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Becoming an Efficient Thought Leader

by Randall Craig on February 24, 2017

Filed in: Blog, Content, Make It Happen Tipsheet

Tagged as: ,

One of the more popular thought leadership “strategies” is to create relevant, provoking, leading-edge content.  Not only does this provide evidence of the thought leader’s special knowledge, but it also helps attract new followers, through sharing (social and real-world), and through discovery (Google, conference speeches, and publicity.)
The most successful thought leaders recognize that this means creating content in multiple formats, using multiple channels, at multiple frequencies. After all, followers all have different preferences on how they may wish to consume this content – they are all individuals, each with their own interests, needs, and constraints.
So far so good, but who has the time to do all of this work?  Most thought leaders already have a day job – this is where they have earned their special expertise. Their business card does not say thought leader, but rather consultant, lawyer, accountant, engineer, CEO, professor, author, and so on. Every minute spent on developing content takes time away from billable work.  Every minute spent posting, tweeting, sharing, and commenting also takes time away from billable work.  (Or, it takes time away from family, the gym, or other activities.)  Who has the time?
There are two strategies that can address this:
1) Delegation:  Why must a thought leader do everything themselves?  Much of the mechanical process of production and dissemination of the content can be delegated to others.  Even the writing and editing can be outsourced.  The entire process can easily be started with a ten minute interview with a writer, which then becomes a single blog post, focused on a unique idea.
2) Repurposing:  Consider the following hierarchy of activities:
  • Convert each blog post into a video;
  • Convert small groups of blog posts into webinars;
  • Convert small groups of blog posts into whitepapers;
  • Convert a group of whitepapers (otherwise known as “chapters”) into a book.
 Even taking one of these ideas, “video”, yields more ways to use the content:
  • Create a video compilation using 2-3 related videos;
  • Slice each video into short sliced segments;
  • Create more blog posts based on these segments;
  • Strip the audio from each video to create podcasts;
  • Create a transcript from each podcast.
3) Delegation (again):  Once the content is produced, then it can be tweeted, posted, and shared, both within social media, as well as in the real world.  Basic comments (thank you’s, etc) can be acknowledged by a staff member acting for the thought leader, while more complex comments and questions might be answered by the thought leader themselves.
This week’s action plan: For most busy people, the question of efficiency and productivity always looms large. If thought leadership is part of your strategy, how might you delegate and repurpose more? If you’re not sure where to start, choose one.
Thought leadership insight #1:  Does it really make sense to do ALL of these things?  Absolutely not!  How much you choose to do can be found at the intersection of two constraints:  The amount of time or dollars that it makes sense to invest in providing evidence of your thought leadership, and perhaps more importantly, the interests and preferences of your target audience.
Thought leadership insight #2:  While thought leaders produce great content, it does not follow that if you produce great content you are a thought leader.  Thought leaders require… followers, both online, and in the real world.  Think you are a thought leader?  Test yourself – you might be surprised.

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Randall Craig

@RandallCraig (follow me)
:  Professional credentials site
.com: Web strategy, technology, and development
:  Interviews with the nation’s thought-leaders


Randall has been advising on Digital Strategy since 1994 when he put the Toronto Star online, the Globe and Mail's GlobeInvestor/Globefund, several financial institutions, and about 100+ other major organizations. He is the author of eight books, including Digital Transformation for Associations, the Everything Guide to Starting an Online Business, and Social Media for Business. He speaks and advises on Digital Transformation, Digital Trust, and Social Media. More at

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