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Luxury or necessity? The dilemma of thought leadership

It’s a luxury: having the time to create brilliant, engaging, thought-provoking content that demonstrates your expertise. Content that makes you look from the outside like that guy in the Dos Equis commercials; “the most interesting man in the world.” It looks effortless, fun and of course, everything always turns out perfectly.

Your life doesn’t look like that, though. Your success requires effort, dedication, and often, more of your time than you’d like. So working to establish yourself as an authority or subject matter expert is put aside. It’s a luxury you simply cannot afford.

Until you need it. Then that luxury transforms into a necessity you wish you paid attention to months or even years earlier.

The case for necessity

You might be wondering why you would need to establish yourself as a thought leader or authority in your industry. Your marketing team has all that marketing stuff covered, right? But here are a couple of other scenarios you might encounter:

  • Partner or investor opportunity: an opportunity arises to join forces with a powerful player. You want credible proof on hand (and on the internet) that shows you know your stuff and are worth the risk.

  • Dream mentor opportunity: you want to work with a specific mentor that you know will be pivotal for your business. You want to demonstrate your knowledge and commitment to your craft to prove that you are worth that mentor’s time.

  • Board opportunity: you have decided that a board member position is your best career move. You want to demonstrate the breadth and depth of your experience and expertise making you the perfect resource for the position.

Notice that none of these scenarios contain the words marketing, sales, revenue, buyer’s journey, etc, etc. It’s an unfortunate misconception that thought leadership is just another marketing tool. It goes much deeper than that.

The case for now

The most important point to keep in mind about thought leadership is that it doesn’t happen overnight. Scrambling to pull some content together will be apparent to anyone looking at your digital presence.

It takes time and effort to build your authority. It also takes a bit of strategy. Think about building your thought leader presence the same way you would approach building a business. Laying out the basics of who, what, when, where and how. The best plan is the one you have written down, even if it is on the back of a cocktail napkin. Careful might start to resemble the ‘most interesting man in the world.’

Please don’t let the amount of time, effort, and planning stand in the way of getting started. You never know when that luxury will turn into a very real necessity.

Want to dive into thought leadership without drowning? I can help.

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