Using and posting on social media isn’t always considered as growing thought leadership. Millions of people create content on the internet and claim to be industry experts in selling products or services. As a result, users are bombarded with content, spam and sales pitches from every direction possible. 

The only way to distinguish the best professionals with real industry experience is through thought leadership. That means you’re not going to build a sustainable value brand online by posting for the sake of posting. In my opinion, that’s just creating white noise.

We’re living in times of data overload, and you’re getting the most content in the history of the world, including written, visual and audio content. There is so much content in the digital age that people are looking for professional expertise for content designed specifically for businesses to get results.

As discussed about in the episode, ‘How does thought leadership benefit your business?’ the key to thought leadership is high-quality, original content in all areas of communication. But unfortunately, that can be a challenge for content creators and influencers, according to top personal branding consultants.

Thought Leaders Drive their Ideas

The big challenge is using social media to grow your thought leadership today. We know those thought leaders don’t try to convince others that they can do the unthinkable. Instead, thought leaders drive their ideas, comfortable in the knowledge they don’t know. So it’s okay to admit, you don’t know, a thought leader would say potentially, I don’t know.

If you want help with it, we can go and find out specifically more about that subject. Even if you have to speak to another colleague, that’s a thought leader. So you might be think, with much noise online, is it still worth using social media? But, of course, social media is your opportunity to express your ideas and concept creation instead of keeping it all to yourself. I think it’s a shame to have great concepts, ideas, and innovations in this lifetime and not to share them with the world.

It’s a valuable tool, but the important thing is that you have to do this smartly and adequately to achieve your outcomes. So we will help you with brief introductions and how to do that.

“Authentic leaders have courage and conviction. In business and leadership, having a mindset that accommodates a “dare to fail” vision is powerful.”

– Jon Michail

Thought Leaders Think About Their Audience

First, you need to know and reflect on who your audiences are; this is interesting. For example, if you’re going for a Rolls Royce audience, and your whole messaging is to the Reject Shop, what you’re doing is being incongruent in your messaging. Yet, it’s ubiquitous online, especially with marketers claiming they talk about high ticket value and net worth.

The concept here is that it’s a different language communicating differently to various markets. So if you’re going for an ultra-high net worth, that’s another type of market. Somebody considered working, lower, or even middle and middle-upper class won’t be in your messaging.

In a so-called egalitarian society, like Australia, at the same time, every target market has a different language than they would expect. So being enrolled on this is very important. There’s fundamental neuroscience regarding backgrounds and what your audience expects from you online. For example, people are not interested in your morning selfies. That means if you post something online, we’re talking about thought leadership here; make sure it’s something that will add value.

Quality Content Equals Thought Leadership

Now, if it’s personal storytelling with family and that’s what you’re choosing to share, that’s part of your authenticity game, but the reality is the content still has to be quality.

Now, if it’s personal storytelling with family and that’s what you’re choosing to share, that’s part of your authenticity game, but the reality is the content still has to be quality. So, for example, technology companies don’t care about quality. They will take all the content you want, as they’re in the content business, but that doesn’t mean your content will get much airplay. They’ll not be critical of your content other than the algorithms that will put it at the bottom of the list.

So remember, content quality is essential. It’s more important than content consistency, meaning you must post quality content consistently. So what is the point of ticking boxes to be consistent if the content is not up to scratch? Nothing.

We’ve made mistakes along the way from the perspective of posting something for its sake. It is taking the eye off the ball from the point of your thought leadership and expertise. So a valuable tip is to connect with other thought leaders. Specifically online, because you’re creating a network effect, the network effect is part of your leverage. It’s part of your opportunities to build new relationships, potentially new deals, and many new possibilities for the future.

“Leadership and learning are indispensable to each other. “

– John F. Kennedy

Thought Leaders Are Authentic

Thought leaders connect with other thought leaders. The network effect is also piggybacking on their brand power. From a marketing perspective, that is fantastic, and it’s imperative that you do that. The more you do that, and the more influential the authentic authorities you join with, the better for you.

More importantly, through all of this, it’s vital to be authentic. Why? We live in fake news, disinformation, and misinformation society. So people do not trust. Trust is at the lowest level in history. Meaning that your authenticity can have some rough spots from the perspective of others because that’s what authenticity is.

We’re talking about just being yourself, and yes, you will make some mistakes, but it is no big deal as long as it’s coming from your heart; people can get into that. Personal branding consultants revealed that people appreciate the rawness and the honesty of that, and at the same time, it builds trust, which is essential.

My objective is not to discourage you from growing your thought leadership online and it’s to do the opposite. It’s to encourage using this powerful tool smartly because there is already too much of the same online content. It’s important to remember that you are not an influencer; you’re a thought leader.


Thought Leaders don’t adhere to metrics

Numbers don’t say much about you, although you might have only 20 views on a video for social media. If these views are from people who admire your work and enrolled with you, that’s what really counts. The rest can be vanity metrics that might look good psychologically, but you’re trying to accumulate those views.

Next week, if you discuss with the manager that you’ve got 200,000 views on a video, they will question what they can do with that. If we are enrolling people, are we converting people, or are they doing business with them? And this is essential because the people who do that must have trust, likeness, and respect for you. So this is what thought leadership is all about. It’s about building that and getting better at doing that constantly.

Remember, numbers are essential, but they are just metrics, and metrics don’t say anything about your reputation. Externally, the quality of your content is what evaluates your reputation online. But more importantly, internally, it’s also the quality of your person. And that’s also part of thought leadership.

You can sound knowledgeable, but it means nothing from the view of authenticity. Likewise, you can have millions and millions of followers, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that person is a thought leader. What it means is its good marketing with a good following. Online reputation management is crucial in establishing this credibility.

So we’ll leave this for you to ponder. The people you respect and follow are out there, and if they’re an authority and an expert, look at what they publish from a content perspective that’s also thought leadership. Thought leadership has to leave you with those ‘ah ha’ moments instead of common generic statements. Thinking takes a lot of energy, so if you’re a thought leader, you will be many steps ahead because most people don’t think.

“The key to authentic thought leadership is high-quality, original content in all areas of communication. And that can be a challenge in a world full of content creators, influencers and copycats.”

– Jon Michail

More Information on Thought Leadership

For more, I recommend you listen to the podcast episode ‘How Does Thought Leadership Benefit your Business‘. Also read Forbes article ‘What Is Thought Leadership And How Does It Benefit Your Business?‘ and ‘Congruent Leadership Is Authentic Leadership’.

I want to invite you to send an email for any questions you might have at

I hope this blog helped you get more clarity on creating quality content as a thought leader for business.

Jon Michail, Image Consultant | Personal Branding Coach | Business and Personal Branding Strategist | Author | Group CEO and Founder, Image Group International |

Image Group International are Entrepreneurial Activists. Rebels With a Cause!


Jon Michail, Founder and award-winning Chief Image-maker together with his team at Image Group International, helps executives and entrepreneurs to build, grow, and monetise their personal brands (online and offline). They help their clients by positioning them to stand out so they attract their ideal clients. They’re committed to maximising an individual’s personal impact, influence, and value in the ever-changing and disruptive business environment.

Image Group International is recognised as Australasia’s leading personal brand image advisory, with over 33 years of proven results.


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