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Do You Have Message Discipline?

Many thought leaders struggle with message discipline. They know their content backwards and forwards, and, to be honest, they’ve talked about it until they’re blue in the face. There’s a temptation to abandon message discipline and talk about things that are interesting to the thought leader, but that means the audience never gets their content’s most basic and important message. So, how can a thought leader maintain message discipline and build a solid editorial plan?

Here are five tips:

  • Stick to your most important themes.
  • Understand your audience. Who are they? What topics do they care about?
  • Connect your content to your audience’s issues.
  • Generate a list of topics in advance.
  • Keep generating content. Be prolific!

An editorial plan is a step-by-step process to keep your message focused.

In order for your content to do well, you have to know your platform and stay on-message.

You also have to identify and focus on your core audience, the people who most need your message. Who do you want to reach? What topics do they care the most about? You must connect your content to that audience. If there’s a disconnect, the content won’t feel interesting, and it won’t feel relevant. A successful thought leader must show that they understand the business world and its toughest challenges.

To be successful in your editorial plan, you must shift out of your personal perspective as an expert, and address your content to the beginner. You have spent years perfecting your content. You know every detail, but your audience is starting with a blank slate. They will be lost and baffled if you show them the depth of your material when they are just being introduced to it for the first time.

There’s a risk in working with a blank page.

If you don’t have an editorial plan, you’re likely to write about things that currently interest you – creating new ideas rather than focusing on your existing content. An editorial plan beeps you focused, pulls you back to the heart of your content, and ensures that you are promoting your strongest ideas.

Be prolific, but keep it accessible. Bring your strongest ideas to the forefront, make your ideas simple, and stick to your editorial plan.

Bill Sherman works with thought leaders to launch big ideas within well-known brands. He is the COO of Thought Leadership Leverage. Visit Bill on Twitter

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