#ContentWritingChat Recap: Community and Thought Leadership on Social Media with Gene Petrov

#ContentWritingChat Recap: Community and Thought Leadership on Social Media with Gene Petrov

Are you hoping to one day become a thought leader in your own industry?
Well, you just might want to read this #ContentWritingChat recap first!
In this week’s chat, we talked all about the importance of community and establishing yourself as a thought leader. What do you need to know to truly stand out online?
We have the answers!

#ContentWritingChat Recap: Community and Thought Leadership on Social Media with Gene Petrov


Our guest host this week was Gene Petrov. Gene is a regular here at #ContentWritingChat. He’s a leadership and management consultant and he had tons of great information to share with us. Let’s dive into the recap to see what he had to say about thought leadership!

Q1: What are your first thoughts when you see or hear the words “thought leader”?

To kick off the chat, we asked everyone to share what comes to mind when the term “thought leader” comes up. What do they think of? What does that mean to them? Here are a few responses we received:


Gene knows there’s an important connection between a thought leader and their community. He also said the title needs to be earned.


For Bill, it’s all about having a unique, industry-impacting perspective.


Thought leaders are truly shaping the conversations in their industry and influencing the community they’ve built.


Sarah views thought leadership as being innovative in your thinking within your field.


Thought leaders are typically well-respected and provide a lot of value to their community.


Maria feels a thought leader is leading the charge on a specific topic and is knowledgeable in that area.


It’s also about being an expert on a topic and brining new ideas to the table.

Q2: How do you define a thought leader?

How would our chat participants describe what a thought leader is? Here are a few of their answers. Are any what you had in mind?


Gene knows it’s largely about the experience someone has, as well as the trust they’ve built with their community. Many thought leaders identify trends early on, which is something to always be on the lookout for.


One key aspect that Sarah brought up was confidence. Thought leadership requires you to be confident in your skills and your thoughts.


Since thought leaders have established themselves as an authority, their audience typically looks forward to the content they produce.


Curious, experimental, and willing to explore new territory are all great characteristics.

Q3: Who are some examples of thought leaders in your field?

These are great examples who you can certainly learn a lot from:


Simon Sinek and Mark Schaefer are just a couple thought leaders that Gene follows.


Julia looks up to a number of people, including Joe Pulizzi and Brian Fanzo.


Ray enjoys content from Michael Port, Guy Kawasaki, and others.


Some of Ben’s go-to thought leaders are Madalyn Sklar, Brian Fans, and Gary Vaynerchuk.


Zachary also suggested Gary Vaynerchuk as being a thought leader in his field.

Q4: What common connections might you see between these thought leaders?

Do the thought leaders in your industry share any similarities? There’s a good chance they have a few traits that are the same if you look close enough! Here are things many thought leaders have in common:


Gene shared many similarities of those in a thought leadership position. They include high intellect, emotional intelligence, a sense of service, and dedication to their craft.


Lexie knows that risk taking and courage are two important characteristics!


Sarah mentioned that they can’t be afraid to fail or to be wrong. If you mess up, you have to pick yourself back up, fix it, and move on.


For Shawn, it’s all about understanding, communication skills, and passion.


Julia shared a few great characteristics that are all important!


Fresh ideas and interesting perspectives go a long way in helping you stand out from the crowd. Warwick also said that sometimes thought leaders are the ones to say what everyone else is thinking, but are too afraid to speak up on themselves.


Excellent marketing skills certainly come in handy as a thought leader!


Terry knows that caring is one important quality thought leaders should have.

Q5: Why is community so vital to the thought leader?

We all know that community is hugely important when building your presence online. But why is it so important for a thought leader to have an engaged community? This is what you need to know:


As Gene said, how value is an insight if you don’t have anyone to share it with?


Community is everything if you want to be seen and heard online.


Warwick makes a great point. After all, your community will help you get the word out.


Thoughts need to be shared and your community can help you with that.


They can help amplify your thoughts and allow you to better resonate with your audience.


Are you even a thought leader if no one is listening?

Q6: What are the benefits of having that community in place?

What good can a community do for you? These responses from Tuesday’s chat are spot on:


Gene feels a community provides amplification and support. You can also get feedback from your community, which can be very beneficial.


Your community is going to be essential in helping you gain exposure online.


Julia knows just how powerful an organic community can be.


With community, you have support, can receive constructive criticism, and so much more.


You can also learn a lot from the people in your own community, which can shape the content you create.

Q7: How do thought leaders cut through the noise to communicate their ideas?

It’s a busy, noisy world in the online space… So, how is a thought leader supposed to stand out from the crowd? This advice can help you communicate ideas with your audience:


Thought leaders will tap into their community to help spread their message. And as Gene said, they need to play an active role in engaging with that community and serving them by providing value.


Passion, persistence, and progress are sure-fire ways to help people recognize you.


Make sure you’re sharing valuable information that resonates with your target audience.


When you have valuable content, your audience will help spread the word!


You can also get smart and repurpose your content to expand your reach even more.

Q8: How can one become a thought leader?

To become a thought leader, what action do you need to take? Is there anything that can actually be done to establish yourself? Here’s what you need to know:


Remember that thought leaders aren’t out there pursuing the title. As Gene pointed out, they’re chasing something much bigger than that.


To establish yourself as a thought leader, you really need to focus on serving your community. Provide value and engage with them. You’ll also need to make building a level of trust one of your top priorities. Then, continue working on how you present your message to your audience. It’s going to take time and practice. It won’t happen overnight.


Jade says it’s all about posting valuable information and constantly learning.


Gain experience, take risks, try new things, and be in it for the long haul.


Don’t be afraid to express your thoughts and opinions. Then, back that up with action and results. It’ll come to you in time, as Ben said.
Ready to join us for the next #ContentWritingChat? We’re on Twitter every Tuesday at 10 AM Central. Come join us by following @ExpWriters and @writingchat!

10 Key Ways To Stand Out From The Crowd & Be A Thought Leader

10 Key Ways To Stand Out From The Crowd & Be A Thought Leader

To be a “thought leader” is one of the most sought-after titles a marketer can hope for.
Thought leaders are influential individuals who play a huge role in informing the public, leading the direction of the industry, presenting new information and breaking barriers.
Theirs is the content that is loved; shared; read; and sought-after.
You can’t just go to school to be a thought leader, though. It requires the careful cultivation of a set of particular skills, strengths and networks. It’s not enough to simply be intelligent, hard working or interested: you also need to be passionate, unique and unafraid of pushing the boundaries of possibility.
thought leader

What is a True Online Thought Leader?

Thought leaders are many things but, to put it simply, they’re the people to whom everyone else goes for new ideas and key questions. They are informed individuals who offer valuable opinions and inspiration for the people who learn from them and they serve the amazingly important purpose of turning intangible ideas into solid realities.
Thought leaders make things happen and, more often than not, they undertake the task of transforming industries and instigating great change across varieties of platforms.
Thought leaders in the content marketing world include Brian Clark, the CEO of CopyBlogger; Brian Halligan, the Co-Founder of HubSpot and Joe Pulizzi, the Founder of Content Marketing Institute.

How to Be a Thought Leader: 10 Solid Tips

Becoming a thought leader is a little bit like becoming a unicorn: it takes a lot of effort and just a little bit of magic. Fortunately, you’re totally capable of both of those things. In the world of content marketing, the process of becoming a thought leader boils down to having unique ideas, expounding upon them in a unique way and offering people real, tangible value.
Follow these 10 tips to become a thought leader in your industry.

1) Be Authentic

Although it’s part of a thought leader’s job description to create high-level content that answers tough questions and provides real value for readers, it’s also important to know yourself and know your audience. This is especially difficult when you take into account the external pressure that is exerted on though leaders all the time. While it can be tough to avoid becoming distracted by things like the analytics attached to your blog, it’s important to remember that those things don’t provide a real window the to the big picture.
Additionally, they make it hard to remember that there are actually people behind all those swoopy lines and numbers. Because of this, the first step to becoming a thought leader is to be authentic, both to yourself and your audience.
You came to this business because some aspect of it was interesting to you. Therefore, there is very little that is more important than continuing to chase that interest. By writing what you know and are passionate about, your content will already have an edge over a great deal of content available on the Internet. Additionally, doing this will allow you to draw a series of followers who genuinely care about your topic.

How We’re Being Authentic (On Social)

One way we’re working on our authenticity is bringing a new level of transparency in our social media. In August 2015 we opened an Instagram account. We’ve started to feature a weekly #virtualworkforceculture post about our remote writers, with a picture of their faces, in their location: and our CEO has been traveling weekly to local businesses for a #localbusiness feature. among other things. Here’s a glimpse:

Featured #virtualworkforceculture of the week – our full time creative #writer, Oana G, based in Milano, Italy: “As you can see, I’m fighting a lost battle with clutter. To be honest, I like to surround myself with eclectic, odd, one-of-a-kind things that offer me the highest dosage of inspiration and energy. I love to connect objects with places and experiences, and I adore my job, because it allows me to get creative in my own environment.” #workfromhome #homeoffice #copywriter #copywriting #writing #marketing #SEO #contentmarketing #blogging #SMM #content #inboundmarketing #growthhacking #marketing #webtraffic #success #sales #expresswriters #photooftheday #loveit #selfie #instadaily #picoftheday #igers #instacool

A photo posted by Express Writers (@expwriters) on


This is the start to a very transparent social account that shows just what we’re up to in the office, and ties together faces in our work-at-home based team.

2) Seek to be a Hub of Information

Nobody wants another loudmouth marketer who takes over a huge portion of the Internet by hawking products or hard-selling readers. For this reason, one of the most important steps in becoming a thought leader is to dedicate yourself to being a hub of information rather than a blaring siren.
Business and personal blogs should act as platforms for reader engagement and should seek, primarily, to offer value to customers. Additionally, these platforms should offer a place for people to gather and engage in conversation via blog comments, tweets and re-tweets or social media shares. By doing that, you serve the most important purpose of a thought leader: inspiring ideas and facilitating cohesion.

3) Inspire Action

One of the most important purposes your content can serve is to inspire action within your readers. Your content should be so irresistible that people want to share it on social media, read the book you mentioned, try their hand at something new or travel to the exotic locale outlined in your most recent post. The goal can vary but the outcome should be the same: in order to be a thought leader, your content needs to move people to action.

4) Cultivate Your “Breakthrough Idea”

One of the traits of thought leaders everywhere is that they’re associated with a breakthrough idea. Depending upon your niche, your breakthrough idea could be an area of expertise or a particular approach to an old topic. Whatever your breakthrough idea is, it should inform the rest of your content.
For example, if you’re going to run a blog about optimizing efficiency and getting more done with less stress, your guests should be people who do that very well, your topics should be focused around wellness, productivity and success and your layout should be conducive to the rest of the message. The breakthrough idea informs the thought leader, who then informs the audience.

5) Be Consistent

Even if you write great content with a unique and inspiring message, it’s going to be tough for anyone to get onboard if they can’t predict where you’re going to go next. For this reason, thought leaders need to be consistent. Consistency promotes trust and accountability and gives people something to look forward to within your material.

6) Be Present

It’s hard to be a thought leader if you’re not actively participating in your industry and maintaining a consistent web presence. With that in mind, get out there and get published on a regular basis. It’s great to write several posts a week for your individual blog, but the true leaders will take this a step further by guest blogging, writing for authoritative sites, publishing a variety of content on dozens of different platforms and writing for industry leaders. This promotes a larger audience and contributes to a more recognizable brand.

7) Shoot for the Stars

Nobody ever became a thought leader refusing to hit for the bleachers. Because of this, it’s important to make big claims. Have confidence in your expertise and your brand and don’t be afraid to drive new ideas. This is one of the main things that set thought leaders apart from everyone else: thought leaders make big claims and they deliver results.
It’s impossible to make innovative change in your industry without doing this. Don’t worry about doing it all in a day, however. Just shoot for developing the ability to make big claims and, soon enough, your achievements will change as a result.

8) Network

Networking is an important part of becoming a thought leader. It’s tough to exist as an island and, in order to claim maximum success; you’ll need a network of like-minded individuals around you. In order to attain this, it’s important to work closely with influencers and mentors and participate on several social media platforms.
Additionally, you should be reaching out to followers by responding to comments, tweeting and re-tweeting and getting intimately involved in discussions on sites like Quora. Don’t miss opportunities to attend in-person events and conferences and call on your network when you need it. The easiest way to rise to the top is to have people prepared to help boost you.

9) Break Rules

This goes hand in hand with making big claims but it’s an important part of the equation. In order to become a thought leader, you need to get really comfortable with breaking rules and transcending boundaries. The fact that somebody said it’s not possible should mean next to nothing to you and, if anything, you should take it as inspiration to succeed. Think of it this way: boundaries are there to separate thought leaders from everyone else and it’s your job to figure out a way to jump over them.

10) Think Different

It’s no secret that one of Apple’s most successful slogans was “Think Different.” That’s exactly what Apple has always done and if there were ever a tech industry thought leader, it’s safe to say that it has been Apple and Steve Jobs. In order to become a through leader in any industry, though, it’s important to do just that: by thinking different you help yourself stand out from the crowd. You also fill gaps in content, provide new ideas and help customers connect to you.
Becoming a thought leader is not an overnight process but by working on these 10 points, you can be well on your way to becoming an industry thought leader in no time.