What is an Industry Leader?
I think it’s important to understand... An industry leader, I think, is somebody who’s regarded as a professional in their field or an expert in their field.If you were going to call upon somebody for advice or to be interviewed by a major television network, that would be the person that you go to.
How you can become an Industry Leader
If you were going to create that type of persona for yourself as the industry leader, then there are a few key things you could be doing, and it’s easier than it ever was before. 20, 30 years ago before the internet it was very difficult to get your message out, very difficult to be seen as the expert in your field. Typically you would have to have a degree, and you would be called upon for regular news bulletins or would write a book or something like that. But it was fairly limited, and the channels to distribute your message were more limited that what it is today.
Becoming an industry leader now
In this day and age, it’s very easy to get your message out there with all the digital marketing and this online media, it’s very simple to get your message out there. Now having said that, it means that the marketplace is becoming more and more cluttered with a lot of information. It’s taking people longer to be able to sift through that information and find the experts in their field. So it’s about doing it in a way that is what I call a ‘multi-pronged’ approach, and I'm going to share with you today my strategy and the strategy that I've shared with others. Most of these I've learned from other people, and these are some ways that you can become an industry leader.
The first thing that I'm going to cover off is public speaking. They've done a lot of surveys, and people fear public speaking more than death, and I think that’s crazy. What that means is you’d rather be in the box than give the eulogy. But the reality is with public speaking, as soon as you're up on stage, which is the reason for all that fear by the way, once you’re up on stage as a speaker, people respect you or see you as an industry expert because you’re able to get up on stage and speak about your craft without hesitation.
I think that’s really important, to get confident at public speaking, especially if you want to be successful in business. You don’t have to, of course, but I think it’s a good attribute to have. For me, I do a lot of public speaking. People asks me do I still get nervous and there’s a quote from Allan Pease that I remember when he was asked the same question. He said, ‘I still get butterflies in my stomach, they just fly in formation.’ The good news is it does’t matter how experienced we are, we still get nervous. Now if you didn’t get nervous, it would mean that you don’t care and that’s my thing. I get nervous because I care about providing enormous value. Even doing these videos, sometime I feel a little nervous before I jump in front of the camera. It’s not a natural thing to do but it’s something that I've trained to do, and I've got more comfortable with it over time because I think it’s important if I'm going to get my message out there.
If I want people to respect me and see me as the industry leader, then I have to be the one that brings the message. I've got to be the one that’s comfortable getting up on stage and speaking. So public speaking’s a big part of it. I'll do a whole other video on how to get comfortable public speaking. Keep an eye out for that, it’s just an idea I got right then. But I think it'll be a great video.
Accreditations can be important
The second thing you can do if it is applicable to your industry is make sure you've got all the accreditation in place. I'm a pilot, and I've been a pilot since 1995. As a pilot, I've never worked as a pilot, but I do have my commercial pilot’s license. Now having said that, when we talk in the pilot world, we go to a pilot BBQ, the question that is asked is, ‘How many hours do you have? And what qualifications do you have?’ Endorsements is what they call them in pilot-land. So if you've got a ‘retractable undercarriage endorsement’ that means you can fly a plane where the wheels go up and down. That puts you up a level as far as your experience and expertness. It increases the gravity you hold in your rating, and other people look at you as a more professional, experienced pilot.
So that accreditation sees you as a bit of an expert in your field. I think the same thing applies in business. If you can get accreditation, if you’re in one of those fields that accreditation applies, then you can be accredited. Go ahead and do a course and get an accreditation. That may help you become an industry leader in your field.
Now there are a lot of other things you can do that aren't formal qualification-type things as well like public speaking, and I think more of them are down that route. The good news is you don’t have to go to school forever because it’s a perceived thing. Like the public speaking, it’s a perception because people are so afraid to go on stage that when they see someone on stage, they see them as an industry leader.
Create YouTube Videos
The third thing I would recommend is YouTube videos like this. If you’re the person that comes up every time someone does a Google search on your particular industry, of course you’re going to be seen as the industry leader. If you’re in the industry of finance, start a YouTube channel on finance. Put a few videos up a week. It’s very easy to do these days. I will one day do a video on making videos, because a lot of people do ask me that question, and it’s very simple., it’s very cost-effective, it’s not difficult to do at all.
Yet the amount of people that are now mentioning it to me, ‘Oh I saw you on YouTube.’ It creates this persona because you’re sharing your knowledge with the world. It doesn’t mean that all the other people out there don’t have the knowledge, they’ve just chosen not to share it. That means when somebody looks for it, they’re not finding them, they’re finding someone who is sharing. So in my industry they’re finding me. I find I’m getting more and more calls being asked to be a judge at business awards or public speaking events because I’m out there, I’ve put myself in the public domain on YouTube for the world to see.
Start a blog
On that note, when we talk about online, another great way to do that is to start a blog. Now I’m sure some of you are probably going, ‘What the hell’s a blog?’ For some of you, you'll know exactly what a blog is, you'll have a blog. If you do have a blog, blog regularly. If you don’t have a blog, start blogging. It’s very simple to do. It’s where you just write your thoughts down.
My blog typically is a transcription of these videos into the written word, because some people prefer to read. The other things is, unfortunately when somebody does a search on a topic, Google doesn't search through all the words I speak in the video, it just looks at the title and the description. In a blog, if I mention something about blogging, which I've just done, that word gets put into a blog post, and when someone types about blogging, maybe my post will come up. So it’s once again making sure you’re accessible by the public when they do a search looking for a particular topic, that you’re the one that comes up on page one. Because that’s going to make you look like the industry expert, and they’re going to come to you, it’s going to help you.
Start a Podcast
Another way you can do it with this online marketing media, is that you could start a podcast. Podcasting is fast becoming a very popular thing to do. If you've got a smartphone or some sort, an iTunes account, you can access thousands and thousands of really cool podcast shows. They’re like a radio show, and everyone does them a bit differently.
I've just started mine. It’s called Business Brian Food. Go and look it up in the iTunes store. As of the time we’re recording this video I’ve got four episodes live. Interesting to see how many I’ve got live by the time you watch this video and you go to the iTunes store. But podcasts are fast becoming a very popular way to get our message out there. You think our life is hammered by all this media, but most of it we need to pay full attention to. There’s television of YouTube videos, but podcasts are like the radio, they can play in the background. You put it on your smartphone. You can listen to it whilst you’re at the gym or mowing the lawn or whatever it might be.
Once again, if you’re the person that is interviewing people you’re seen as an industry leader. The other thing you can do is you can turn that on its head and go and find podcasts that are targeted in your market and offer yourself as a guest to be interviewed on the show. Once again that would make you be perceived as an industry leader in your field.
Write a book
There are a couple of other things that are more offline... One of them is an older method which is writing a book. You could take that online of course, you could have an eBook. There are these electronic book readers now like the Kindle. But if you write a book, I think you’re definitely going to be seen as an industry leader. And once again, it’s getting very easy and cost effective to self-publish and I think that writing a book is something that you could do. You only have to look at the declining book stores to know that getting too many of them printed would be a mistake. So I wouldn’t go crazy. Print enough to hand out at your public events, your seminars, etc, and make sure that you have an eBook version available, or even better, an audio version of your book available for people to download.
Get involved with an association
My final tip is get involved with an association. You don't’ have to be on the board, maybe President or something like that. Or you could start your own association or industry group, and you'll be seen as the industry leader in your field. If you’re going to be the industry leader of an industry that doesn't have an association or maybe the association’s not real good, that does happen, and you think that you can start an industry group that’s going to be better, then go for it.
Start your own industry group
I've seen many people that have started mastermind groups in an industry that have grown into huge industry groups. For example they've said, ‘Let’s all get together for lunch once a fortnight,’ one particular group of 6, 7, 8 in the same industry and brainstorm ideas. Then slowly people get invited to that group until it becomes a fully blown association and they’re having conferences. Starting an association or heading up an association gives you the chance to be seen as an industry leader in your industry, and people will come to you rather than the opposition because they’re looking for an expert in their field.
Hopefully you now know how to become an industry expert
So hopefully that’s helped you get your head around how to become an industry leader. It’s not something that will happen overnight, by the way. You need to work hard at it and give many, many presentations, many, many videos, many, many podcasts, many books, all these things take time to do so. It’s about putting your plan together and slowly working your way at it.
About the Author
Ben Fewtrell is a sought-after Business Coach, Keynote Speaker and trainer who has featured in Virgin’s Inflight Magazine and Entertainment Portal, SKY Business and “Secrets of Top Business Builders Exposed”. He is also the host of the popular Business Brain Food Podcast where he interviews leading experts on anything and everything business.