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Six Top Thought Leadership Articles

by Randall Craig on February 17, 2017

Filed in: Blog, Make It Happen Tipsheet,

Tagged as: , ,

For most people in senior roles, the holy grail of recognition is embodied in two terms: Thought Leadership and Trusted Advisor.  Yet too often, these very terms are thrown around, overused, and just perhaps, may be losing their value.

Notwithstanding this, the underlying concepts are powerful – with a matching value in the marketplace.  Here are six posts that explore these concepts:

This first article describes the intersection between Price/Expertise/Trust.

Cheap, Smart, and Trusted

This next article revisits the concept, but asks what happens as each is accelerated. (Hint:  Value/Thought Leadership/Trusted Advisor)

Price, Expertise, and Trust – revisited

Remember the two-by-two Boston Consulting matrix? What happens if Trusted Advisor is on one axis, and Thought Leadership is on the other?  Many people have a star self-image, but the reality is they are really just golfers or academics.  (Nothing wrong with golf or academia; the issue is the gap between self-image and reality.)

Commodities, Academics, Golfers, and Stars

A key benefit of thought leadership is influence: this article describes how to assess it in others… and in yourself:

Ten Tests for Assessing Influence

This next article answers the question of how to start on the journey, and ties it to content marketing.

Content Marketing and Thought Leadership

While Thought Leadership is important for the individual, powerful organizations become more powerful when everyone is thinking.  This article shares how:

Insight: Building a Thinking Organization

This week’s action plan:  Not happy with your influence?  More a Golfer than a Star?  This week, choose one thing to do about it.

Bonus webinar, Feb 22, 2017, noon ET (no cost):  Join Randall Craig for  It’s not called Thought Followership (no cost).   Register and more information:


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

Randall Craig

@RandallCraig (follow me)



Influencers are incredibly powerful, not just because of their reach, but because of their trusted relationships. They can bring your name and your services to a completely new audience. They can provide insights into your market – and the market’s view about you – that are uniquely valuable.  They can recommend you – or skewer you.

Clearly it is important to develop strong relationships with them – but how do you know who they are?  Or more particularly, how might you assess the power of their influence? Here are ten tests that can help:

  1. The Google test: When you search for their area of expertise on Google, do they appear in the first few entries? Or further down the list? If you search for their name, are they referenced within a number of different sites, or just their own? Beyond Google, check the Bing search engine, as well as their website’s Alexa rank.
  2. The social follower test: While quantity isn’t everything, it is an important factor. How many followers/friends/connections does the influencer have on Twitter, YouTube, Facebook, and LinkedIn? And if there is a particular Social Network within your industry, how many followers do they have there?
  3. The activity level test: How active are they? How often do they post original thinking? How many shares, comments, likes, and retweets?
  4. The social influence test: There are a number of websites that purport to assess an individual’s (or a brand’s) influence. What is theirs? Check out Kred, Klout, and Naymz.
  5. The economic test: How much do they charge for mentions, advertising, or sponsorship? The ability to charge for access is one indicator of the economic value of their influence: the more they charge, presumably the higher their influence. Be wary, however: many influencers see this practice as compromising their independence and objectivity, and don’t “sell” their name to anyone.
  6. The traditional media test: Perhaps we have come full circle, but too often influence is being defined narrowly as online influence. The traditional media test speaks to their recognition outside of the blogosphere and twitterverse. How often are they quoted – or write in – in newspapers and magazines? How often do they provide their perspective on radio or television? Are they regularly called by national media, or only by more obscure (or local) outlets?
  7. The longevity test: How many decades have they been doing what they’ve been doing? Expertise, profile, connections, and influence don’t “magically” come into being all by themselves – it builds over time.
  8. The fancy title test: Some people are given influence by virtue of their job. One definition of influence is an individual’s seniority multiplied by the size of their organization. This is not a problem, but if one of your goals is to build relationships with this type of influencer (a noble goal for a host of other reasons as well), remember that once they leave their job, you will need to start over with their replacement.
  9. The author/speaker test: How often do they speak on their expertise? Are they paid to speak? How many books have they written? Are the books traditionally published, or are they self-published and of dubious quality?
  10. The community involvement test: Influence also stems from what people do beyond their day jobs. This may mean leadership in a professional association, faith community, neighborhood ratepayers group, school PTA, kids’ sports league, or their own baseball team.  The more active the person is, the greater their influence.

The most important test – relevance: The question of influence is not complete unless you address the question of who they are influential with. If a person or organization has influence with an irrelevant target audience, then why should you care? To you, that influencer is irrelevant.

This week’s action plan: Who are the influencers in your market? This week, spend a few minutes identifying them, and then put together a plan to build stronger relationships with them.

An alternative action plan: How might you become a more powerful influencer yourself? One clue: Look at the tests above, and consider how your current marketing initiatives move you up the scale on each.

Marketing Insight: In the publishing world, the degree of your influence is often referred to as the strength of your platform. The stronger your platform, the more books you will sell. In the marketing world, influence is both a driver of brand equity, and evidence of the brand’s strength.  The stronger your brand and your platform, the more successful any particular marketing initiative will be. This is true for organizations, and  individuals.

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

Randall Craig

@RandallCraig (follow me)



Testing the Social Conversation

by Randall Craig December 27, 2013

Have you ever put your social influence to the test?  Or said another way, do others find you half as interesting as you do yourself?  If you’re not sure, here are seven ideas that might spur some different thinking. 17 Ways to Great Social Engagement: Not sure why your blog and other social media efforts […]

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Buzz the Buzz

by Randall Craig February 8, 2011

Have you ever been in a situation where everyone is “talking” about a particular movie, restaurant, or gadget?  While the subject of the buzz was probably quite noteworthy, what isn’t known is how much professional help from marketers it got along the way. If you are looking to develop buzz for your organization or project, […]

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by Randall Craig September 22, 2009

What makes you happy at work? And what makes you unhappy? While you can probably list many items in each category, are they opposites? If something makes you happy, will the absence of it make you unhappy? According to the psychologist Frederick Herzberg, the answer may actually be “no”.  Job satisfaction is influenced by Motivators, […]

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by Randall Craig July 1, 2009

Governments use regulation to influence how we each make decisions, either through tax policy or laws. Business uses money to change our behavior, either through commission plans, bonuses, or advertising. But how do we, as individuals, change the attitudes and behavior of those around us? The key is our influence over others. If we have […]

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No Conflicting Advice

by Randall Craig January 6, 2009

There are great colleagues, and there are bad colleagues, and you have to work with them all. But what happens when your interaction with the bullies and the slackers begins to influence your success? Here are some strategies you might use to get back on track: Approach them: It may be that the offender is […]

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