5 Apr 2011
Here are the nine fundamentals to being a thought leader:
1.) Research your target audience – identify the challenges and issues they face in their daily lives/businesses. This is the most important clue and driver of your thought leadership direction.
2.) What do you want to be famous for? – Identify what area you want to own in your sector or industry. Focus on where your areas of expertise lie and analyse how you can you build an even deeper understanding backed by empirical data and always remember to focus it on your clients’ needs.
3.) Scan your competitors – are they doing anything in that space? If they are, don’t bother competing rather find a new space you can own.
4.) Deep dive – once you’ve identified the space you want to own it is important to go really deep into that area with evidence based research – opinions and using other people’s content certainly won’t cut it if you truly want to position yourself as a thought leader.
5.) Set objectives and kpis for your campaign – it needs to support and underpin some solid business objectives and it needs to be measured so that improvements can b made and it can be recalibrated along the way.
6.) Say something new – if you don’t your so-called thought leadership point of view will realistically only amount to another piece of content and there is a lot of content out there. This is about differentiating yourself from your competitors and positioning yourselves as the trusted advisors or ‘go to’ experts in your field.
7.) Thought leadership champions – Identify and involve your thought leadership champions from the beginning – someone has to own this and act as your spokesperson and preferably someone senior so that you gain the business traction and senior backing you need in order for it to be a success.
8.) Leverage and packaging – cleverly package your content across every touch point of your target audience and prospects. There is a lot written about content management, content marketing, content curation. Call it what you will, the point is read the material it will give you some good ideas on how to leverage your content and take it to market.
9.) Make it part of your culture – there are many well known brands out there such as McKinsey, Deloitte, Booz & Company who have thought leadership ingrained in their culture. They manage it as an important part of their business and the ROI on their thought leadership campaigns have been fantastic as a result.
Let me know if you have any other fundamental steps you think I should add.
11 Mar 2011
In a guest post on Problogger,
In particular, Albert Einstein’s quote stands out like a beacon for any person or business wanting to be a thought leader: “Great spirits have always encountered violent opposition from mediocre minds. The mediocre mind is incapable of understanding the man who refuses to bow blindly to conventional prejudices and chooses instead to express his opinions courageously and honestly.”
Thought leaders don’ play it safe
Merely playing safe is not going to help you as a thought leader and is a sure-fire path to mediocrity and obscurity. To this end Corbett Barr, from Think Traffic in Graham’s post had this to say: “I’m saying you have to look fear in the eye, realize that fear is hiding some of your richest potential material, punch fear in the face and take whatever it was hiding from you and put that in your writing.”
The same applies to you if you want to be a thought leader. It is indeed a tough challenge for many corporations but there are also many who get it right – think Virgin, IBM, Deloitte, Booze & Company and Apple to mention a few.
What should your thought leadership be doing?
Your thought leadership position should:
· Challenge and raise questions in your field of expertise around new thinking and new ways of doing things
· Stretch your clients to think “What if?”
· Frame the debate and create conversations
· Provide new insights to a particular topic area/sector/area of expertise, and most importantly;
· Hone in on the challenges and issues your clients or your targets face now and into the future.
By doing this you will be taking a leaf out of Einstein’s book and choosing to express your opinions courageously and honestly.
3 Dec 2009
I don’t think I’ve seen anybody encapsulate the essence of true thought leadership the way Chris Brogan has in his latest blog post.
I have quoted it here in part but I highly recommend you visit his blog to see the rest. Simply put he epitomises the mentality a thought leader should have at the purest level. No wonder he is a thought leader in his space. Go Chris!
”Sometimes, I’m asked why I give away all of my ‘how I do it’ information. I’m asked whether this gives others the ability to compete directly with me. Frankly, I don’t worry about competition. I worry that there aren’t enough people executing effectively for companies. I’ve got plenty of work to do as it is. New Marketing Labs picks up plenty of clients and has even when I give away all my major points and ideas.
“I feed the system because I believe you can take something I’ve started, run with it, and advance the whole space. I give you all that I can because I know that you’ve got your own ideas, and maybe components of mine will help you.
“Oh, and the more I share, the more business comes my way. It’s a built in reciprocal loop. ” Chris Brogan
Throughout my postings on thought leadership you will notice I talk often about having an abundance mentality. Many people struggle with this when it comes to thought leadership, however, as Chris so rightly points out ‘the more I share, the more business comes my way..”.
That ladies and gentlemen is the Eureka moment of thought leadership. That is what it is all about.
Thank you Chris.