How can I become successful at thought leadership?

When it comes to thought leadership, there is a simple explanation that I give to all my clients as to what it is. Despite being a buzz phrase that they have all heard of, not all of them come to me knowing what it is.

But my explanation of how to best do it is even more simple. It is this: You need some original thoughts and you need to be a leader, or at least want to be one pretty soon. If you have neither of those things, then it is my job to show you how you can get them and how you can use them to great advantage.

Photo by <a href="">Jean Bach</a> on <a href="">Unsplash</a>

My role as a thought leadership consultant is two-fold. Primarily, it is to use my client’s thoughts and the platforms afforded to them in their leadership role (be that in thought, the C-Suite hierarchy or their industry) to increase their profile, mostly using the media. But the other main part of the role is to make sure that the conditions exist for those media pitches to land. It is pointless to just punt out a CEO for profile pieces, talks or news media slots if they have nothing to say, nothing to promote and nothing on which to hang an op-ed in the national or international press.

In many cases, my approach is to push senior leaders and founders, honing their talents and surfacing new ones. In an increasingly crowded market for opinions it is essential that you have someone on your side that knows that market, how it works and where you place is in it. My clients are usually experts in their field, but the media market rarely wants just expertise, it wants news hooks, quotable thought, viral clips and inspiring pull quotes.

This is where the part of my work that others find somewhere between difficult and impossible comes in. I converse with these big characters, expert thinkers, founders and leaders on their level. I explore their strengths and weaknesses with them, as well as how they can improve. This is not a normal turn of events for leaders used to driving the conversation. We talk about their background, beliefs, their business, their ideas and their comfort levels. Thought leadership, at its best, involves a level of risk. You are putting yourself out there in new ways, and our oppositional social media world means that someone may shoot you down. But my expert counsel means that the risks are far outweighed by the rewards.

Yes, thought leadership is still a buzz term, and yes you can do it by yourself/in-house should you choose. But the chances are you will flounder, stall and fail – sooner rather than later. Thought leadership could and should be part of the marketing toolbox of any business, charity, foundation or non-profit as it always punches above its weight in terms of spend and impact. But it is not something to see as another ‘to do’ that gets passed to the office junior, or even AI.

Contact me if you would like to discuss how I can help you to explore what thought leadership can do for you, your business and your brand.

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