By Nate Warren and Eric Elkins
This is for our friends who understand that a bigger thought leadership footprint can drive more revenue this year.
Hard realities first: May's gone. Charging at rapid transformation right now is likely to be a letdown, because summer looms — and your decision-makers are going to be up- and down-periscope according to their unique rhythms and PTO availability.
Good news: Late spring and summer are the perfect times to evaluate your execs’ personal brands in relation to your company, get into a rhythm, and be totally yoked when the fall revenue harvest kicks off.
Don’t Worry About Producing New Content for the Rest of Q2
We never recommend charging right into ambitious content planning. Optimizing key LinkedIn profiles and developing a thought leadership plan for each of them will help you stay consistent over time.
Here’s what you’re going to think about first:
What industry content is in your wheelhouse? It might be sharing expertise on emerging trends, providing leadership around industry regulations, or being a troublemaker when it comes to calcified practices. What matters is planting a flag somewhere logical from which your efforts will radiate. Trust your gut and pick a primary starting medium — audio, video, writing — that you know you can produce authentically and at doable regularity. Don’t get too thinky about this — pick something to get going with that lends itself to your voice (or the ghostwritten voice of your CEO). You can worry about multimedia and cross-platform strategy once you get a good cadence in your sandbox.
How credible are your exec teams’ profiles? Give yourself time to do an audit of each one, looking at their LinkedIn profiles through the eyes of somebody who is going to make a Blink-level snap judgment about your brand’s industry gravitas.
Here’s what we evaluate for clients who want to parlay a leader’s knowledge into more views, brand cred, and cash flow:
• Consistency of headline, profile descriptions, photo and header image quality across the leadership team. Great example: Look how McKinsey & Company’s partner-level LinkedIn folks are unmistakable no matter who you’re clicking on.
• Maximizing boilerplate areas to focus on strengths, industry keywords (hashtags matter on LinkedIn), and outcomes you know your ideal decision-makers are looking for.
• Publications, skills, recommendations: Start beefing them up if they look underfed and discard old/irrelevant stuff that’s landing in the first view of your leadership’s profiles.
• Frequency and quality of posts: Do your execs elevate others and show the love? Do they sound like another voice in the water cooler chorus or are they delivering a unique point of view — and showing people how to do things they couldn’t do before they met your brand?
Summertime: Let’s Produce Regularly
Now you’re going to add at least two posts a week for each exec over their usual activity. (That might bring your grand total to two. This is OK.) Either you’ll post on their behalf or send them stuff to use.
• Keep a notebook or file handy where you can dump hard-won realizations, links to stories that made you get up out of your seat, etc. You will be in your zone talking about these things because they’re authentic to your industry.
• Develop at least one flagship piece of content for the summer. This should be both revenue-critical (for your company) and something that offers a timely take on an issue you know your clients care about. (You’ll be able to carve out dozens of small posts from this article, although you don’t have to link back to the “mothership” asset every time, as that would be tiresome.)
• You’ll notice that certain topics, formats, and subjects in the hands of bigger players seem to perform really well. Experiment with writing your version of these posts in the voices of your executive team. Keep an eye on how they do.
• It’s OK to post something random just for fun once in a while. It humanizes the feed. Not everything needs to link back to your value proposition or have a call to action.
• Hold your execs accountable. If they’re not posting the content you’re providing, get them to hand over their login info and let you do it.
Perfection is a Trap
Did you ever embark on a quest for better fitness and get paralyzed by which “system” to pick and then think yourself out of it because all you saw was 1,000 different routines you had to perfect? That’ll drive you bonkers.
The right way to start is to find some movement that’s good for you — and then add more activities later. Be .3% better than you were last week. That’s the win.
By fall you and your leadership team — and the people you want to buy your story — will see something totally different: a confident niche SME who’s ready to double down on what they learned over the summer.
Want some real talk about your leadership content that will save you months of wheel-spinning? Reach out for a no-strings informal chat.