Marketing 101: Becoming a Thought Leader
With the vast marketing experience interim executives have they are natural thought leaders
A great way to establish yourself as the expert thought leader and create value for potential prospects is to publish consumable content. You likely won’t be meeting all of your future clients at networking events; they could come from other sources, such as referral partners or your online presence. Information about what you do and how you address pains in the marketplace that can be easily consumed by your target audience is worthy of time and investment. Content can be in the form of articles/blogs, tweets, posts, slide shows, presentations, podcasts, videos, etc. The one thing the audience has in common is that they all consume information differently. Even if you don’t see yourself as a writer, there are too many options available for this to be your stumbling block. Be careful of falling into the same trap when it comes to creating content as clients do when they don’t address the issues they have.
There is rarely an interaction you have or something you accomplish that can’t be turned into content. Look for ways to leverage your expertise or your engagements. Here are a few of the basics:
Marketing Case Studies
Document your engagements as you complete them. Every engagement should have some type of case study attached to it. These can be the most powerful tool in your marketing and business development efforts. Case studies showcase both your expertise and the types of results you’ve achieved for clients. Since much of what you will share is confidential information, keep it blind. For example, describe the company in terms of size and industry. Rather than sharing the exact dollar amount by which you increased revenues, use percentages. Include the reason the company brought you in, what you accomplished, the results of your efforts, and a testimonial from your client. Potential clients and referral partners should be able to consume the information in less than two minutes. There is likely nothing you could tell them verbally in two minutes that would have the same impact.
Marketing Articles for Thought Leaders
Articles are great because of their distribution and forwarding opportunities. An article can be on a timely news topic and your expert commentary on it, some guidelines or common mistakes companies make within your realm of expertise, or a recap of a previous engagement, telling the story from your client’s perspective. The first comment we usually get when we recommend this is, “I’m not a very good writer.” There are many great writers using online marketplaces whom you can hire to do the writing for you. These articles can be used on your website or blog, as postings on social media sites, for e-mail campaigns, or just for forwarding to referral sources or companies you want to stay in touch with.
Speaking Opportunities in Marketing as a Thought Leader
Speaking opportunities are one of the most effective ways for your expertise to resonate with an audience of potential clients or referral sources. The audience is very targeted. They self-select based on interest in the topic and will sit and listen for forty-five to sixty minutes or more, depending on how engaging the speaker and topic are. Add this to your list when meeting with referral sources. Give them an idea of topics you have or could speak on. Start counting the number of associations and events that are hosted in your area in any given year. The opportunities are plentiful. It is up to you to make the connection between what would be of value to the audience and what information you can offer, consistent with your brand, in an interesting and engaging manner. The more speaking you do, the more likely it is that you will be remembered when an opportunity arises. When you do speak or get on a panel, don’t rely on the audience searching you out and keeping your information. Provide some type of supporting material, preferably electronically, and offer it to anyone who gives you their business card. There should be a call to action (CTA) in most of your activities.
Keep Your Marketing Messaging Consistent
Don’t tell a networking group you are looking for your next COO role when the last four positions on your online profile were all CFO positions. It’s understandable to want to look for entirely different roles, but companies want executives who bring years of relevant experience to the table. So, make your information consistent with your history and what you want. It is also confusing and frustrating when someone you meet finds nothing from your conversation reflected on your LinkedIn profile. Regardless of where you display your information, whether on LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, etc., it needs to be consistent across the board and highlight your expertise.