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Thought leadership

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


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)



How journalists improve reader engagement

by Randall Craig October 21, 2016

What is the one lesson that appears in every newspaper article, every magazine article, and for that matter, every bestselling book?  Journalists and editors realize that they have to work exceptionally hard to get people to actually read what they write. And unless you actually do so, their work has no value – so they have become experts […]

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Commodities, Academics, Golfers, and Stars

by Randall Craig July 29, 2016

Is there a gap between how you perceive yourself, and the reality that others see? Too often, we use self-descriptive marketing terms so much that we convince ourselves of their truth. And what the the biggest culprits? Here are two: Thought Leader and Trusted Advisor. It isn’t hard to understand why so many refer to […]

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Price, Expertise, and Trust – revisited

by Randall Craig July 15, 2016

Most service-based organizations compete based on Price/Expertise/Trust. But do these dimensions by themselves generate sustainable competitive advantage?  Not necessarily: to develop competitive advantage requires taking each of these items to their logical conclusion. From price to value:  Not only is competing on price usually not economically sustainable, most organizations do not want their brand to be characterized exclusively by price. […]

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Trust Killers

by Randall Craig May 13, 2016

How much does your organization invest in marketing?  Beyond thought leadership and inbound marketing strategies, there is advertising, promotional items, trade shows, CRM, marketing automation, the web and social media.  Any way you look at it, the investment is substantial. Yet despite this focus, and despite all of this strategy, why is marketing so often ineffective? […]

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Marketing Insight: White Papers and Inbound Marketing

by Randall Craig July 26, 2013

Nowadays, a white paper can be just about anything. In the olden days of the 1980s, it typically meant a definitive exploration of a specific topic, often 20 pages or more. The author (and their organization) would be recognized for this knowledge by the marketplace, resulting in queries, and eventually, new business. While some organizations […]

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Content Marketing and Thought Leadership

by Randall Craig February 15, 2013

One of the most important – and one of the newest – elements of a modern marketing strategy is Content Marketing.  The idea is that if your “content” is everywhere, then would-be clients would be easily attracted to you. Unfortunately, many marketers miss a crucial aspect of this: that the content must be valuable in […]

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