As a thought leader, you may be great at telling stories through a presentation deck,…
Here’s a business model for you to consider: An organization is consistently investing in developing new offerings and solutions. A vast amount of resources (time, energy, effort and money) are used to create them. Once the offering and solutions are produced, a few clients use them for a short period of time and the company shifts its focus back to developing more solutions. Feedback from the clients is fantastic yet the organization prefers to create “new stuff” as opposed to leveraging what it has already invested in.
Sounds like a silly model, right? The answer is (sorry to sound like a consultant, I can’t help myself sometimes) it depends. I see brilliant thought leaders and authors deploy this model all the time. It wasn’t part of a plan; it’s just typically how things just tend to play out.
I think the question to consider (if you think you may be falling into this pattern) is “Why?” Why would smart folks do things that are not so smart when viewed through the lens of business practices? The answer is because most thought leaders and authors thrive when they are creating content, researching, tweaking and revising their models, tackling new problems – in short, thought leaders enjoy thinking.
Leveraging your assets and content (and I think it’s critical that you think of them as assets) requires an entirely different skill set. Branding, marketing, business development, sales, PR, product development, social media and the like are usually not the type of activities that thought leaders enjoy or quite frankly are particularly good at. Sure, everyone dabbles a bit and many actually do a decent job at some of these critical functions, but it isn’t their primary focus and it doesn’t engage them at the same level that creating content does.
Thought leaders tend to do what they do for a living primarily because they are great at it and because they enjoy it. They are also very good at knowing what they aren’t good at and what they don’t enjoy doing and tend to avoid those type of things intentionally.
The gap that needs to be filled is one in which the thought leader is able to continually create content AND leverage their assets across as many modalities as is possible given their area of expertise. In order to that, a strategy needs to be developed and someone needs to be responsible for leveraging the assets. That someone in most cases isn’t the thought leader. They may be involved at some level or even own specific tasks, but a process needs to be put in place and a focused and disciplined approach to effectively monetizing the body of work needs to be launched.