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The Hard Way: Franken-Content

When it comes to their content, a lot of thought leaders act like magpies. They have great ideas, but they pick apart the details, focusing here and there as they work with individual clients and never stressing a unified whole. Here’s a shiny button. Here’s a piece of string. You end up with a lot of content, but you’ll never build a cohesive business. You’re doing things the hard way!

Clients ask, “Can you do X? Can you do Y? Wouldn’t it be cool if you had something unique for this group over here?” It’s wonderful to be able to deliver bespoke products, but in the long run, you’re spending too much time and money on items that you might never be able to use again.

It’s easy to build “franken-content,” constantly building custom products or creating specialized material.

But that can go way off-track! You find yourself serving wildly disparate clients in different ways, and your work loses all sense of consistency. To keep your content coherent, you need to ask, “What specific problems does my thought leadership solve?” If you’re not focusing on those things, you – and your content – might get pulled in every direction at once.

Once, we had a thought leader show up with stacks and stacks of content on tons of topics, addressing so many questions that her real message was hard to grasp. It was like a hoarder version of thought leadership – but within all that material, she had solid ideas that could benefit a lot of clients. They were just getting lost in the tangle. So, how do you take years of diverse thought leadership and distill it down to its essence?

To get at the heart of your content, ask some of your current clients these questions,

  • What excites you most about my material?
  • Which of my ideas solve hard problems?
  • What’s just noise?

Sometimes, a thought leader falls so in love with their “next great idea” that they forget about all of the amazing solutions they’ve already created. To be successful, you have to clearly analyze your ideas, find the strongest ones, and focus on innovating around those concepts.

What’s at the heart of your solutions? What drives your content, and what does it do best? Evaluate your content’s timeliness; is this material something that will still be relevant and meaningful in five years? Ten?

Your clients and buyers don’t need you to solve every possible problem they might encounter.

Attempting utter comprehensiveness, and addressing every imaginable business issue, will simply overwhelm everyone – you, and your clients alike! It’s better to be known as having great content for one big issue than trying to undertake everything, creating a pastiche that’s been poorly stitched together.

Keep your focus strong, and you’ll avoid building monstrous Franken-content!

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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