On Becoming a Thought Leader
Many years ago when I was first starting my career in marketing communications, one of the partners in the firm I worked for told of how one of his well-known clients came to be known as a key thought leader in his industry: The client’s secretary read trade pubs diligently from cover to cover, and then would point out relevant ones to her boss who then wrote letters to the editor either agreeing or disagreeing with an article. He sometimes called the editor to discuss his views and trends he was seeing, and over time he was being asked to submit his own opinion pieces, to sit on panels and to give presentations on challenges and solutions within the industry. His activities garnered him a reputation as a key expert and influencer and greatly raised awareness for his company. More recently, one of our former clients received an email from someone in Eastern Europe as a result of one of many opinion pieces this client submitted to trade industry website. Although the sender had little grasp of the English language and the executive wasn’t even sure the message was legit, nevertheless, the executive responded, and the dialogue resulted in a multi-million dollar sale. Yet another client got several business inquiries from OpEd pieces she wrote that appeared in the local newspaper. The point here is that Thought Leadership pieces are a valuable way to raise awareness for your expertise and unique vision on a given subject, and to ultimately foster adoption of your ideas or products that will meet the needs of your customers. It’s not a one-time tactic, but a content strategy that is built over time that can reap great rewards.
Thanks for your wisdom, friendship, and brilliance, Marion. We’ll miss you!