Every industry has the ‘thought leaders’ at the top. The people who’s names come up in conversion. The people who attract the most attention and opportunities. You see them speaking on the biggest stages and seemingly running the most successful businesses.

Do you ever look up to those influencers and wonder how they got there? Or maybe you want to be that person.

Building your personal brand has countless benefits. I reached out to some of my favourite influencers in the social media space and asked them: “What does it take to become the go to person in your industry?”

Here’s what they had to say:

Guy Kawasaki

“Simple: deliver good results. That’s 90% of the challenge. If you can do this, everything else is easy.”

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Joe Pulizzi

“Identify a specific audience and solve their problems with information every day over a long period of time.  Before you know it, you’ll create the go-to platform for that audience, and an amazingly valuable asset.”

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Michael Port

“Earn it, because you’re not entitled to anyone’s attention. Get really clear on who you serve, exactly what they want, and spend every working moment doing everything in your power to give them what they want.”

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Joel Comm

“Discover how you bring the greatest value to others through your passions, talents, skills, abilities and personality. And then seek to bring that value!”

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Bryan Kramer

“Don’t just listen to others, actively listen to what they are saying and respond. Conducting your communication in the most human way possible will change your outlook, I promise.”

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John Lee Dumas

“Focus on building relationships with people who are currently successful in the industry you are striving to be successful in.”

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Mark Schaefer

“Don’t worry about being ‘the expert.’ Nobody is born an expert. Have an urgency to learn and then work toward a vision of who you want to be.”

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Dennis Yu

“To be the “go to” person in any industry, you have to be THE person people think of when it comes to that topic. So you either have the expertise or the network to pull this off.

Expertise means your niche is small enough or expertise is deep enough that you can credibly be the one. This is super hard to do– takes many years, well beyond the 10,000 hour rule.

But having the network is actually much easier, since you need only be of service to the other experts.

If you’re in the chicken-and-egg situation of not having the network or the expertise– then volunteer your time to help a few prominent people.

The easiest folks to help are conference organizers. Not only do they know everyone in your industry, but they love to get help promoting, writing blogs, setting up chairs, or whatever. Make yourself useful in whatever way possible and these top 5-10 “power players” become your best advocates.”

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There you have it – how to build your personal brand and become that go-to person. One thing is for sure, there’s a lot of hard work behind the scenes. A lot of honing our craft and being worthy of being the best known person.

The greatest thing about all of this is, if you have the talent, there’s nothing stopping you. You can become that ‘key person of influence’. You just have to go out there and grab it.

Gav