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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.

Note: The Make It Happen Tipsheet is also available by email. Go to to register.

Randall Craig

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


Where do you call your social home? Likely it includes LinkedIn and Facebook. Perhaps YouTube and Twitter. But what about Instagram, Pinterest, Vimeo and Flickr? Or, the 500+ other social networks that exist?

The significant challenge of social media is that you don’t know who is looking for you (or your services), nor where. What you do know is that if your target users can’t find you on these 500+ sites, then a potentially important opportunity will be lost.

But who has the resources to maintain a presence on 500+ sites, let alone 50? (Or ten?)

Enter our Anchors and Outposts model™.

Consider that every social venue can fit into one of two categories:

  1. Anchor: A heavily trafficked site that you are looking to build and curate a community on. Typically, Anchor sites include LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube: the big four. If the organization’s budget is small, then the number of anchors may only be one or two: a very large budget may mean the big four, and adding perhaps a few more.
  2. Outpost: If a site isn’t an Anchor, then it is an outpost. An outpost is a “thin” profile: register, add a logo or picture, and then add a keyword-rich description. The outpost includes a line of text that mentions that you don’t frequently monitor the site, along with a link to your main website and your Anchors. Outposts are set-and-forget, Anchors (and your main website) build community.

The Anchors and Outposts strategy is surprisingly simple: users will search anywhere, and as they find you, they will be funnelled from the outposts, to the anchors, to your main website.

Beyond the benefits of efficiency and findability, the strategy yields another important benefit: improved search engine results for your organization’s main website.  Of the 200 factors that Google uses to determine ranking, the number (and strength) of inbound links is an important factor.  (An inbound link is a link from somewhere else that links to your website. An outbound link is a link from your website that goes elsewhere). An Anchors and Outposts strategy creates a viable network of inbound links.

This week’s action plan: Most organizations have figured out their Anchors, but have not intentionally built their Outposts. This week, it’s time to do so.

Marketing Insight:  Capturing your outposts is an important defensive move: what would happen if a competitor, or a “hater” decided to register themselves on all of the social sites, as you?

Productivity Tips: (1) When you register your Outposts, go into the communications preferences section to reduce the number of promo emails you would be sent. (2) If you are looking for a list of outposts, check out

Note: The Make It Happen Tipsheet is also available by email. Go to to register.

Randall Craig

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


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by Randall Craig March 30, 2011

When the economy is tight, most organizations face a financial call-to-action: tighten your belts, manage costs, and cut-cut-cut. This seems reasonable – financial management will rationalize that revenues no longer support a “higher” level of expenditure, so either sales must increase, or expenses must cut. But how are these cuts determined?  Too often, it is […]

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by Randall Craig November 17, 2010

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25 Hours of Status Updates

by Randall Craig June 16, 2010

Every day, there are more Social Media venues that demand your attention. Every day, there are more people that you need to connect with and respond to. Yet every day, there are only 24 available hours. Time is finite, but what you “need” to do each day seems to grow, and grow, and grow. What […]

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by Randall Craig October 3, 2006

An athlete’s training schedule holds an important lesson for those looking to develop a successful career. At the beginning, an athlete may run 5 miles in one hour. As they get better, they move their time down to 55 minutes, then 50 minutes. At this point, they decide to add a 6th mile – which […]

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