By Kath Walters

Building visibility – and getting noticed – is the new normal. Everyone is blogging and sharing on social media. But as you cleanse your inbox of trashy marketing messages each day, have you ever felt the pressure of the task? How can we make our blog a gift and not a burden?

The answer lies in our intention. 

Building a following with great content and social media has so many rewards. It builds our influence and authority. That gives us greater leverage in building a business, winning a promotion and getting a pay rise. It’s pretty exciting and rewarding day to day, too. When people comment and share our blogs, it’s a real buzz. And best of all, we get to have an impact on the world and make a shift happen.

Yet, those reasons do not provide the right fuel for our efforts to attract attention. To build an audience our intention has to be to serve. This intention always drives the best media, whether it is traditional or new.

Still, what does that mean in practice? Once we have the right intention, how do we deliver blogs that serve our readers and followers? It’s actually a little intimidating to try to stand out. What if people actually notice us and our ideas and we are suddenly in the spotlight?mUh oh.

If you’re not already blogging, sharing other people’s blogs – also called curating content – is a great starting point. The greatest painters in the world, such as Cezanne and Michelangelo, began by studying the masters hung in galleries. They copied their work. Find the blogs and stories you love and share them.

Matt Church, the founder of the Thought Leader Business School, encapsulates what distinguishes thought leaders from others: it’s the ability to add ideas to the body of knowledge. For example, to read an idea and say, ‘yes and’ or to say, ‘yes but’. It’s an elegant way of describing a complex idea with simplicity.

When we take this step, we begin to own our ideas, and we are ready to start sharing them. One important way we filter the ideas of other great thinkers is to look at them from our readers’ point of view – yes, lawyers do need to write blogs and share them, but dumping screes of legalese won’t help their readers.

It’s not important that we express ourselves perfectly at this point – a heretical statement for a writer I know. But finding ideas and then developing and owning your own are the only essentials before you start to share.

Of course, in the end, we want our ideas to shine – so we polish them and our ability to express them. And when we do, we will arrive at the most effective level of visibility: we’ll blow ’em away.

Every step is important and valuable as long as we don’t get scared and hide ourselves away.

So, no, don’t contribute to the avalanche of rubbish. And yes, do contribute great ideas to the world with the intention of making it a better place.