Not so long ago, your members could whip up marketing copy, then put it on their web sites or brochures. No more. Those who trumpet a “Buy from me” style no longer hold sway. Today’s influencers share valuable content verbally, visually, and in writing.
Reaching out to members, clients, and customers with practical ideas they can implement in their careers and organizations triumphs over inane marketing-speak.
What tools can you use to improve the thought leadership profile of your chamber, its executives, and your members? Let’s cover three principal methods:
- Speaking—Supply the real world knowledge your audience can use from your position of authority on the dais.
- Writing—From a book to a blog, reach out to those you need to connect with using strong, original content.
- Research— Issue original findings on a topic your community cares about.
Now, for the elephant in the room. Didn’t Mom always tell us to avoid bragging? Well, that’s good advice when talking about clumsy braggadocio. But there is a big difference between a blowhard who shamelessly touts himself (either in person or online) and an executive who imparts useful content about issues of import to her community.
Here are some ideas for implementing a thought leadership campaign. First, ask respected colleagues where they see your strengths residing and which methods are most suitable for you. Are you better at writing or speaking?
Also ask yourself what your personal preferences are. Don’t ignore your inner voice. Even if you’ve never considered your speaking, writing, and research strengths, you know what you are good at and what you enjoy.
How can you sharpen your speaking, writing, and research skills? Start with low-risk efforts, such as speaking before your local Rotary Club or submitting articles to your organization’s internal publications. As you improve and gain confidence, reach out to larger audiences and more prestigious publications.
As for research, begin with modest projects that may be narrow in scope while still highlighting your expertise.
To get the ball rolling, assess your strengths, decide where you want to improve, then map your route. Dig into things online. Solicit advice from colleagues. And contact that advisor who can help you improve your thought leadership capabilities.
This content is based on Ed’s forthcoming position paper, “But Mom Told Me Never to Brag: Overcoming the Thought Leadership Hurdles”