Whenever it’s time for that first phone call with a prospect, I move from my office to the kitchen. I bring my cup of coffee, my notebook, my phone, and settle in for a cozy chat.
I like to begin with small talk. I ask lots of questions. I want to understand their motivations, their lives, and what working with a content strategist means to them. Building successful business relationships means understanding these factors. A client’s business objectives are but one important factor.
We discuss expectations about publishing regular articles. I often hear these words: “We want to show thought leadership in the X space.”
“Well,” I ask, “in what ways do you see your brand leading in your market?”
In Other Words – How Do You Know You Are a Legit Thought Leader?
I have a client whom I regard as a thought leader. It’s a gut feeling I’ve had since we’ve been working together. My gut feeling about him, however, wasn’t helping me determine whether others had this quality. The gut isn’t into hard definitions. I went to the Internet to explore a definition for thought leader. I found an article that matched my own feelings on the subject.
This 2012 article on Forbes explains what my intuition senses. Thought leaders make connections. Thought leaders see what’s coming up next. Thought leaders develop a clear point of view on what’s happening. Thought leaders offer the best solutions that will benefit their followers.
How I Know My Client Is a Thought Leader
- More than one person has told me he has changed their life, changed their thinking, and made their lives better.
- He receives more referrals than he can take on.
- Others in his field have publicly endorsed his work.
- He is well known for a specific specialization that others in his field want to learn.
- His insights have helped people perform at higher levels.
- He has developed action plans and strategies with proven results.
My Job as a Content Strategist Is to Bring His Value to More People
- Help him demonstrate the benefits of his ideas, his products, and his ideology.
- Help him explain how his work produces desired results for his target markets.
- Listen to his markets to help him develop the appropriate angle for each article.
- Help him organize his ideas into cohesive articles that are actually read.
- Help him choose the best topics to discuss based on feedback, trends, and business objectives.
Now that I understand what a thought leader means to me, I can help prospects assess what it means for them – to figure out what it takes to actually be a thought leader. The next time I’m at the kitchen table, on the phone, I’ll know what to ask. I’ll also know how to explain how I help best.