Thought Leadership: Expertise, not Ego

Many of our clients are very humble people. We notice that a lot with the CEO’s we work with; they’re certainly proud of their product, proud of the business they’ve worked hard to create and build, but they’re also quick to attribute praise to those that helped them get there–their executives, their team, their spouses.

For whatever reason, maybe it’s the type of traditional, nuts-to-bolts business they run, but whatever it is, they’re far more likely to want to talk about their company than about themselves.

Which is why it gives many companies pause when we tell them about our plans to build up their thought leadership online. They don’t like the idea of “becoming the expert” in their industry. Sure, they know a lot about it. Sure, they can answer a lot of these customer questions. But they don’t want to seem egotistical by proclaiming their knowledge across the whole World Wide Web.

Well, here’s where we tell you not to worry. Thought leadership has nothing to do with ego. It has nothing to do with vanity. This is not about throwing your name and picture across the interest just to have it there, with no substance to back it up.

This is about serving your customers where they are. This is about becoming a resource to the people that matter to you and your business. And not for everything–just for the niche of your industry.

In fact, thought leadership is specifically not about talking about yourself. When contributing articles to various industry sites, we discourage mentioning you, your company, or your products anywhere other than in the author bio at the end of the piece. Instead, thought leadership is where you demonstrate to your prospects that you are there for them, there to answer their questions, no matter what they may be.

This isn’t about your name or picture. We’re not putting your face on a billboard, or taking out an ad with your name on it. This is about aligning your brand’s voice with your company’s expertise in order to illustrate to prospective customers that you can be trusted, that there is a sense of authority behind your products.

So we applaud your humility, we really do. But there’s a time and a place for everything. And thought leadership is the time to leave modesty at the door in favor of investing in your company’s voice online. We assure you–the impact of being seen as an expert in your space will far outweigh the discomfort you feel at getting there. If you put your name behind content that genuinely serves your customers, that is truly relevant to the questions they have in your industry, then they won’t for a second think that the piece is about you and your ego; they’ll know it’s about the pure value and help you’re providing to them.

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