Any successful thought leader will tell you sharing useful and interesting information can be powerful in building a positive reputation and solid credibility.
But sometimes just sharing information is not enough and like the old marketing adage says, “You should show not tell.”
This is where the art of storytelling comes in. Storytelling allows you to mentally paint a picture of a scenario to help you make a point. It’s a more relatable and engaging way to share your expertise.
To really work though, storytelling must be done in a way that is authentic. It may even require you to be vulnerable and share your challenges and failures. This type of storytelling is intensely brave and powerful.
Having the courage to be honest and exposed when you tell your stories through the media and social media will make them so much more impactful. They will resonate with people in such a personal way.
It’s these types of stories that really help others. We all have experienced situations in our lives that should be shared because others will benefit from it.
When you start authentically telling your stories and sharing your expertise with the motivation to help others, you will be amazed with the emotional connection that you start building with people and the relationships you start developing because you are positively impacting their lives.
Being authentic in the stories I tell has always been important to me but this was intensified when writing my first book From Unknown To Expert. Being an author puts you in an incredibly vulnerable place, open to criticism and failure. But sitting on the couch just wishing I had the courage to write a book or take the next leap into the spotlight was even more of a failure than trying and not succeeding.
It’s not easy to bravely be authentic and share your vulnerability, but there are two things to keep in mind that will help you:
1. Back yourself
Before I started my own journey I had self-limiting beliefs about telling my story. Did I know enough? Do I know more than the next person? Am I really an expert?
I had to back myself, believe in myself and stand in my own power. I had to believe I was truly an expert and be prepared to tell people I was.
2. Ask what’s driving you
What is your motivation to build your profile as an expert and thought leader? If the only reason you are doing it is to get more sales, your audience will know that, and they won’t like it.
My motivation is to create new opportunities and business growth but more deeply it is to share my knowledge. I want to teach as many people as I can how to do amazing PR and social media.
Putting myself out there was terrifying but it has also been incredibly positive. I’ve received such great feedback from those reaching out to me thanking me for being honest and telling me the information I shared has made a difference to their lives. For anyone in business, this makes all the hard work and long hours worthwhile.
Catriona Pollard is the author of From Unknown To Expert, a step by step framework designed to help entrepreneurs develop effective PR and social media strategies to become recognised as thought leaders in their field.