We’ve been focusing on thought leadership the past few weeks with excerpts from my research report, “But Mom Told Me Never to Brag: Overcoming the Thought Leadership Hurdles.” Today’s finale helps you plot a road map for your own endeavors.
The obvious question regarding any professional’s content marketing venture—including your own: How can you sharpen your speaking, writing, and research skills? What steps should you take to enhance your thought leadership profile without seeming boastful?
With speaking, the key is practice, practice, practice. Begin with low-risk situations, perhaps at your child’s school or your neighborhood association. Then branch out to small community groups, eventually progressing to larger audiences that hold more weight relative to your career and profession.
Read what you can about the craft of speaking, too. Just be alert to the fact that there is a lot of bad advice out there. You will either have to sift through it yourself or find an advisor with expertise in helping you sharpen your communications edge.
The approach to writing is much the same—do it. Start small by contributing comments to others’ blogs or launch a blog of your own. Next, pitch editors at smaller publications with articles focusing on your area of proficiency. Eventually, you may be able to work your way up to a regular column at a prestigious publication.
As for research, decide whether that approach is something you have the desire and background to pursue. If you give yourself a green light, set up a system that you can use to identify topics, conduct your studies, publish, and promote.
“There is nothing better on the planet than content marketing to increase one’s reputation and business,” concludes the Content Marketing Institute’s Joe Pulizzi, also the author of Epic Content Marketing. “To build both an audience and authority on a topic, you need to deliver consistent amounts of valuable and helpful information in a niche topic. If you don’t have a billion dollars to spend, becoming the go-to informational resource in the industry is a close second.”
Get ready to position yourself as a content expert in your field. Assess your abilities, decide where you want to improve, then chart a course designed to get you to your destination in a diplomatic, non-arrogant manner.
Act as if your career and business goals depend on it. They do, you know.