The Art and Science of Strategic Partnerships

Strategic-PartnershipsIn order to effectively leverage your content you need to have 4 things in place.

Great Content: You can fool some of the people some of the time but without great content as a starting point you will not build a viable, sustainable business. Sorry, there are no shortcuts.

Delivery: The next thing you need is a variety of ways to deliver your work. Speaking and books are some of the most common, but in today’s social age if you want to stay relevant you have to deliver your work in as many mediums as your market will consume.

Technology: It’s not a nice to have anymore — it’s a must have. The rate of change in this space is mind boggling. You need the technical acumen to compete in an active global market.

Distribution: While you may have amazing ideas, models, and processes without an effective distribution channel, you’ll be the proverbial tree falling in the forest.

 I’ve yet to meet a single thought leader or author who excels at each of these elements.  I’ve met and worked with dozens who form strategic partnerships in order to insure that they have each piece in place. The first thing you need to do is to be a bit introspective and honest with yourself. Look across these four skills and assess where your strengths and weaknesses lie. Typically, thought leaders have strong content, handle delivery fairly well (although to a degree it’s often limited to speaking and writing), but struggle with technology and are even weaker when it comes to distribution.

Now that you have a cursory understanding of where your gaps are you can start to come up with a strategy to close those gaps. Don’t be tempted to become a technology whiz or to build a distribution channel from scratch. There are no doubt other individuals and organizations that have exactly what you need and would make an ideal strategic partner. In fact, the best strategic partnerships are formed when one organization has a clear advantage in one or two areas and almost no domain expertise in the other areas and finds a strategic partner who is their polar opposite.

Distribution companies are not good at creating content. Technology companies are not adept at delivering content. Evaluate your organization. Identify your weaknesses. Find others that have what you lack. Voila! While it may sound simple in theory, in practice developing these partnerships is not so easy. It takes time, energy, and resources. However, unless you are operating at a very high level in all of these areas you are limiting the growth of your business and the reach of your content.

Peter Winick has deep expertise in helping those with deep expertise. He is the CEO of Thought Leadership Leverage. Visit Peter on Twitter!