How to establish yourself as thought leader and build a name for yourself when nobody knows you

You are ready to get out there to step up in your career, change industry, set up your own business but don't know how to get started building a name for yourself in this new environment? 

These 10 tips will help you to get started to get seen as a trusted authority on your topic, and a credible source of information when people don’t yet know who you are!


Whatever reason it may be you want to build your Personal Brand, it involves being seen to build credibility and authority in your area of expertise so your name pops into people’s mind who influence you progressing in your career.


However, one of the biggest (mental) barriers most people have is the good old imposter syndrome.

‘I’m not good at talking about myself’.

‘Others are much more experienced in this’.

‘Who am I to say I’m an expert in it’.


And this goes on and on.


However, this is also the caviar of successful influencers – they are not perfect but they are real.


They don’t show only their perfect and polished side but the journey.

This is what makes you much more relatable to others which in return, builds trust through commonalities and with that, a relationship. And we know it’s those relationships that creates opportunities and with that – money comes naturally.

So here are 10 tips to help you build authority and connection with an audience.

This approach is the opposite of telling everyone how good you are and that you’ve got authority and they should trust.

It’s about inviting them to your journey and be part of your evolution.

This connects you in a deeper way; perhaps a little bit slower in some ways but it’s actually more powerful, more sustainable.


1.)  Character > Credentials

A Brand is the feeling someone has when they think of you and it isn’t just built upon what you know but how generously you share what you know and who you are.


Of course, you need to know your stuff and the more you know, the better you are positioned to be seen as the credible.

But if you really want to be trusted and build long-lasting relationships, you need to be someone people can connect with – and that’s through establishing personality traits, similarities and interests that go beyond your technical area of expertise.

Take me as example – I never got a Digital Marketing degree but still, I established Digital Recruitment nationally for one of the largest agencies.

It wasn’t how much I knew about it but how much I shared and the community I build for others to connect and learn.

This point is number one because I see so many outstanding talents who struggle with imposter syndrome which is why they don’t put themselves out there and miss out on so many opportunities.

They want to step up in their career but then doubt and with that, discount themselves as being someone who is credible and experienced enough. So they just don’t do it.

You can be on an intermediate level in your area of expertise as long as you are transparent about what you know and what you don’t know.

It’s about showing you are human and a life-long learner but still just a tad ahead of the ones who just start out and are a bit behind you on that journey.

That’s important.


2.)  Don’t be perfect. Be relatable.

The reality is: none of us know everything about our topic.

But what we do know is how we go to where we are and our take on things. We need to be clear with people about our strengths and also promote those but we also need to show people that we didn’t just wake up being like that and share what the trigger point was that got us to our unique selling proposition, our promise we deliver for others.

Showing some vulnerability will build a much deeper connection and bond with your audience as the will trust you so much more because they see that you are willing to admit to a weakness or a deficiency in your knowledge in some way. It’s a very powerful thing.


3.)  Learn from the best and share it

I never studied Digital Marketing but what I did was meeting and interviewing the best in that field to learn about their journey, how they got into their area of expertise, their take on things and organized MeetUps where they can share it with others who relate to it.


Asking lots of questions is key to get an understanding of what the secret sauce of some of those high flyers is.

Organizing events, even Facebook lives or virtual conferences around that doesn’t only build an audience for you but also your credibility as your Brand is a sum of everything you do but also everyone you surround yourself with.


4.)  Make it real.

Nothing is more powerful than telling stories – either your own stories or those you impacted with your area of expertise.

Talk about the challenges you were facing, the results you got, the learnings from it and what you are doing with it now.

Real case studies don’t just make you more human but also easier for others to remember your area of expertise as those emotions that are triggered through story telling is what makes information stick.


5.)  Show up

The old school way of building authority is to tell everyone what you know.

But when you engage in public conversation, for example joining conversations on social media on your area of expertise, you share knowledge and insights into your approach which is way more powerful than just talking about it in theory.


6.)  Inspire through your own transformation

No one started at the top and only sharing the end result can be daunting. Letting people in to your journey is also a massive part of being seen as credible source.

Don’t just talk about your destination of where you’ve arrived but talk about your origins and who you were when you started out.

This inspires and it also makes them more relatable and achievable as it’s the struggles and problems along the way that are daunting but seeing someone overcoming them makes it so much more impactful on others to also want it.


7.)  Give before you take

If you want to promote yourself in any shape or form, you first need to give. When you provide a lot of value to others, they are much more likely to engage with you because they already know and with that – trust you.

That can be in form of blogs, comments, videos, free public speaking engagements …



8.)  Don’t be a one hit wonder.

Building a relationship requires building trust and that comes from continuously getting to know you. Being consistent in your approach of getting seen by the right people is key!

Authority isn’t just built on what you know but also on how reliable and trustworthy you are. They want the security of knowing they can rely and depend upon you without you just vanish again. Don’t be flaky.

Don’t promise things that you don’t deliver upon. Stick to your promise, over and over again.


9.)  Dumb it down

As much as you know the in’s and out’s of your area of expertise, most don’t because it is not theirs.

Throwing acronyms and technical terms around won’t make you friends as it makes them feel stupid. Instead, use simple language and communicate in an easy to understand way.


10.) It’s not about you

Let’s be honest – nobody cares about you until you care about them.

Your chances to build your authority and credibility are higher when you know exactly how you can benefit the ones who are influencing your goal.

If you understand how you can solve their problem and improve their situation, you will be much more respected and liked. And people do business with people they like and trust!


Last but not least – don’t forget: building influence, trust and authority takes time because that is what relationships are all about: consistent delivery of value.


So what’s your value and how can you help others to improve their situation with your area of expertise?

Not sure? Let’s find it out!

Book your free 45-min Strategy Call here

Petra ZinkimpaCCCtComment