The words we choose have a power to change the perception of a thing.

Yesterday I wrote about how “content” is one of those terms where I believe the generic nature of the word may create a dangerous tendency for the entire concept being undervalued and maybe even written off, hence my preference for “authority marketing” over “content marketing”.

I’m interested in another term that is often used as a synonym for the recognized authority: thought leader.

Aside: in fact my podcast, website and email list could be called some variation on “The Thought Leader” – it was on the shortlist alongside “The Recognized Authority”.

“Thought leader” is an intriguing term. Some people don’t like it because of overuse, or suggesting a level of self-importance.

It’s often used interchangeably with authority, but the concept of thought leadership has its own nuances. Leading thoughts are innovative ideas and insights in your field. As a thought leader, you’re introducing new perspectives,  challenging conventional thinking and inspiring transformative change.

When I talk about authority I use it exclusive to mean authority that is conferred when someone is recognized as an expert in their field. Being an authority means that you are acknowledged as an expert, a go-to source for knowledge and advice. This recognition often comes from a track record of experience, achievements, and the ability to consistently provide valuable insights and solutions.

Thought leadership primarily revolves around the generation of innovative ideas and insights within a specific field. Thought leaders are recognized – there’s that word again – for their pioneering thoughts, contributions, methodologies and frameworks – which often challenge existing norms and inspire change.

Authority, on the other hand, is like a badge of credibility and experience. People trust you because you’ve demonstrated your expertise and experience.

What’s really interesting is how these two things feed into each other. New ideas can help you build your authority, and when you’re already seen as an authority, people take your ideas seriously.

We might view this as a spectrum, going from Novice ➡️ Expert ➡️ Authority ➡️ Thought Leader.

I think in reality it’s not as neat and linear as that. But for now, that’s a good working framework to use.

One might even call it thought leadership 😉

I’d love to hear what you think about this. Do you want to become a thought leader or be recognized as an authority in your field? Would that help you bring in high quality clients?

– Alastair.

P.S. One of the reasons I chose The Recognized Authority over variations of The Thought Leader is because of the implied external validation that comes with the word recognized. That, and as a marketer I’m very interested in the authority piece rather than the “thought” piece of the puzzle. In fact I think the “thought” piece comes naturally when you share in public like I’m doing right now.

P.P.S. I just opened a few spots for the pilot of my enhanced Authority Accelerator program, starting early January. If you’re an expert in your field and you have a high-ticket, transformative, impactful offer AND you have a commitment to integrity, i.e. you are the kind of expert who always puts your clients best interests before your own, this program might be a perfect fit for you.

Authority Accelerator is all about creating an authority-building and lead generation platform that will attract a consistent flow of high quality leads. There are only 2 spots left, significantly discounted for feedback and case studies. Your commitment is around an hour a week for the first 60 days. Interested? Hit reply to learn more. Act fast, doors close soon!