This post helps you select and personalize your strategy for optimising communications channels and platforms in a B2B knowledge intensive context. And here’s a secret: It’s both about you and your buyer persona profiles.

Becoming you

To become a thought leader for your company and your industry, you do not need to be a master of rhetoric. Of course, having the ability to speak beautifully or write well can help, but in the end what really counts is your (1) subject matter expertise (2) dissemination and (3) engagement.

As Napoleon once said: In love, amateurs are often better than the professionals. The same holds true for those who practice the art of communication: Passionate amateurs can develop thought leadership—simply by sheer dedication to their subject matter.

For starters

1) Try to phrase a tweet-sized (read: 140 characters or less) definition of your subject expertise; then consider how this can constitute the very cornerstone of your entire communications’ go-to-market strategy. When you are passionate about what you are doing, this should seem fairly easy to do.

2) Few people were born to be naturally good communicators. Most of us must keep on exercising to get our messages across. Steve Jobs reportedly practiced over and over again, for hours and days on end, until it was time to present at Apple’s product launches. The best communicators devote innumerable hours to practice this craft, so their audience only sees the polished presentation.

3) As for communication, willingness and eagerness go a long way when it comes to successful engaging with your audience. You seldom get it right the first time, and getting people to listen to you is an art that cannot be learned overnight.

Finally, being comfortable with where you are, what you do and how you do it are prerequisites. Being comfortable is a subtle yet powerful kind of confidence, which will ultimately lead to the strengthening of your thought leadership abilities. You probably have never encountered a thought leader who seemed to be outside of his comfort zone. Then again, consider for one moment how he landed in this comfort zone of his in the first place!

Getting your message out

There are four ways in which you can engage with your target audience.Communication can be written or verbal. Also, you can communicate either by addressing your audience proactively or by responding to their queries.

However, deciding on which communication method works best for you is not the only thing that matters! Keep in mind that you are engaging people whose method of engagement may differ from yours. For this reason, you need to be present on platforms and in networks where your audience engage and access their information. Strong communication on the wrong platform is like speaking to yourself.

Please study the table below and consider where you find your comfort zone. Your stronghold may be within direct and reactive customer interaction. To grow as a thought leader you may also consider which proactive means will best fit your style and aspirations.

Reactively Proactively
  • Re-tweets
  • Commenting
  • Analyst interaction
  • Supporting written proposals
  • Tweets
  • Blog posts
  • News articles
  • Email marketing
  • Newsletters
  • Books
  • Doing interviews w/ media
  • (Support in) sales calls
  • Answering the phone
  • Analyst interaction
  • Conference and seminars presentations
  • Tuition
  • Networking


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