We continue on the thought leadership track with another excerpt from my research report, “But Mom Told Me Never to Brag: Overcoming the Thought Leadership Hurdles.” Here’s our selection for today.
Our society generally frowns upon self-aggrandizement. Most of us no doubt recall Mom warning us not to toot your own horn. And we can vividly grasp her wisdom every time we are cornered by someone with a bloviating, salesy manner who tells us how great his services are, or when we visit the web site of a company that claims to be the best choice for every situation.
To be clear, there is a big difference between a prima donna who blows his own horn and an executive who shares useful opinion and analysis about issues that affect her business and her clients.
“Content marketing is just advertising with the added element of engagement. It’s the natural, evolved state of advertising today,” says Will Burns, CEO of Ideasicle. In today’s business world, new media tools have the benefit of allowing thought leaders to reach previously unknown or hard to find audiences.
“Advertising in any form is inherently boastful,” he continues. “That’s the point. To boast. But underlying any advertising boast is the belief that what’s being boasted about is worthwhile to a certain audience in the first place.”
Much of effective bragging revolves around solid content. Effective thought leaders provide valuable information and show how target audiences can use it. It is no longer about what you can sell them.
Consider the change in web sites in recent years. Not so long ago, most sites were basically a glorified marketing brochure: Here’s what we do and here’s why you should buy from us. Today’s Internet has changed. Companies now try to attract clients and customers by providing articles, speeches, research reports, blogs, and videos that are chock full of content that visitors can put to good use.
As an example, consider the web site of Grant Goodwin, President of All Roads. He holds that articles packed with content serve to attract followers. Goodwin hews to his own advice with a web presence featuring articles on creating an effective web site, matching online and offline visibility, and more. Summing up his approach on his web site, he writes, “Learn how to become an authority by sharing your best thinking with those that are seeking it online today.”