Posts Tagged ‘tips on thought leadership’

  • The day I was told my twitter DM was ‘crap’

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    25 Jul 2013
    Robert Caruso

    Robert Caruso: “Use twitter to engage not sell”

    I have a twitter account @thoughtstrategy which focuses solely on all things thought leadership and related stuff.  When I first have people follow me I typically used to send them a direct message telling them about the great, free ebooks on my blog with a link. And what’s more I even addressed each person with their first name – no automated responses from me.  That was until Robert Caruso, CEO of Bundle Post took umbrage to my approach and hauled me over the coals for spamming him.  So always curious to learn and improve the way I engage and do things I contacted Robert and we had as long as a conversation you can have in 140 characters about this.

    As a result of our twitter engagement I asked whether he would be prepared to be interviewed for this blog which he kindly accepted.

    If you want to learn more about Bundle Post and what they do, read Robert’s answer to question three.

    Anyway here’s what Robert had to say.

    1. What’s your philosophy about social media and how brands should be using it?

    I have many, but here is a formula we developed that always works when executed properly. Content leads to conversations. Conversations build relationships. Relationships results in ROI.

    2. Robert you didn’t like my approach to you on twitter and told me so even though it was a personalized not automated response – why and what lessons can you give to other twitter users?

    The circumstance was that we had just connected on Twitter and you sent a Direct Message (DM) pitching your book/article. That is direct marketing, not thought leadership or social media marketing. So I told you so.

    You would never do that to someone you just meet in real life, yet so many inappropriately do such pitching in social media. If you want to be effective in social media marketing you must first earn relationships. Once you have built relationships, then you have earned the right to pitch your stuff to them.  Just like in the real world…

    3. You are the CEO of Bundlepost, an automated content curation platform, why did you design it?

    Bundle Post is a social content management system. The only thing it automates is the back office. It does not automate posting to your feeds, but rather it helps you discover, hashtag, schedule and post relevant content, and infuse your repository marketing posts in a way that is 80% more efficient, effective and profitable.

    We were a social media agency. I recognized that we were spending the bulk of our time searching, finding, editing, scheduling, hashtagging and sharing content for clients, rather than building relationships, having conversations and driving ROI. This prompted me to design a tool for us internally. After 2 weeks, I knew everyone needed it and we would become a software company as we are today.

    Craig’s comment: Most of you who read this blog will know that I have a very strong view that you cannot be a thought leader merely by curating content. That said there is no doubt in my mind that clever curation or aggregation of content can be extremely useful to a brand in a variety of ways.

     4. How important is content for brands these days and how should it be shared via social media?

    For the average marketer it is really important, but probably not in the way you expect. If you are making your social media efforts about your target audience and NOT you, then you will need to understand what your audience is interested in and share that content. Your content creation will also have to take into account your audience interests over your own self-promotion. Failing to do one or both will result in a lot of disappointing results.

    5. What is your definition of a thought leader?

    Frankly, I try to stay clear of the term myself. It has become so overused and by many that lead with thoughts on things they have never really done, yet have generated a celebrity status within social media.  I truly believe that such terms will aid in the demise of social media, similar to the dot Bomb if we aren’t careful.

    6. Do you think purely curating content can make you a thought leader or do you think thought leadership requires something more and if so what?

    Purely curating content is not leading anything. Social media requires content creation AND sharing others content, not one or the other. Again, thought leadership doesn’t matter, revenue and results leadership does.

    7. Can you give any examples of great content used extremely well by a brand using social media?

    Honestly, I stay clear of big brands and their content/social media marketing. Why? Because most don’t do it properly and they don’t have to. They are leveraging millions of dollars already spent in branding and marketing. They ignore comments, don’t engage and build relationships. They use social as an additional push marketing platform, and they can. Everyone else must do it right.

    8.How will social media develop over the next five years?

    Content creation and sharing activity will double or triple over what the average user produces, shares and consumes today. This trend will continue escalating.

     

    Craig Badings is a director at Sydney-based, Cannings Corporate Communications.  He is the co-author of the award winning  #THOUGHT LEADERSHIP Tweet: 140 Prompts for Designing and Executing an Effective Thought Leadership Campaign.  He published his first book on thought leadership in 2009:Brand Stand: seven steps to thought leadershipJoin him on twitter @thoughtstrategy and on LinkedIn.

     

  • Free thought leadership webcast

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    23 Jul 2013

    Please join me in my second of a three part webcast series on thought leadership with Infinite Media, an Onstream Media company.

    These are free and if you missed the first you can always download it and listen in your own time.

    In the second I will be sharing the following (if you can’t read the screen grab look just below it) – all you have to do to register is to visit http://www.webcaster4.com/Webcast/Page/10/1531 it’s free.

    There are only a few days to go before the second webcast and then on the 8 August my co-author and co-founder of Leading Thought, Dr Liz Alexander will share with you the power of storytelling and how critical this is to the thought leadership content you produce.

    Craig Badings presents free thought leadership webinar series

    Craig Badings presents free thought leadership webinar series

    Here’s what I covered in the first session, what I will cover in the second and what Liz will cover in the third:

    Webinar One – Adapting to how your client/consumer now buys and ways content and thought leadership are critical to your success  

    • How the consumer has changed the way they buy and how selling is adapting to these changes
    • How this has impacted marketing
    • The need for schema cracking ideas – what this means and how it works – Dove example
    • What thought leadership is and what it isn’t – a few definitions
    • How and where to start on your thought leadership journey
    • The importance of the right culture to stimulate and promote thought leadership
    • Why content is so important in lead nurturing and lead generation; the difference between content and thought leadership content

     

    Webinar two – Identifying, evolving and taking your thought leadership to market – register now at http://www.webcaster4.com/Webcast/Page/10/1531

    • The steps you need to take to identify a thought leadership position
    • The importance of client centricity
    • The five step process for thought leadership to work:
      • Understanding the challenge
      • Developing your thought leadership position
      • Creating and leveraging your story (webinar #3)
      • Communicating your point of view
      • Measurement, evaluation and recalibration
      • A cross section of case studies
      • The benefits of a great thought leadership campaign and what it can do for your brand
      • The long-term nature of thought leadership and embedding it as part of your culture

     

    Webinar three – Successful thought leadership: less marketing, more storytelling (Dr Liz Alexander) resgister now at  http://www.webcaster4.com/Webcast/Page/10/1532

    • Good storytelling differentiates successful brands – examples (Patagonia; Whole Foods Market, etc).
    • Why stories compel and factual information doesn’t
    • Why your story is the DNA of your brand:
      • How to identify the right story
      • Finding internal storytellers you may not be aware of
      • Identifying the true “hero” of your story
      • Why today’s brands have to be publishers
      • Packaging your thought leadership content:
        • The art of personalizing the same story many times
        • The benefit of a book
        • How effective are your storytellers? Ensuring client-facing employees are all on the same page.

    Sign up now – visit http://www.webcaster4.com/Webcast/Page/10/1531 I look forward to seeing you on the call.

     

  • Thought Leadership that converts

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    17 Jul 2013

    Craig Badings colour pic IMG_5932Want to listen to a free three part webcast series on thought leadership?  Come and listen to me and Dr Liz Alexander as we take you through how the consumer has changed, how you need to adapt, how to initiate and launch a thought leadership campaign, case studies of thought leadership that works, how to use it to generate and nurture leads and the art of storytelling and why it is so important in your thought leadership piece.

     

    The first one takes place tomorrow.  If you want to learn how to truly differentiate you or your brand from the competition then register here for free: http://www.webcaster4.com/Webcast/Page/10/1522

    Thought leadership webcast #1

     

    This is what I will be covering in the first session:

    • How the consumer has changed the way they buy and how selling is adapting to these changes
    • How this has impacted marketing
    • The need for schema cracking ideas – what this means and how it works – Dove example
    • What thought leadership is and what it isn’t – a few definitions
    • How and where to start on your thought leadership journey
    • The importance of the right culture to stimulate and promote thought leadership
    • Why content is so important in lead nurturing and lead generation; the difference between content and thought leadership content

    Join me it should be fun.

    Craig Badings is a director at Sydney-based, Cannings Corporate Communications  and co-founder of Leading Thought. He is the co-author of the award-winning  #THOUGHT LEADERSHIP Tweet: 140 Prompts for Designing and Executing an Effective Thought Leadership Campaign.  He published his first book on thought leadership in 2009:Brand Stand: seven steps to thought leadershipJoin him on twitter @thoughtstrategy and on LinkedIn.

     

     

  • Your biggest thought leadership mistake

    Thought leadership logo
    29 May 2013

    san rock artThe San (Bushmen) of the Kalahari, the Aboriginal tribes in Australia, the North American Indians and the first movie makers all knew something modern corporations seem to have lost sight of – that the power of story-telling is multiplied a hundredfold through pictures.

    The capacity of the human brain to be entertained as well as absorb and retain information through visuals is well researched and documented.  So why do most companies still insist on smothering their audiences with an avalanche of words as they churn out reams and reams of content?!

    Thought leaders and content marketers are missing a trick

    The exponential growth of visual online platforms such as Instagram, Pinterest, Vimeo, Vine, Snapchat, Infographics, You Tube and Facebook is a blessing in disguise.  Why? Because it’s forcing brands to re-evaluate how they present their content and making them recognize that their audiences are crying out for visual representation of data and information.

    I never forget speaking to the head of knowledge management at one of the leading global management consulting firms a few years ago and he said to me: “Craig we have researched our clients and they are telling us they don’t want the big, thumping reports, they want the two page executive summary – they just don’t have the time.”

    With that in mind, it’s great to read in Sourceforconsulting’s latest online newsletter that the proportion of thought leadership videos has risen from 2% five years ago to 4% in 2012 and that overall the proportion of thought leadership in traditional article/report format has fallen from 92% to 79% over the same period.

    Spice up your content with visuals

     

    Deloitte WA mining boomSo the message about going visual is sinking in but ever so slowly.

    I was in Perth, Western Australia a little while ago and visited the offices of Deloitte.  I walked out with a one page A3 page entitled ‘Western Australia’s Mining Boom Dig a little further’ (seen pictured above).  It’s not thought leadership but it is a great piece of content captured in a series of graphs, statistics and diagrams all visually displayed.  Within a minute or two I got it and didn’t have to plough through a weighty report to get there.

    Other examples of brands that have been using the visual medium really with their campaigns include Dove’s Real Beauty sketches and BMW’s Activate the Future – if you have any more examples please let me know, I’d love to hear about them.

     

    Creating content that converts

    Ultimately you are producing content or thought leadership material for a reason.  You want to engage with an audience and position yourselves as the expert, the brand with the relevant insights and then eventually convert them into a client or a customer.  The brands who can differentiate themselves through great content and turn it into compelling, interesting visual content are the ones who are going to stand head and shoulders above their competition.

    Make no mistake they will still have to be able to use words to articulate their story but the more visually you can interpret these words the more impactful and memorable your story is going to be.

    What are you going to present your information more visually?

     

    Craig Badings is a director at Sydney-based, Cannings Corporate Communications.  He is the co-author of #THOUGHT LEADERSHIP Tweet: 140 Prompts for Designing and Executing an Effective Thought Leadership Campaign.  He published his first book on thought leadership in 2009:Brand Stand: seven steps to thought leadershipJoin him on twitter @thoughtstrategy and on LinkedIn.

     

  • Darwin effect to separate thought leadership content on LinkedIn

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    9 Apr 2013

    DarwinLinkedIn is making a serious play to be at the epicentre for business content and why not?

    The logical step for any social media platform is to monetize and LinkedIn has seen the sponsored content dollar signs.   They already have a captive professional audience as well as industry and sector specific content that bodes well for related advertising spend – it could be a big money-spinner.

    They have been successful with their LinkedIn Today initiative which enables users to follow industry related articles. Time will tell but we may see LinkedIn becoming the new hub of online B2B content.

    Where does LinkedIn’s new ‘play’ leave thought leaders and content marketers?

     

    LinkedIn can deliver content in an incredibly targeted manner and as a result content marketers should be forewarned – as LinkedIn’s audience becomes more discerning about their content choice it will only be the ‘fittest’ thought leadership-type content that will survive. Darwin’s theory will prevail in the content marketing wars.

    Already there are tensions in the debate around the differences between thought leadership and content.  It’s nothing new.

    Business people are turning their back on volume and more and more they are seeking quality, thought leading content.  It is the type of content that drives to the heart of their issues and challenges, offering new insights, shifting paradigms or cracking existing schemas.

     

    The term thought leadership has been misappropriated by content marketers

    How many times have you seen content erroneously labeled as thought leadership?  I see it every day on my thought leadership twitter feed and Google Alerts.  Often this self-labeled, self-serving thought leadership material is at best a collection of useful hints and tips at worst opinions of so called company experts.

    But there’s nothing wrong with content. US-based Content Marketing Institute describes it as having the ability to:  “…attract, acquire, and engage a clearly defined and understood target audience with the objective of driving profitable customer action.” All well and good but I appeal to corporates and those in charge of their content production not to label it thought leading content when it isn’t.

    My co-author, Dr Liz Alexander and I define thought leadership as follows in our latest book: #Thought Leadership Tweet: 140 Prompts for Designing and Executing an Effective Thought Leadership Campaign: “Thought leaders advance the marketplace of ideas by positing actionable, commercially relevant, research-backed, new points of view. They engage in “blue ocean strategy” thinking on behalf of themselves and their clients, as opposed to simply churning out product-focused, brand-centric white papers or curated content that shares or mimics others’ ideas.”

    Fiona Czerniawska from Sourceforconsulting put it brilliantly when she recently remarked that a lot of what passes as thought leadership these days is mostly thought followership!

     

    Craig Badings is a director at Sydney-based, Cannings Corporate Communications.  He is the co-author of #THOUGHT LEADERSHIP Tweet: 140 Prompts for Designing and Executing an Effective Thought Leadership Campaign.  He published his first book on thought leadership in 2009:Brand Stand: seven steps to thought leadershipJoin him on twitter @thoughtstrategy and on LinkedIn.

  • How Jeff Bullas became a thought leader on social media – interview

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    20 Feb 2013

    Jeff Bullas picJeff Bullas is a thought leader on social media and online marketing.  I met with him last week and was struck at how focused he is on working with companies and executives to optimize their online personal and company presence through the use of social media and other web and mobile technologies. The thing with Jeff is he truly walks his talk:

    I asked him how he got there and what tips he had for aspiring thought leaders.

     

    Jeff over a period of 3-4 years you have positioned yourself as a thought leader in optimising content online and social media marketing strategies.  How did you do it and what tips can you give to other aspiring thought leaders out there?

     

    It started with a passion for social media when I saw its impact on people and on the web. I then decided to create a blog which I could write and create content about my observations of the potential, growth and my experiences of the social media revolution.

    The next stage involved building followers on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn and sharing that content with them.

    So those are my 3 tips.

     

    • Build a presence online (blog) that is based on your passion
    • Create focused content that adds value to your readers
    • Build online tribes on social networks

     

    If you persist with these and are consistent then the magic happens.

    While we have a plethora of online platforms such as blogs, Facebook, YouTube, LinkedIn, Twitter, Pinterest, etc you have a very strategic approach to these platforms and how content should be used online – what are some of the golden rules?

     

    The model I use is to own and build a personal brand with a blog that is self-hosted and has my own domain. I use WordPress as the platform for that. It is my online portal that I control. You operate it under your own terms and conditions and not Facebook’s or any other social network oligarch. I call it the “hub and outpost” model. The blog is the hub and the outposts are the social networks. Create and publish content at the hub and distribute it at the outposts.

    The social networks are just the ambassadors that crowd source the distribution and marketing of that content. In terms of what social networks to play on the answer is simple; focus on the social media platforms where your target audience hangs out.

    By the way I am on all of those platforms you mentioned as publishing to them doesn’t take much time.

    Many people focus on Facebook but I have found that a deliberate approach to Twitter will pay bigger dividends to get your message and content onto the web.

     

    What’s the best online thought leadership or content marketing campaign you’ve seen and why?

     

    The problem with social media and content marketing is that it is sometimes seen the same way as traditional marketing, which is very campaign driven. You move from one campaign to the next. Social media and content marketing should be viewed as “continuous” marketing. One piece of content and one tweet at a time. You build an online personal and thought leadership brand by the consistent creation of multi-media content.

     

    One great example of this is Gary Vaynerchuk who built a thought leadership brand around his knowledge of wine. He did this by creating a video blog 5 days a week on Wine and took the revenue from $3 million a year to $50 million.

     

    You consult and speak to companies around the world; what are the biggest barriers to corporations becoming great content generators or even thought leaders? What would your advice be to overcome these?

     

    The problem is that most companies are run by baby boomers who are still stuck in the paradigm of traditional marketing. They do not want to give away their ideas (content) as they see that as their “Intellectual property” or “IP”. That is a hard habit to overcome.

    You need to give away your content till it hurts.

     

    What’s the one piece of advice you’d give to an aspirant content generator or someone who wants to become a thought leader in their space?

     

    You need to learn the how to write and create content that is easy to consume and read for the web. This includes writing great headlines, use plain and simple language (no acronyms please) and use subtitles and bullet points.

     

    From your personal experience what are some of the key benefits of a thought leadership position for an individual or a company?

     

    What I have experienced is that it opens up business opportunities globally. It also creates deeper ties and personal relationships that increase revenue.

     

    Oh yes, it also makes business much more fun.

    What’s the next big thing in the online world?

     

    The biggest change and next big thing is that the web is becoming more mobile as high speed wireless data networks spread and smart phones and tablets proliferate. Creating content that can be viewed anytime and anywhere that is easy to read or view is vital.

     

    Craig Badings is a director at Sydney-based, Cannings Corporate Communications.  He has consulted to companies small and large, listed and unlisted across Australia and South Africa about their communication strategies, corporate reputation and thought leadership.  He is the co-author of  #THOUGHT LEADERSHIP Tweet: 140 Prompts for Designing and Executing an Effective Thought Leadership Campaign.  He published his first book in 2009:Brand Stand: seven steps to thought leadership

    Join him on twitter @thoughtstrategy and on LinkedIn.

  • Does thought leadership need social media?

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    15 Feb 2013

    Jeff-BullasI wrote this as a guest post for Jeff Bullas blogJeff is without doubt one of the global thought leaders on social media but particularly the strategy of how you integrate it into your marketing and your business as a whole – keep an eye open for an interview with Jeff on this blog shortly.

    The natural reaction of most business people and certainly anyone in marketing, communications or social media these days is to label those companies and individuals not using social media as dinosaurs.  But are they?

    Thought leadership is content on steroids.  It stands out from the crowd because it is different; it offers something new and the good campaigns deliver information or insights that address a client’s challenges or issues.  In some cases really brilliant thought leadership shifts paradigms of an entire industry.  Thought leadership is no ordinary content but rather content that sets one brand apart from the competition and, in the process, leverages a phenomenal platform for trust and engagement.

    Good thought leadership content is sophisticated and intelligent and should be packaging and delivered appropriately to a defined audience.  And herein lies the key.

    Do you know where and how your audience consumes content?

    In our recent book on the topic #Thought Leadership Tweet 140 Prompts for Designing and Executing an Effective Thought Leadership Campaign, co-author Dr Liz Alexander and I  ask in tweet #32: “Have you clearly defined who you want to reach with this thought leadership campaign and why?”

    If for example your market is a small universe of 30-50 senior decision makers at listed companies in a certain sector and they are not using LinkedIn, twitter, Pinterest, Facebook, YouTube, blogs and the like, why on earth would you need to be on social media?

    Great thought leadership goes to the very heart of your markets’ issues – think Dove’s Campaign for Real Beauty, IBM’s Smarter Planet, GE’s Ecomagination,  Phillip’s Health and Wellbeing campaign and Booz&Co’s Global Innovation 1000. The planning for these campaigns had a very clear why, as Simon Sinek says in our tweet# 26: “It doesn’t matter what you do.  It matters why you do it.” Why are you embarking on a thought leadership campaign?

    I have been in the public relations game for 23 years.  There was an industry expression back then – “Spray and pray” – it meant sending a press release to as many media contacts as possible hoping to generate coverage.  Of course the results were always poor because three critical questions were not clarified up front: Why are we doing this? Who are we trying to reach? What do they read?

    Content planning today is no different we merely have a host of other channels to use social media being one of them.

    Using social media effectively for your thought leadership content

    Let’s skip ahead.  You’ve done your research and you know that a lot of your market is consuming social media.  At this point it’s probably worth considering SKM’s Dale Bryce’s question in tweet# 120: “Are you ensuring your thought leadership facilitates a dialog?  Think of it as a conversation.”

    One of the most critical aspects of any content is whether it facilitates customer engagement and acquisition.   I am singularly and cynically commercial in my view of thought leadership and content – if it is not driving engagement or acquisition why do it.

    If you are using social media platforms to share your thought leadership content you may want to consider the following to measure its success:

    1. Identify your prospect’s buying cycle – have you identified the various stages of the engagement and customer buying cycle and are you modifying your content for each stage and using the appropriate channels at each stage? For example what formats do your customers/prospects want – are you offering more than one option e.g. a powerpoint, a pdf, audio, video, etc
    2. Leverage your content – do you have a process to make sure you’re sharing your content and leveraging it appropriately across all the relevant social media channels and are you optimising your content.  Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) has changed and now it is all about targeted content using the key words people search for when looking for information on your topic and, more importantly, gaining links from authoritative influencers.
    3. Go visual – all trends indicate that the visual mediums of YouTube, Slidshare, Pinterest, Instagram and using things like Infographics is the way people are trending in their consumption of content.  Are you graphically interpreting your content to take advantage of this trend?
    4. Gear your content for earned media – are you paying enough attention to making your content shareable.  One of the greatest powers of social media is the ability for people to share your content.  Are you designing your content to be shareable and to make it easy for people to link to it?
    5. Quantify the revenue impact – there is tons of content on this topic but one stands out – businesses will only allocate big money to your social media campaign if they understand which of your social media channels is truly working.  This means you have to find ways to gather feedback and data that better informs your understanding of your prospects at the various stages of the buying cycle and then critically what impact your content is having on them.

    Your metrics may show how many back links you have, how many eyeballs you attracted, how many retweets you received, how many downloads you had, your click-through rate but the bottom line is whether your content enables you to capture these visitors, convert them into leads and ultimately nurture them into customers?

    I leave you with this thought.  Research in a report by KPMG in 2011 “Going Social: How businesses are making the most of social media” found that regardless of industry group or ownership structure, business adoption rates for social media now average around the 70% mark around the world.  Perhaps even more tellingly, the report found that a high proportion of consumers now use social media to inform their purchasing decisions.

    Craig Badings is a director at Sydney-based, Cannings Corporate Communications.  He is the co-author of  #THOUGHT LEADERSHIP Tweet: 140 Prompts for Designing and Executing an Effective Thought Leadership Campaign.  He published his first book in 2009:Brand Stand: seven steps to thought leadership

    Join him on twitter @thoughtstrategy and on LinkedIn.

  • Excellent review of #Thought Leadership Tweet by Craig Pearce

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    30 Jan 2013

    Craig Pearce blog picCraig Pearce is a well known PR blogger in Australia and anyone who hasn’t read his PR blog should.  Its full of interesting and informative views on a broad range of PR topics.  He has penned this review on his blog of #Thought Leadership Tweet 140 Prompts for Designing and Executing an Effective Thought Leadership program. 

    Thought leadership is a strategic approach to business communication which helps organisations positively position and differentiate themselves, in the process creating and enhancing relationships with key stakeholders. It contributes to excellent organisational reputation and the achieving of organisational objectives, including selling products and services.

    It is one of the first approaches public relations professionals should consider as part of their communication arsenal. And as anyone who is inquisitive about public relations and/or is committed to continual professional development will tell you, the musings of experienced corporate communicator Craig Badings on his Thought Leadership blog are required and compelling reading.

    Craig and Dr Liz Alexander have just published a fascinating, thought provoking and eminently practical e-book entitled 140 Prompts for Designing and Executing an Effective Thought Leadership Campaign, which as the title implies contains a series of tweetable insights into the practice of thought leadership.

    The e-book also provides additional perspective and context to assist in applying thought leadership as well as referencing a range of resources to help kick your brain into gear, increase the potency of your thinking on the discipline and help achieve the best results possible.

    Such is the depth of information in this e-book, a single post discussing it will not do it justice, but some of the many aspects I found interesting are highlighted below.

    The culture of thought leadership

    Like CSR, thought leadership needs to be built-in, not bolt-on. As thought leadership is about providing perspectives and insights different (i.e. leading the way) to competitors, it makes sense for content/platforms to reflect the innovation and point of difference an organisation offers.

    It will be difficult for organisations that do not behave in an innovative manner to think outside the square, or to at the very least seek to expand the boundaries of the square, which is essentially what thought leadership entails.

    Conversely, the tail wagging the dog is a well-known means of instigating change! If it takes a communication program to help galvanise an organisation into behaving differently, perhaps by seeing the impact a thought leadership campaign or approach can have, then why not!

    Too often organisations (and public relations practitioners for that matter) rely on a crisis to help change organisational culture and behaviour. Why rely on bad news or bad things happening to motivate organisational evolution?

    As Craig and Liz point out, thought leadership takes bravery to instigate as it sometimes means sticking your neck out, challenging orthodoxies. In pure business action, Henry Ford did it; Richard Branson did and does it; Dick Smith did and does it – and look at them.

    Preparation and thinking for thought leadership

    Craig and Liz hit on one of the biggest bugbears of the practice of public relations when they point out allowing time to think (and by extension, prepare) is a critically important element of thought leadership. Too often communication programs are undertaken without sufficient thought being put into them.

    Whether it is the fault of the organisation/client or the PR practitioner, this is a risk-laden approach. And especially so with thought leadership.

    Here are some steps to thought leadership that take time to get right:

      • Understanding what thought leadership positions       competitors inhabit
      • Determining what the most productive thought leadership       platforms are your organisation can inhabit
      • Identifying thought leadership business objectives and       putting in place mechanisms to measure the impact of the campaign
      • Deciding – is this a campaign (e.g. does it have a       limited lifespan) or is this a way of life (e.g. is the thought       leadership program so embedded into, and driven by, organisational       culture its intent is to continue and evolve on an ongoing basis?).

    Listening in thought leadership public relations

    It’s interesting the term ‘public relations’ doesn’t appear in the e-book narrative itself. Yet thought leadership is clearly a PR 101 strategic approach.

    Why are Craig and Liz shy about flagging this? I bet it’s so as not to marginalise thought leadership in a perceived PR ‘ghetto’. This is somewhat of a shame as it’s reflective of a malaise within PR not to shout out the business relevance and potency of the discipline, but such is life.

    Certainly, I can’t see how any other business discipline can lay claim to managing the approach effectively. Not marketing, that’s for sure.

    One reason why PR is the only business discipline to practice thought leadership is because, as Craig and Liz imply, listening is an important aspect of not just thought leadership, but any communication strategy. This is to help understand the needs, wants and issues of stakeholders, then to help identify opportunities and threats relevant to stakeholder relationship enhancing.

    (Or I guess we could call it stakeholder relations, which as I’ve written previously is simply a self-hating term for PR that we as practitioners have Harry Pottered up out of our shame in working in PR…or so it seems.)

    One manifestation of listening is undertaking market research, and whilst there are inexpensive means of undertaking market research, other approaches include media and internet scanning, conversations with key stakeholders (including influencers over target audiences) and undertaking internal reviews with employees to gather intelligence from them as to what turns organisational stakeholders on…and off.

    The fear of thought leadership

    A fair criticism of thought leadership is it gives up organisational intellectual property other organisations can leverage to position themselves favourably. The IP can also give potential clients a resource for free that otherwise they would have paid for.

    These comments are both true, so thought must clearly be given to the specific thought leadership platforms and what aspects of the platforms organisations will give up information on.

    It is vital to remember that in an internet age it is increasingly expected organisations will give up information for free (an inbound marketing approach). This is partially because it has been proven the viral impact of sharing useful information positively impacts on organisational reputation and business results.

    These results are equally relevant to the B2C and B2B environments, as well as a third paradigm I like to call B2Community.  This third paradigm is relevant in communicating with target audiences who are not necessarily going to buy a product or service. Examples are ratepayers in a local government area, or residents near large parklands or close to schools.

    I have merely dipped a toe into the water of 140 Prompts for Designing and Executing an Effective Thought Leadership Campaign and plan on returning to it in the future. What did you think about aspects of thought leadership and its salient issues discussed in this post? Can you give examples of effective and failed thought leadership programs? Do you have any insights and recommendations to share?

     

  • #Thought Leadership Tweet – what’s your communication strategy?

    Thought leadership logo
    16 Jan 2013
    The way you take your thought leadership to market is critical.

    The way you take your thought leadership to market is critical.

    Taking your thought leadership campaign to market is the final chapter in the book #Thought Leadership Tweet 140 Prompts for Designing and Executing an Effective Thought Leadership Campaign.  You may have the best thought leadership campaign in the world but if you don’t communicate it effectively to your desired audiences you’re going to waste a lot of valuable resources and your campaign will fail.

    To overcome this, research is critical.  I refer to Tweet no 107: “Have you researched what your clients read and where they source their information so you can tailor your thought leadership accordingly.

    Building a thought leadership platform is a long-term program. As such you need to be sure that you are packaging and reaching your audience where they are consuming their content.  Someone who heads up the thought leadership program for a multi-national once told me:  “We’ve researched our audience and they tell us they don’t want long reports, they want pithy, executive summaries and time with senior partners to talk through their issues.”

    The tweet outline in this chapter will guide you to coming up with the best possible communication strategy for your campaign.

    Internal and external thought leadership communication drivers

    One of the aspects so often overlooked in a thought leadership communication strategy is how you work with your employees to ensure they become your best advocates for the campaign.  As tweet no 111 says: “To what extent is your sales team adequately equipped to use this thought leadership material in conversations with prospects.”

    When it comes to external communication we use the term leverage.  It is a cardinal thought leadership sin not to leverage your content in as many ways possible and across all your client or prospects touch points.

    Customise your thought leadership

    Finally customise your thought leadership as far as possible for each prospect and client.  Every senior person likes to think that your insights are written exclusively for them.  Ensure you modify your content for the different stages of the buying cycle – what you give a new prospect when you first meet them compared to when you have established a relationship with them should be very different.

    A thought leadership methodology

    #Thought Leadership Tweet concludes with a special addendum – a practical chapter with a step by step methodology on how to successfully plan, develop, communicate, evaluate and recalibrate your thought leadership campaign from start to finish.

    We set out to write this book to make it easy for those new to the concept to understand what thought leadership is and how it works.  However it is also a valuable guide for sophisticated thought leaders to help them ensure they are covering all the bases and that their campaign is track.

    If you have any questions on this or once you’ve read the book please feel free to contact either myself or my co-author Dr Liz Alexander.  We are more than happy to answer your questions.

    #Thought Leadership Tweet covers the seven essential elements of a thought leadership campaign.  This post is the last in a series that covered:

    1. Your guide to winning the content war and what is thought leadership? Covered in past post.
    2. What does it take to become a thought leader? Covered in past post.
    3. What impact do you want to achieve? Covered in past post.
    4. How will you know you’ve succeeded? Covered in past post.
    5. What space has already been claimed? Covered in past post.
    6. What will be your unique point of view? Covered in past post.
    7. What’s your communication strategy? Covered in this post.

     

    Craig Badings is a director at Sydney-based, Cannings Corporate Communications.  He has consulted to companies small and large, listed and unlisted across Australia and South Africa about their communication strategies, corporate reputation and thought leadership.  He is the co-author of  #THOUGHT LEADERSHIP Tweet: 140 Prompts for Designing and Executing an Effective Thought Leadership Campaign.  He published his first book in 2009:Brand Stand: seven steps to thought leadership

    Join him on twitter @thoughtstrategy and on LinkedIn.

     

     

  • #Thought Leadership Tweet – What will be your unique point of view?

    Thought leadership logo
    8 Jan 2013

    Thought leadership is about two key things: First, making sure your platform is client centric and goes to the heart of their issues or challenges and second, delivering new insights that anticipate, solve or lessen the effects of these challenges.
    If you are able to achieve this you will be sought after by your clients and prospects.

    Tweet #80 in the book #Thought Leadership Tweet sums this up: “What keeps your clients or prospects awake at night? Why? How can you use this to inform your thought leadership point of view?”

    Critically to identify you unique point of view you need to be asking a lot of the right sort of questions. As tweet #85 says: “Thought leaders ask “why?” a lot more than what?” or “how?” Are you asking the questions from the start?”

    First do the research

    From experience, you should do your homework before embarking on your thought leadership journey. First identify what you are really good at, what great intellectual property do you have. Second does this or can this be adapted to answer/address your clients or your prospects issues/challenges.

    Next identify whether anyone else already occupies this space. If so you may be two steps behind already. Thought leaders are always two steps ahead. Then research your market to gain an in depth understanding of their issues and possible solutions.

    Thought leaders don’t play it safe

    Look at some of the great thought leadership material out there: BMW’s Activate the Future, IBM’s Smarter Planet, McKinsey’s focus on the art and science of Management. It’s all new and ground-breaking stuff.

    Being faint-hearted is not for thought leaders.

    #Thought Leadership Tweet 140 Prompts for Designing and Executing an Effective Thought Leadership Campaign covers the seven essential elements of a thought leadership campaign. I have covered off some of these in previous posts.

    Already covered in this series:

    1. Your guide to winning the content war and what is thought leadership? Covered in past post.
    2. What does it take to become a thought leader? Covered in past post.
    3. What impact do you want to achieve? Covered in past post.
    4. How will you know you’ve succeeded? Covered in past post.
    5. What space has already been claimed? Covered in past post.
    6. What will be your unique point of view? Covered in this post.

    Still to come:

    7. What’s your communication strategy? Still to come…

     

    Craig Badings is a director at Sydney-based, Cannings Corporate Communications. He has consulted to companies small and large, listed and unlisted across Australia and South Africa about their communication strategies, corporate reputation and thought leadership. He is the co-author of #THOUGHT LEADERSHIP Tweet: 140 Prompts for Designing and Executing an Effective Thought Leadership Campaign. He published his first book in 2009:Brand Stand: seven steps to thought leadership

    Join him on twitter @thoughtstrategy and on LinkedIn.

     

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