It all starts with a tiny nudge. A few clever insights in important sales meetings or on calls. Then, suddenly, you hear, “Marketing wants to quote you in a publication that reaches our buyers…” Boom! All of a sudden, you’re being pulled out of your day-to-day and asked, “Hey, would like you to go speak at this conference? Would you interview with this podcast? Maybe you could write a book!”
Say something smart!
You’re the “in-house guru.”
You’ve got expert knowledge about the company; what it does, where it’s going, and how that helps the world. Maybe you’re an engineer, a chemist, or an I/O psychologist. You’re the wonk that knows the magic in-house formula, and you instinctively “get” what other people struggle to understand.
Then, at some point, the organization says, “Wow! You’re super smart, and you know how to solve tough problems. Why don’t you be our thought leader?”
So, you’ve been sent out to share your knowledge, raise visibility for the company, and “gin up some leads while you’re doing it.” The CEO’s excited, the head of marketing’s excited, and they’re happy to support you with a big budget and the work schedule you need to get the job done. Now you’re wondering, “What do I say? Where does this fit into my other roles and responsibilities? How much of my time should I spend in the lab, and how much time should I spend talking about this kind of stuff – or going on the road?”
You didn’t ask to be a thought leader. It’s a very different kind of job than the one you originally signed up for. It might take up 20-30% of your job, or it might become your sole responsibility. If your organization is asking you to make thought leadership part of your job, to be a client-facing expert and raise visibility for the company; to go out there and actively start talking about your solutions, then you need to understand how that’s done – and you need to do it in a strategic way.
Just writing down your thoughts and ideas isn’t going to produce the results your company wants. What is your platform? What is your editorial plan? What do those things even mean, and what else should you be thinking about?
Remember, the company is looking for visibility, positive branding, and most of all – client interest.
They want to make the business more visible through your content, and through getting your ideas out to the right people. You’ve got the insights that create value for clients. You’ve got great core ideas. Now, you just need to package it in a clear and relevant platform that has real market value.
You’re already developing smart ideas. Now you need a platform to focus them, content to define them, and maybe a few products to help your learners see the future the way you do – bigger, brighter, and better.