From March to May every year, the Philippines is noted for two seasons – summer and graduation.
Since last year, I’ve been doing talks for graduating students in nearby colleges and universities to help them get mentally prepared as they get ready for the real world. On more than one occasion, I’ve asked the young audience who they look up to in their field of study, and it’s a typical scenario for me to see them look at each other, hoping they could find an answer from the next person or point to the smartest guy in class or their professor.
Typical, I must say.
But what exactly is the opportunity that can be seen here?
As the old adage holds true that not everything can be learned within the four walls of the classroom, and today’s technology – the internet – is the extension of that learning, the experienced ones from different industries are in a good position to establish themselves as thought leaders by putting content online about their experiences in their respective fields.
And if there’s one thing people find value in, it is raw experiences. Experiences through storytelling are immediately relevant to future professionals – and even to a client – that it could even address the existing skills gap (or client problems) between what they learned in theory and what is being practised in the industry.
What’s in it for you as the writer, you ask?
- Writing establishes your digital footprint. Let’s face it, people who would want to search for anything or anyone rely on Google for answers. Long-form text like articles or blogs is still the best way to establish a digital footprint. It also serves as a good prelude if you eventually want to write a book.
- It grows your influence. By knowing who your target audience is and what goal you want to achieve, you can easily write the right content that can eventually influence your readers to recognize you as an authority on your chosen topic.
- It helps attract clients. These days, you can only attract people that you want to attract if you have an online presence. No, let me correct that. You can only attract them if you have an online presence with relevant content.
- It builds your personal brand. Each writer is unique in the same manner as each thought leader is unique. Your writing – the topics in your industry that you love to write about, the problems you like to solve through content, your target audience, your writing tone and approach, the style on how you engage – can easily help in building your brand as a thought leader.
- It is an equally effective alternative to videos and podcasts. While video, images and audio are all forms of content, written content remains timeless. Moreover, the text still serves as a better reference considering that people search using keywords.
- It provides value to the inexperienced. As mentioned earlier, young professionals of today rely heavily on the internet for information. By sharing with them information about how the real world (your industry) is like, you are able to establish yourself as an authority.
As for me, I’ll be giving awareness talks again to the next batch of graduating students in a few months. Hopefully, by then, I’d be able to give them new examples of new thought leaders (I mean YOU) that they should follow in their career.