What extra touches do you put into your morning routine when you know you are meeting an important business connection? Do you get out the best suit? Posh pen? Polish your shoes? (or in my case change from my cycle shoes to heels in the lobby of a building).
How long did you spend creating impressive business cards for a networking event or hiring an impressive venue for a client event?
If you are plugged in to business development, then I’m guessing you do all of the above. Going to extra lengths to make an impression is something we do without thinking. It’s part of the process to attract new clients or partnerships.
But all too often I see businesses and individuals neglect their online image. If you put the same effort into building a professional persona online, you reach an audience that stretches way beyond the room at a networking event. By showcasing your thought leadership on different mediums, you cast a wider net and reach people out of your usual network.
How many times have you not felt like going out to a business dinner, or networking event? But you’ve forced yourself because you know that there won’t be any chance of winning business or building your network if you don’t go. The same applies to building your online personal profile.
Having a LinkedIn profile which lists five impressive job titles won’t cut it. There are 560 million profiles on LinkedIn and 260 million regular monthly users. To stand out, you need to show what you know. Thought leadership is the most effective vehicle to express your brilliant ideas, views, solutions and unique assets.
It’s a fact that when business leaders or entrepreneurs are seen as an authority in their industry, it not only draws new leads in, but it helps you retain the clients you have. If someone has read an article you’ve written, or seen your name appear as a guest on a podcast list, it puts you front of mind, which is essential because you never know when an opportunity will arise.
According to research by Edelman 64% of c-suite executives vet an organization through its thought leadership almost half of them said that visible thought leadership had led to them awarding business.
It’s not just about winning new business. Thought leadership helps you be found. It can open the door to joint ventures with successful entrepreneurs and influencers. It can lead to more paid speaking opportunities. It leads to being found by journalists and producers. Usually publicity breeds publicity. The more you are used as a commentator, the more the media seek you out. The more an article is viewed the higher Google ranks it, and so on.
It’s true that a great marketing campaign can raise the profile of your business. But in today’s digital era, companies need a human face behind the business. The more senior member of a business the more important it is for them to showcase thought leadership. John Magree is a great example of a high-profile CEO who is not afraid to express his personality on social media nor give off the cuff lines to the media. Of course, his overall objective is to promote his business, not himself. We know that the best way to get a business into the public’s consciousness is to make the leaders visible.
Marketing is for businesses and it’s formulaic. Thought leadership is for the people at the helm of a business and it’s dynamic and innovative.
It used to be that a good advertising slogan could sell. Today human messages sell.
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