More great thoughts from my hero, Brian Johnson…
More inspirational thinking from Brian Johnson of optimize.me…
I’m glad to hear that thoughtleaders like Dorie Clark still think that thought leadership is a valid term:
If you are pursuing thought leadership and would like to put some of Dorie’s thoughts into action, I have developed a practical, tactical thought leadership workflow that I outline here. Contact me below and ask how we can get started…
Thought leadership strategy is essential for getting found in Google but how to execute with the fewest moving parts is elegance! DaVinci said “simplicity is the ultimate sophistication” but what does that look like in a thought leadership workflow? Let’s start with some thoughts from Google Plus ‘meister’ Mark Traphagen:
Of Mark’s 5 points, items 1,3 & 5 are what Covey would call ‘private victories’ and items 2 & 4 are related to ‘public victories’. You can possess items 1, 3 & 5 in abundance but unless you using the wonderful tools we have at our fingertips to make your thoughts searchable, findable, knowable, shareable and memorable, you are missing the opportunity to become credible on a bigger scale. You will never be found in the ‘zero moment of truth‘ unless you treat Google as an ally, not an adversary to be tricked or gamed.
So then, if you’re with me so far, let me propose a workflow for thought leadership strategy with only 3 moving parts for you to consider:
I’ll talk you through it here:
Bonus Feedly video!
The main thing is to keep the main thing the main thing, right? Here’s a minimalist workflow for content and thought leadership marketing that will help you get found when people are looking for you and what you do in the coming year…
The beautiful thing about this simple workflow is that you have to do the reading anyway in order to maintain your expert status — why not turn it into thought leadership marketing? Also every tool is free and completely cross platform and it could all be executed from a $199 Chromebook. I explain here:
How could I explain this more clearly or make this post better? Comment below or use the contact form above…
Friend, mentor and client Nilofer Merchant posted recently about the problem of fragmentation:
It’s a fragmented world. And it’s only becoming more so. It used to be that when people wrote, they wrote more deeply. In the early days of the web (pre-twitter), I remember hand picking the few voices I would listen to and then putting them into my RSS feeder and checking for their essays. Essays, not tweets, were the way we shared what we were thinking. But as “content” has become more important to maintain a standing online, more and more people are entering into the fray. More and more people who may not even have a point of view to advocate but just want to participate in the conversation.
As content becomes more fragmented, you could try and compete with that by doing more and more, by curating other people’s content, by then running your content through Twylah, by having that “twitter magazine” come out which puts all your tweets and links in one place so that people can catch it if they missed each particular one.
Or you could do the opposite. You could go deep. You could be that voice that everyone listens to because when it speaks, it is so deep and rich that it’s worth slowing down to listen to. Sort of a Morgan Freeman voice, in the times of Justin Bieber bop. Maybe it will allow the light of an idea to be seen more clearly.” There’s more at the source: In a fragmented world, go deep – Nilofer Merchant
If I were talking with Nilofer, I’d gently push back on this one. ‘Going deep’ does not preclude using Twylah; rather, I think, the answer to fragmentation and ‘going deep’ is focus…
When I first started blogging I was not confident in my own skillset and my focus was a mile wide and six inches deep. My tagline was “Marketing, Sales and Technology for small business, non-profits and academic institutions”. It makes me laugh now because there are no dozen websites that can cover THIS landscape effectively. I used to curate anything and everything related to those topics sometimes posting over 20 times a day! I got traffic but it wasn’t really relevant and it didn’t get me customers. Over time, Nilofer helped me go deep and realize my ‘onlyness’ was really helping thinkers to become thought leaders through the use of a minimal toolkit for content marketing. Now my tagline is “content marketing for thought leadership” and I help experts get found when people are looking for what they do. By going deeper, I may lose the opportunity to develop a small business website but I might gain the opportunity to work with a TED Fellow like Nina Tandon which is much more rewarding in the long run. Now, too, I’m more confident in my onlyness, I only post a couple of times per week…
Nilofer and I have had this discussion before and I think we both agree: If our thoughts are going to resonate with our target audience we need to understand the questions they are asking and align our answers with their queries. If we position ourselves as the obvious answer to the questions of the people we want to attract, we will get found when people are looking for ‘that one voice’. It’s not good enough however simply to think deep thoughts; we need to let people know that we are thinking them. Nilofer is a great thinker on strategy but I direct my energy toward ‘thoughts, tools and tactics’ for content marketing and ‘thought leadership’ marketing; I think the answer here is not either/or it’s both/and. I don’t think Nilofer’s saying that Twylah is a bad thing and I think she’d agree you need to go deep thoughtwise AND master ‘thought leadership’ marketing toolwise because the two go together like peanut butter and chocolate — it’s just that mindlessly tweeting and retweeting doesn’t do much to add value…
In closing, here are the 3 tools I recommend for ‘thought leadership’ marketing:
- Google Reader
Ed. 2019: The current version of this list would be:
- Google News or Inoreader
I posted about them here just last week. They are the tools that will help you get found when you decide to ‘go deep’ and become the one voice [because it doesn’t matter how deep you go if no one can find you]…
In order to be found in the ‘Zero Moment of Truth’, there are two main activities you need to master; FINDING and SHARING great content. Another way of putting it is…
- Deepening your expertise
- Documenting your expertise
Here’s how I do it [By the way, there is a Mac version at about 17:00 but you need to understand the principles in the Windows version. Sorry, Mac boys and girls!]:
Here is the mindmap of my screencast:
Here are the direct links to the tools I use in the screencast:
By the way, this post and this post might also give you some insight as to how I apply Getting Things Done [GTD] principles to this process. Comment below or connect with me so we can talk about how this applies to you and your situation…
- Getting Things Done [GTD] in Google Reader (e1evation.com)
- Getting Things Done [GTD] in Email (e1evation.com)
- Getting Things Done [GTD] in Curation; Another Pass… (e1evation.com)
Want to get found when people are looking for what you do? Consider this…
Want to know more? Connect with me…
In his epic book “Here Comes Everybody”, Clay Shirky writes:
We are living in the middle of the largest increase in expressive capability in the history of the human race. More people can communicate more things to more people than has ever been possible in the past, and the size and speed of this increase, from under one million participants to over one billion in a generation, makes the change unprecedented, even considered against the background of previous revolutions in communications tools. The truly dramatic changes in such tools can be counted on the fingers of one hand: the printing press and movable type (considered as one long period of innovation); the telegraph and telephone; recorded content (music, then movies); and finally the harnessing of radio signals (for broadcasting radio and TV). None of these examples was a simple improvement, which is to say a better way of doing what a society already did. Instead, each was a real break with the continuity of the past, because any radical change in our ability to communicate with one another changes society.
Shirky, Clay (2009-02-24). Here Comes Everybody: The Power of Organizing Without Organizations (p. 106). Penguin Group. Kindle Edition.
What good, though, is that expressive capability if people can’t find you when they need what you do? You need to be known!
So now you are an expert. I know it. You know it. It’s the rest of the world that may not know it. Yet. In my humble opinion however you did not get to this ripe old age of wherever you’re at without becoming an expert in something. The 10,000 hour rule is just that – Malcolm Gladwell hypothesized that it takes approximately 10,000 hours of practice to become an expert at something. Now think of all the things you are an expert at!
Here’s the problem, however: your area of expertise may be so narrow or specialized that no one in your town or county or even your state needs it. There are however almost 2,000,000,000 people on the Internet. Even if your expertise appeals to only one in 1 million people that still means there are 2,000 people who need you to guide them. The 10,000 hours you spent gaining your expertise probably means you’re pretty good thinker too. The challenge is you can be the sharpest knife in the drawer but if no one can find the drawer you’ll never get a chance to get out…
Chris Brogan says:
“As you now know, if you have no Google results, in a sense you don’t exist.
Brogan, Chris; Smith, Julien (2010-07-16). Trust Agents: Using the Web to Build Influence, Improve Reputation, and Earn Trust (p. 161). Wiley. Kindle Edition.”
My good friend Dana VanDen Heuvel, a thought leader in his own right, says “there are thinkers and there are thought leaders. They both have a point of view. The thinker has a point of view that is limited by word-of-mouth but the thought leader is only limited by world of mouth.” Using the good, fast and cheap tools available on the Internet a thinker can make his or her thought leadership position searchable, findable, knowable, usable, and shareable. Because of all those ‘ibles’, they may actually become credible. Publishing your thought leadership position will give you a share of voice which may lead to share of mind and ultimately to share of market…
The first step in ‘being known’ is actually accepting the face that you ARE an expert and discovering your ‘onlyness’ as author Nilofer Merchant puts it in her book “11 Rules for Creating Value in the #SocialEra“:
The foundational element starts with celebrating each human and, more specifically, something I’ve termed onlyness. Onlyness is that thing that only one particular person can bring to a situation. It includes the skills, passions, and purpose of each human. Onlyness is fundamentally about honoring each person, first as we view ourselves and second as we are valued. Each of us is standing in a spot that no one else occupies. That unique point of view is born of our accumulated experience, perspective, and vision. Some of those experiences are not as “perfect” as we might want, but even those experiences are a source of ideas and creativity. Without this tenet of celebrating onlyness, we allow ourselves to be simply cogs in a machine—dispensable and undervalued.
Merchant, Nilofer (2012-09-12). 11 Rules for Creating Value in the Social Era (Kindle Locations 107-113). Perseus Books Group. Kindle Edition.
So now we have established the foundation of being known; you have to define your area of expertise and embrace your ‘onlyness’; only then can you take the next step. More next Tuesday…
Steve Jobs had it. Bill Gates did, too. Their successors? Not so much.
Don’t get me wrong — Apple and Microsoft may still be successful. It’s just that they’ll never be the same companies that they set out to be.
These days, they’re operating based solely on sound business practices, rather than rallying around a unified, inspiring vision that made them the undisputed leaders in their field.
Same scenario in government: In 2008, Barack Obama had it in droves. This year? Both he and Mitt Romney have played it safe — relying on tried & true tactics rather than a bold vision to rally around. Thus, there’s been no clear leader in the race to date.
And remember good ol’ George H.W. Bush? After serving as Vice President to Reagan — an unequaled storyteller with a clear, compelling vision — he sought to continue the same successful policies for another eight years. Yet, he only served one term.
Bush 41 had an incredible resume — on paper, there was perhaps no one more qualified in recent history than he to serve as president. As he focused on the comfortable role of handling issues one-by-one and in the here-and-now, his advisors urged him to speak to broader themes. He referred to it as “that vision thing,” and didn’t see it as important as solving problems and letting his record speak for itself.
It cost him the election — voters instead rallied around a new candidate who urged them to “don’t stop thinking about tomorrow.” (And Clinton went on to serve two terms, with unparalleled popularity even today).
Vision is what every successful leader and company thrives on, yet one of the hardest things to truly communicate and achieve. In fact, it’s the most critical long-term success factor and challenge you’ll face.
You can get by for a while without it. But you won’t lead your industry. Or make as much profit as your competitor. Or retain the best talent.
And unless you also weave it into a compelling story and get good at telling it, you’re likely to face the same fate.” via About That Vision Thing….
Takeaway? Find yours — vision, that is — and pursue it while you still can…