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This episode is packed with valuable information for aspiring thought leaders. In it, we interview Peter Winick of Thought Leadership Leverage. Peter has over 20 years of experience working with thought leaders and corporate clients, and we’re grateful to have him as a guest.1:35 How do you define a thought leader?
- The first part of the definition is asking “is this thoughtful?” Are you putting something out in the world that adds value to people?
- The second piece revolves around leadership. Are you leading the space that you’re in? And you leading it in a new, different way?
2:50 What role does a book play in establishing someone as a thought leader?
- You have to look at a book as any other business investment. It’s a massive investment of time, energy, resources, dollars. People fall in love with the concept of writing a book, but it’s a lot of work. Books are critical and important, but you need to ask yourself some strategic questions on the front end to make it worth it. Questions like: What does success look like for the book? Is now the time to write the book? How do I differentiate the book?
4:20 Do you think all thought leaders need a book ultimately? Is it a question of timing, or do you think that sometimes a thought leader’s content is better geared toward a different format?
- Timing is one factor. For many people, they should write a book but just not now.
- The other factor is if they aren’t ready yet. If an author has a lot of ideas, they can’t throw all of them in the book. These kinds of authors need to test their ideas before publishing them. The beautiful thing about the day and age we live in is that you can have a dialogue with followers and test material before you commit to a book.
5:45 You have a video about “Enterprise Readiness.” Can you explain what that means?
- A lot of what we do at Thought Leadership Leverage is work with a variety of speakers, authors and thought leaders to help them leverage and scale their business. We don’t focus on consumers, but we know the corporate space.
- The reason we focus on enterprise readiness is that it’s where the money is. You may not make a huge amount selling to individual consumers, but the real opportunity is getting your content embedded in an organization.
- Enterprise Readiness means being ready to serve the needs of a large organization with 100-200k employees through content that is available in mixed formats, so that that organization can spread your idea across the glob. Could include assessment tools, video-based learning, consulting engagements, coaching. Something where an organization can embrace the idea at multiple levels.
8:50 Beyond a book, what other forms of content are the most effective for thought leaders?
- Before you answer that question, you need to identify your market, how to serve them, and how they want to consume content.
- Short form video and visuals are both big right now. Writers don’t tend to be visual, so don’t be afraid to partner with someone to help you in those areas.
- The way people consume content these days has changed so much, and people choose what they want to consume, when they want to. So you have to meet them where they are.
11:30 You likely also have to balance how they want content with what the author is comfortable.
- There are many ways to write a book. You can pull content from past blogs, podcast interviews, partnering with a ghostwriter, etc. to make yourself more comfortable.
12:40 Certain content trends can change over time. Is there anything that’s not working anymore?
- The book tour is tough these days. I always like to start with the math. How much does it cost to travel to 30 bookstores (flights, hotel, food, etc.)? Compare that to how many people each bookstore thinks it may bring in. That’s not to say authors shouldn’t have a launch party or do events in their hometowns, but they should consider the math on anything larger.
- Corporate book sales are also hard, and it used to be a given for a lot of folks. The reality is that companies aren’t doing bulk buys as much anymore.
- Everyday new things come up that we never knew about before that we’re trying.
- Sometimes we let the price of the book get in the way of giving out books. But if there’s a secondary goal beyond book sales, like growing a business, asking personal contacts for 1-3 names of people that would benefit from the book could be extremely successful.
- The scarcest resource for almost everyone today is time. So putting the book in the hands of the right people, who will dedicate the time to it, is key.
16:40 Let’s talk about the ideal sequence of events. Should thought leaders build their platforms first and write the book next? Or vice versa, using the book to help them get clear on their ideas?
- The answer depends. If publishing through traditional houses, the answer would be to build your platform and then publish. But then, if you’ve done that, why do you need them as a partner?
- If the number one objective is book sales, absolutely build the platform first.
- If the number one objective is to drive other revenue streams of a business, the platform doesn’t have to come first.
- It goes back to defining success for you. Imagine that your book has been out for 6 months and that it was wildly successful. What does that mean for you?
18:35 Any final advice for budding thought leaders?
- Be careful who you take strategic advice from. Some companies are more focused on clicks, retweets, and other metrics. If I were in an authors shoes, I’d want a strategy that shows me a path to money.
- Marketing, branding, and lead generation efforts need to be in harmony.
ABOUT PETER & THOUGHT LEADERSHIP LEVERAGE:
Peter is an entrepreneurial-minded leader who leverages the power of internal and external relationships to accelerate growth within emerging and high-potential companies that have powerful intellectual property. His accomplishments include start-ups, turnarounds, and M&A (in the b2b services sector)—with results driven by practical strategy, focused execution, and a disciplined method of cost control.
He has over twenty years of experience and has worked with a variety of thought leaders. He expertly leverages that along with his experience with such clients as IBM, Kraft, Microsoft, Avon, Hyatt and more. In addition, he has built and managed several consulting and professional development organizations.
Peter is an information junkie and an avid reader of business books. He believes that taking great content and creating a platform to best support it takes a combination of art, science, logic, focus, passion and creativity.