What do people say when they think about your thought leadership? Can they explain it fluently? Do they understand what you do – and can they recommend you to others? Imagine this conversation happening between your friend and a business leader over coffee:
“My company’s got a problem, and it’s really dragging us down. I’m not sure we understand the root cause, and I know we don’t have a strategy to solve it. I’m out of ideas!”
“Hey, don’t get frustrated. I have a friend who works in thought leadership. They might be able to help you.”
Do you know what your friend will say next? If they understand your platform, a lightbulb goes off. They can explain the pain points you solve, and summarize how you solve them – connecting the business leader’s problem to your platform in a few simple words.
A great thought leader creates a platform that’s simple and well-defined; one that takes advantage of their personal experience and strengths. A strong platform can be summed up in 2 to 3 words, because if it’s more than that – well, it’s a noisy busy world, and nobody’s going to remember the details.
Think about how much harder it is if for people who don’t have an existing relationship with you. They don’t want to go through pages and pages of content to understand who you are and what you do. They just want to know if your ideas solve their problems. End of story. If you can’t distill your ideas into simple, powerful concepts, if you can’t say how those ideas create value, nobody’s going to pay attention long enough to understand.
Simply put, your platform identifies you and it identifies your audience; it has to do both.
It puts forth the pain points that you solve, and therefore, focuses on the audience that most needs your solutions. Your platform is the bridge. You need to focus on one thing you do really well – and make sure you’re known for doing it.