Recently, I was listening to Lewis Howes‘ “The School of Greatness” podcast where he interviewed Elizabeth Gilbert, author of Eat, Pray, Love. The duo discussed why everyone is always looking for more and bigger – more numbers, more followers, a bigger audience, etc. As a marketer and communications pro, these are questions I receive all too often: How do I get more likes? How do I get more eyes on my research? How can I expand my platform? How can I drive more sales? These are the sparks that ignite and inform every thought leadership strategy. The answers, however, are often found in your ability to cultivate and grow the audience you already have.
In great part, building thought leadership requires developing and marketing the assets currently in your arsenal – your website, social media networks, blog – and leveraging them to further influence those who follow them.
Here’s a quick three-step guide to help you easily serve the platforms you likely already own:
- Do you have social media accounts? Good. Now post to them – frequently! If your last tweet is from July 2015, you have work to do. Your followers want to know not only what’s new (launching a new product? Speaking at an event? Just published a business book?), but perhaps even more importantly, what you think about various industry challenges or opportunities. Set aside an hour or two each week to create a content calendar (at least one post a day per network) and schedule your posts in a social media manager. Here are my favorites.
- Is your website up-to-date? Do you post fresh content regularly (weekly or monthly at a minimum)? Consider everything you’re already producing – articles, research, media placements, videos – and find a strategic home for it on your site. It will help will search optimization and also provide fuel for your social strategy. Think of your website as your expanded platform; if Twitter is for 5-second insights, your website is for 3-minute blogs detailing perspectives on industry issues. Which brings me to…
- Many thought leaders – and those who help market their expertise – assume blogging is too time intensive to be worth the effort. It doesn’t have to be. Tune into the news or scan your go-to news site to trigger blog-worthy ideas. (How do you think I got the idea for this one?) Curate relevant content from outside sources and provide a few sentences or few paragraphs of commentary. Video blogs are also attention-getters. Record yourself or your organization’s top expert for one to two minutes discussing why a particular issue is important. A blog doesn’t need to be long (and in fact, it shouldn’t be) to be impactful.
If you want to get attention, you need to give attention – to your marketing channels, your followers and your existing assets, including content. That’s not to say don’t ever experiment with or invest in different ideas and tactics. But you have to start somewhere, so why not make the most out of what you already have.