Do’s and Don’ts of Thought Leadership Building.

erGo-250Being known as an authoritative resource is powerful in today’s marketplace. The more recognition your company gets, the more powerful it becomes. With so much at stake, it pays not to make missteps in the thought leadership arena. Here’s how to get your strategy off on the right foot.


  • Establish goals you can reach—then move on to bigger things.
  • Immerse yourself in your professional domain.
  • Look for topics that your competition misses.
  • Encourage thought leadership development among your staff—thought leadership isn’t a one-person show.
  • Search for new things to say and add value through what you offer.
  • Be willing to risk rejection in the interests of finding better ways to do things—admit if you’re wrong.
  • Keep customer needs at heart—thought leadership shares the selfless characteristics of servant leadership.
  • Employ leadership vision—point toward a new future or a change in direction.
  • Deliver thought-leadership messaging that is actionable.
  • Ensure that ideas are relevant to your peer base—know your audience.
  • Present solutions grounded in experience.
  • Invest in good research.
  • Be fair and balanced in your presentations.


  • Confuse being a thought leader with being a pundit.
  • Forget that you need to earn the trust of your audience.
  • Lose patience—your company won’t establish instant thought-leadership status.
  • Fear being a little controversial if you’re making a bold projection—just back up what you’re saying.
  • Use a voice that doesn’t match your company’s personality.
  • Fail to communicate thought leadership through multiple media—newsletters, by-lined articles, blogs, social media networks, webinars, symposiums, panels, white papers, case studies, surveys, research studies, speaking engagements and road shows.
  • Neglect to seek an outside perspective before publishing any thought leadership piece.
  • Trip customers’ “BS” meters with your content—demonstrate your desire to help them by being authentic, genuine, generous and accessible.
  • Obsess about giving away too much information—you’ll get more benefit from leveraging your knowledge than trying to horde it in today’s fast-moving markets.
  • Make thought leadership purely a marketing responsibility.
  • Forget that thought leadership still needs to be part of a larger marketing strategy.
  • Get sucked into believing that thought leadership requires being big—quickness and agility can be huge advantages.

How Are You Different?

Gary Stang, Sales Consultant & Trainer

Is there a salesperson whom hasn’t had that question fired at them? It’s usually a pass/fail question. Your best response utilizes the “boomerang” technique. It returns the question to the sender or proposes a different approach.

It goes like this: “We are different from different printers in different ways. It would depend upon which company, or what type of printers, you are working with now. There are always some differences. We’re not identical to anyone.”

You might add: “It would also be helpful to know a little more about the nature of your business. Then we can limit it to the points that are relevant.” Follow this with a softly asked question: “Would that be okay”? I can’t remember ever getting an outright “no.” Try it. The pass/fail question falls to the wayside.

The buyer has now discovered an important difference, too. YOU! Your handling of this question set you apart. It may be all the differentiation required – at least for now. They are talking with you!

By Larry Bauer

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2 Comments on “Do’s and Don’ts of Thought Leadership Building.”

  1. Gin Says:

    I agree about providing great service and showing genuine concern to target specifics of customer questions does bring about respect and admiration. Good tips!

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