leaders.

But it’s very possible and doable for you to become a thought leader. And it’s extremely valuable in generating new clients and expanding your business.

Let’s first agree what a thought leader is. A thought leader is viewed as an expert in their industry who genuinely shares their knowledge with an audience to educate, improve, and add value.

They’re recognized by peers, customers, and other industry experts. And that’s not because they sound like everyone else! They generate distinctive ideas, have a unique point of view, and offer fresh new insights.

Now, here are four myths about becoming a thought leader you need to get rid of. These misconceptions are in fact holding you back.

1. I’m not a CEO, top executive, or leader in marketing. So, thought leadership doesn’t pertain to me. 

Being unique, going against the grain, or having great insights is what matters. Not how big your job title is.

Just look at Melanie Perkins, co-founder and (now) CEO of Canva who transformed graphic design and made it accessible to a wider group of people. Her thought leadership began at age 19. After teaching others graphic design, she noticed they struggled because the platforms were too complicated.

Existing design tools were too complex for the average user. 

And as a 19-year-old university student in Australia, she decided to help people with an easy-to-use platform, empowering individuals and businesses to create their own designs.

Due to her innovative core idea, her transparency about her journey, and willingness to be a role model and mentor to others, she became a thought leader. Canva can now boast of 534 million visitors per month to their site!

If you have unique thoughts and insights into how to solve your audience’s problems, your voice matters to them. They need to hear from you.

2. Thought leadership is just another form of self-promotion. 

To some, especially introverts, getting out there on social media, booking speaking engagements, or being a guest on a podcast might feel too salesy and pushy. But think of it as offering meaningful information that solves problems. Wouldn’t you want to help others find solutions to their challenges? That’s how people become thought leaders.

Seth Godin had contrarian ideas he wanted to share. He suggested creating unique “purple cow” products and ideas that stand out, getting consent from consumers before you interrupt them with messages, and building a loyal community. He wanted to push marketers to question the status quo and foster their own curiosity and creativity. Today he’s a marketing guru who’s been inducted into The Marketing Hall of Fame.

3. I don’t have a million followers. 

It’s not about the number of followers you have on social media. A recent article in the Harvard Business Review revealed there are many types of followers and not all of them who follow a leader or expert are thoroughly engaged. When you become a thought leader, people want to read your content, hear you speak, and follow you on social media. They gravitate to you because you are providing value and coming up with important messages for them.

So, don’t let not having a large following on LinkedIn, let’s say, stop you. Make no mistake about it: social media does have tremendous value and LinkedIn is an especially fertile site for copywriters and content writers to be on. But the important thing to remember is to prove your authority and trustworthiness in a way that engages your audience.

4. I barely know enough about all the other forms of copywriting. How can I become a thought leader if I’ve mastered just one area? 

New writers who are learning email marketing, white papers, or case studies probably feel like it makes no sense to call themselves experts when they’re still learning. But let’s think about this more deeply. Whether you feel like an imposter or just feel like you’re not yet there on knowing enough, will you ever feel 100% sure? Probably not. Or like you know all that you should? Again, probably not.

But maybe you’re killing it in social media. You can become a thought leader in just one area, if that’s the area you’re knocking out of the park. You don’t have to be an expert in all things marketing! You can become another Ryan Holmes, co-founder of Hootsuite, who offers great commentary and nuggets of gold about how to leverage social media in your business. 

Know that you can become a thought leader by sharing your expertise and engaging your audience with new ideas and in new ways. It’s just as we tell our clients: you have to stand out in a crowded market. By creating a distinctive voice of your own or offering something different and helpful, you can stand out in your respective niche and offer inspiration to other copywriters and marketers.