This post is Part 6 of 6 in a series covering a thought leadership webinar I co-hosted recently. Click through to catch up on the previous posts:
Part 1: Intro & Q&A, Part 1
Part 2: Q&A, Part 2
Part 3: What Is Thought Leadership and Why Is It Vital to Your Survival?
Part 4: The Four Core Components of Employee Thought Leadership
Part 5: How to Capitalize on the Thought Leadership Funnel
Jumpstarting and Activating Your Employees’ Influence Today
How can organizations jumpstart and activate their employees’ influence? What are some of the things that you can do today?
1. Define your target market. Who is in your market? What services can you deliver? Define it vertically and also think about what segment you’re going to market in. Make sure that your target market is manageable and that you can put your arms around it. As you can see in the above image, you’re focusing on a very specific market where you can say, “This is where I want to be not just the expert, but the go-to person, the known expert, the thought leader in.”
2. Befriend other thought leaders. Share their thought leadership, comment on their blogs, retweet their tweets, and build your Klout Score. For example, I’m proactively doing this step every day through a LinkedIn group I created called “Thought Leadership Best Practices”. Every day as a thought leader, I’m reading one to ten articles, taking one of those articles, and curating it in the group. I also share a link to the article along with the Twitter handle of the author on Facebook and Twitter. As a result, approximately 50 to 60 percent of the articles’ authors have joined the LinkedIn group. It’s a great opportunity for me to befriend other thought leaders. What I’m doing is reading their work, commenting on it, and liking it. I’m sharing their thought leadership, commenting on their blogs, retweeting their tweets, and essentially, building my Klout Score. What I’m doing is what you should do; make friends who can help you share your thought leadership on their platform.
3. Execute your thought leadership plan. Make it happen! Set up media engagements, write/crowdsource books, and allocate time each day for key folks.
a. Media engagements. Michael Procopio and I recently started doing Google Hangouts on thought leadership in which we interview thought leaders regularly. This is a great way to not only interact and do favors for peers, but to create good compelling content. Check out what we’re doing at “>ThoughtLeaderLife.com.
b. Books. It’s important to write. I am a big fan of writing and crowdsourcing books. The THiNKaha series is comprised of books that have 140 Twitter-sized quotes. It’s super easy to write a THiNKaha book and then share it in multiple formats/platforms. It’s also important to remember that content does not have to be absolutely original—it can be aggregated and curated.
c. Making it a habit. This is a very important step and I’ll explain this one through an example. I was a local newspaper subscriber for 23 years. 9 months ago I cancelled my subscription; I now read my local paper online on my iPad mini. At the same time I read that paper, I also read The New York Times. What I really love about The New York Times and how they do their paper is that they make it so you can instantly share any particular article via several different platforms (e-mail, social media). I share articles every morning with others who I think would be interested in the articles’ topics. So that’s now a habit. I feel bad now if I don’t read the paper every morning and share articles with others. A couple of months ago, I added to that habit the habit of going online and checking my social media components. I’ll spend 15 minutes checking Facebook, LinkedIn, Google+, and Twitter and comment, share, and like what people are doing. I then spend two minutes on my THiNKaha app doing the same sort of thing—sharing content in the world. So that’s now a habit as well. Once you allocate time every day to do this activity, it’ll eventually become a habit.
Turn Your Employees’ Expertise into Thought Leadership to Attract More Prospects (aka Future Advocates)
Part of the premise of this blog series is to get you guys thinking about the importance of your employees’ expertise being thought leaders. I shared the thought leadership 2×2, the four components of employee thought leadership (aka H.E.L.P.), the thought leadership funnel, and the above three tips on what you can do today. I want to end the series with the six lessons that I learned in 2013; let these guide you into 2014.
1. Sales process invisible to sales and organization
2. Social selling is, or will be, the new norm
3. Help employees become thought leaders to win
4. Define the narrow “space” of the thought leader
5. Every employee needs to be an evangelist
6. Be nice to everyone—they could be your next advocate