B2B Growth: Your Daily B2B Marketing Podcast
B2B Growth: Your Daily B2B Marketing Podcast

Episode 2078 · 7 months ago

10 Most Common Mistakes Orgs Make with Thought Leadership Marketing


In this episode, Dan Sanchez talks with Bill Sherman who is the COO of Thought Leadership Leverage about 10 most common mistakes companies make in creating thought leadership marketing.

Here's the mistakes they discussed:

  • Lack of a clear exec champion
  • The new Head of Thought Leadership is unclear on their role / goals.
  • The new Head of TL feels the new role is not a promotion ("being sent to Siberia")
  • The Head of Thought Leadership doesn't understand the business strategy and goals.
  • Other departments get into turf wars over activities ("we do Thought Leadership too!")
  • The Head of Thought Leadership tries to do it all -- instead, the Head of TL should *curate* Thought Leadership
  • The Head of Thought Leadership doesn't build allies in other departments
  • Thought Leadership is seen as something by/for the elite (only the CEO).
  • The org gets impatient for results.
  • The org tries to measure success by the wrong standards (e.g. content marketing)

Yeah, welcome back to be, to be growth. I'mdan Sanchez with sweet fish Media and today I'm here with Bill Sherman who isthe ceo of thought leadership leverage and is the co host of a podcast by thesame name. Bill Welcome to the show. Good to be here, dan as the audienceknows. We've been on a deep dive into thought leadership and as soon as Istart started the steep dive and started putting names on my list. BillSherman was one of the first people that were on my list because he's gotone of the few podcast just dedicated solely to this one topic. And while GDPgrowth is very broad and doing a deep dive, I'm like, I got to talk to theguy who's talking to pretty much everybody in the field. It's a nichefield, but there are still lots and lots of people who are heads of thoughtleadership and I'm pretty certain Bills talked to all of them. I know he'sprobably people I've talked to and certainly all the authors that I've hadon the show so far. So it was a no brainer that I had to have Bill on theshow to talk about the topic of thought leadership because he is a thoughtleader on thought leadership, which is a little meta, but they are out there.But before we jump into what I thought would be the best topic for Bill tospeak to, which is all the mistakes he sees organizations make around thoughtleadership. Bill, I wanted to start off with asking you like, how did you evenget into this topic? Like how did this become a focus for you? Well, if youask most people how they get into thought leadership, they sort ofusually answer, they got their accidentally and my story is very muchthe same. I would describe myself as a practitioner of this thought leadershipfield as something unplanned. I did school and undergraduate in english andtheater, I was doing organizational consulting and I thought I was going tobe a consultant in organizational transformation. And then I had a Clevel executive, large company in the early two thousands who said, hey, Iwrote this business book, it got on the cover of fast company. People areasking me what to do with it and how they can apply the ideas, can you help?And from there I stumbled into a sort of a word of mouth referral wherevarious execs would go, oh, you wrote a book, go talk to bill. And it was asideline for a while and but it became a passion and really what I saw is thethrough line in my career is taking ideas through scale, right? How do youtake an idea to scale within the organization or beyond the organization?And so since 2013, it's been my full time focus. It's probably one of myfavorite things about marketing and why I'm even attracted to thoughtleadership at all is because I want to see the good ideas fly. You know, youwant to see the good things get out there and usually it just needs alittle marketing fairy dust. The thought leadership is usually the kindof marketing you put into ideas. Um, usually those ideas come with storiescome with people and characters, um, and thought leaders behind those ideas.So, uh, certainly no, that's one of the reasons why I got into it. It soundslike you fell in love with the topic for a similar reason, trying to getthose ideas, trying to give legs to ideas, but a number of people try to dothat and fail. So as you've gone from organization, organization haveprovided, like coaching and services around helping people do thoughtleadership better. What are you have? I know you sent me over ahead of time.What are like the 10 biggest mistakes you see people make is they try to gointo this thought leadership marketing endeavor. So let's start with how thethought leadership function gets created. And I would describe thoughtleadership as a function separate from content marketing or executivecommunications, or even classical B two B marketing, which I know is the focushere. It's a tool in the subset. And so the first question is, who is going tobe the executive champion? That might be the head of marketing? That could besomeone in ops I know of large...

...organizations. Were the champion is theC I. O. Who said we need to do thought leadership. So there's no consistentrole but Step # one. If you don't have an executive champion who understandswhat this is, you're going to struggle. And does it need to be a champion? Andor does it need when you say executive champion, does it need a champion onthe C suite? It should be either the VP or the C. someone who at the end of theday is willing to invest the time and effort in something which is not goingto produce immediate results in 60 days. You're standing up a business functionwhen you're setting up ahead of thought leadership and you have to have somepatients. So is it usually the CMO or is it usually whoever is in charge ofthe whoever is the head of the subject matter experts of that organization? Itdepends. So as I said, I can think of C. I. O. S. Who have championed it, I canthink of C. 00 S who have championed it. It depends on who gets it and realizesthis is a distinct thing. Nobody has taken really yet a class and thoughtleadership at the school. And so it's it's more someone gets the idea thatthey need to do something different to deepen a relationship with customers orto drive conversations when you're not in a sales mode or influence how peoplethink and act and they say, oh what can we do? Well that's thought leadership.Great, how do we stand that up? So there we go. Number one lack of clearexecutive champion, who is that at your organization? What's number two? Numbertwo is ahead of thought leadership. Who is unclear on the role. And so numbertwo and number three go together. But let's talk about the role of the headof thought leadership. Many organizations don't tag someone and saycongratulations, you're full time Head of Thought leadership. There's some bigorganizations that are doing that now, but many cases it's a percentage ofyour time And you've got to make sure that that person knows what you'reasking them to do. They understand how it fits, what they do 70% of the timeand it has to be tied to how they're motivated and evaluated and compensatedbecause if at the end of the year those were and handle thought leadership, butit's not tied to performance, it doesn't get done period, right. Sousually what you need to do is the person who is sponsoring the idea, theidea whether it's on the C suite or the VP of marketing says, Hey, I want youto handle thought leadership and usually there's a moment where theperson looks at at and sort of has a blank eyed look and goes, what's that?And what does that mean for my career? And that leads us to point # three. Allright. So moving on to that point. Yeah. So the head of Thought leadership needsto see it as an opportunity because rather than being sent to Siberia, ifthey think that they're going to be exiled and you know, this isn't anopportunity for growth for them, then they're going to go, what didn't I dowell in the organization, why are you putting me in this cubbyhole over herethat's brand new, has no infrastructure and I'm sweating to try and get timebudget, resources and help right. They've got to understand it'simportant. And one example I can give head of Thought leadership in a majorfinancial institution. He had the talk, had a sea level exact come in and sayhe was head of strategy, came in and said, we want you to run thoughtleadership. And he's like, is my career being sidelined what's going on, right,thinks about at home and then degrees to take the role and within about fourmonths is working on a project where the head of the company is speakingafter the president in the west wing of the White House. Okay. And so with that,that individual comes into the head of Thought Leaderships office and goes,yeah, I'm used to big opportunities all...

...the time. This one is special. Let'smake sure we do it right. And so you have to, when you're standing up thatperson into the role, you have to convince them this is good for theircareer as well as good for the organization. I find thought leadership.I imagine this probably gets handed the most to content marketers or getshanded often to content marketers who do you who usually it's often contentmarketers. So if you were to map where people come from is heads of thoughtleadership. Content marketers tend to be accidental. They stumble intothought leadership and start doing it. And someone in marketing says, I don'tknow what you're doing over here, but do more of it because it seems to beworking right. Others get recruited in Executive communications is anotherpath. Strategy is another path. I've seen people in public policy get handeda head of thought leadership function as well. Sometimes from the line salesengineering also gets this as well because they understand the customerand they've engaged with the customer. Sometimes you'll see it from anevangelist role as well, especially in tech. It seems to me like if anybody is in content marketing,this is a promotion essentially. You've been handed like the court. I don'tknow. The more I've learned about thought leadership marketing, the moreI'm like, oh this is like thought leadership. This is like contentmarketing on steroids. This is essentially like a level above contentmarketing. This is like, well they do different places, Right? Right. I meanyou can do a lot of things with broad content marketing. I've done I've donecontent libraries for S. C. O. Reasons that aren't thought leadershipmarketing and I get lots of traffic from it right ways to do it. But at thesame time I'm like thought leadership marketing goes, it's harder to maketakes a little bit more talent to be able to organize it and pull it out ofpeople and all that kind of stuff, But it's so much more powerful and so muchmore profitable. Well, especially if you understand the goals of yourorganization, you have to understand what the business is trying to achievenot only today, but where it's going in the future and you have to alsounderstand the landscape of your business. So the person who is servingthat role of head of thought leadership has to understand the organizationvertically as well as horizontally. It's a big, big shoes to fill ifsomebody else to do it. But I don't know, I think it has a huge opportunityfor lots of people who get to or invited into it. Let's move on tonumber four. The What's the 4th mistake you see companies run into. So thefourth mistake is that the organization doesn't set goals that are aligned withbusiness goals and so I can give an example, We're going to put out a pieceof thought leadership. It could be a white paper, it could be a podcast, itcould be a journal, it could be a conference, but they're not tying itback to the business goals. And so what happens is the asset or the event getsthe focus rather than the outcome. And you've got to think about who are wetrying to reach and if we reach them, what are they going to do? And so thegoals and we'll get into this in terms of measure and success have to bethought about up front because this is not like content marketing and one ofthe ways that I distinguish it is, you know, you can use content marketingmetrics and say, Hey, I got all these likes and I got all these impressions,pat yourself on the back and that's good in thought leadership. That maynot be good because if they're not the right audience, you failed. So whatspecific of enough of a goal? Because I think there's many shapes and sizes ofgoals and usually when people are coming to me and saying because I getto consult with customers were walking through our podcasting process and askhim like, okay, so what's the main goals of your podcast? Thoughtleadership is often one of its one of the top three goals. So we want toproduce content to have better thought...

...leadership. You know, they want to beseen as the expert. It's almost a branding, It's a credibility play. It'salso kind of a content marketing where they're, they're learning from them. Isthat specific enough? What are you looking for as far as you go? I wouldgo a little bit deeper on goals there. Right. And there are three sort ofcategories that I would say the thought leadership is good at. One. It can fillthe sales pipeline different way than content marketing or other types ofmarketing, but you can use the leadership to fill the sales pipeline.Two, you can use it to continue conversations and deepen relationshipswhen it would be awkward or inappropriate to have a salesconversation. So you may have a potential buyer that's not in a bi mode.If you go to them and you just feed them marketing, which is assuming thatthey're in the bicycle, you've got a problem. Or you could be talking to apolicy maker or a regulator or any of those folks. They're not buying whatyou're selling is the idea. Okay, So that's a second goal. The third is toinfluence how people think and act. So if you're in the C suite and you've gota vision, your ceo you're doing thought leadership to your organization, to say,this is where we're going, this is the future, this is how we're going to besuccessful, right? And that's the purpose of a town hall, that's thepurpose of all of the meetings that you do, listening sessions, et cetera. Andthen if you're trying to influence customers, so that when they put out anRFP, they're thinking about what they want to buy from what you've alreadycommunicated to them and have been talking about for two years, okay? Orit could be influencing standards and practices in the overall um sector.Right? So whether it's a specification or an industry standard, are youinfluencing how the world is going? I love those three. So I'm even justwritten and writing it down and thinking about it. So when you saycreate sales pipeline, I'm usually thinking of like you're creating demandfor something that you're want to be known for. You're deepeningrelationships. I think that has a huge place and account based marketing whereyou're, you know, building relationships with accounts and justcan't keep you like, hey, are you interested in buying yet? I think youeven mentioned this in our pre call yesterday. Like you just account repscan't just be buying, like coming up and be like, hey, do you have the RFPyet? Hey, what are you putting our can't be Simpson in the back of the cargoing, are we there yet? Are we there yet? You're gonna buy, you're gonna buy,that doesn't work. And assuming we get back to the point where we have face toface meetings and business dinners and that sort of thing, you can equip yoursalesforce if you're doing it well with thought leadership and say, here arethe things to tee up in conversation because it will help fill your pipeline,not this quarter, but if you're smart, you're filling up your pipeline fornext year on this right here, the seeds to plant huge and then the last onejust broader influence, kind of in some sense, trying to influence or steer tosome degree, a larger industry, um, in ways people are thinking broadly abouta topic which is a big thing as well, and you can elevate a topic that isn'tbeing talked about or discuss an existing topic in a new way. Soessentially, thought leadership marketing can be used as a primarydriver of category creation. Absolutely, absolutely. And maybe maybe in the Btwo B space, it kind of always is, I can't think of a situation where youcan create, uh, maybe in a hardware space, you probably could, butgenerally it's going to take thought leadership in order to power categorycreation well. And I'll give you an example on category creation. So init's one where there's a different alignment between the buyer and themanufacturer. So in industrial equipment, um, there's an organizationthat does thought leadership around.

They build cement plants, right? Whichis not a very green environmental friendly industry. But their corporategoal is to make the cement plants as green as possible. They know theirbuyers that's lower on the list. And so where they use thought leadership asthey say, look, we know where public policy is going to go. We know howregulations are going to change and as a result, instead of buying this updateyour plant this way, so that you're ahead of the game. So moving on to the5th question, our 5th most common mistake you went into, what is that?Let's describe it simply as department misunderstandings and sometimes eventurf wars. Right. The problem happens, you stand up a thought leadershipfunction, you sort of dubbed someone on the shoulder and they are now the nightof thought leadership, right? But they're in existing organization wherethings have been done. And what often happens is people say, well, weren't wedoing thought leadership? We were doing content marketing or we were doingexact calms and we handled the speeches for sea levels and that sort of thing.And the problem happens when people feel threatened. And so you need a headof thought leadership who is willing to build bridges and create thoserelationships and trust so that they know where to call you in and where tocall your team in and know where you're not going to play, that you're nottrying to take over all of their sandbox, but that there are things thatyou can do well and things they can do well, certainly be worth pulling allthose people into a conversation right from the beginning, right. Andhopefully absolutely champion at the executive level of spearheading maybethat first kick off being like, hey, I've designated this person is the headof thought leadership, but you guys have to work together, right kicks offthat meeting. And that's where the executive champions helpful in terms ofwhat's really worked well is a lot of one on once. And so I'm thinking ofahead of thought leadership, who basically went to peers across theorganization. And he said I had more lunches with peers both in town and Itraveled just that they understood what what we did, right? And he said, I dida meet and greet tour for six months. So that's a lot of conversations. Andit makes sense when you look at the 6th mistake, you see most often where thehead of that leadership is in charge of everything, tell me more about that andhow it's a mistake. So There are three functions I would describe and thoughtleadership. The ability to create thought leadership, curated and deployit. The role of the head of fault leadership is to curate it. Marketingand different functions and marketing are great at deploying right? Thoughtleadership teams don't have to deploy on their own. They can lean andcollaborate with existing marketing functions. The creation what happens isis if you have an organization of any size, you've got a lot of smart ideasand brilliant people. you've hired smart people and so with the head ofthought leadership and the reason the head of thought leadership function isimportant. You're the person paying attention through the organization asto where are good ideas that deserve to be elevated or would create more valuefor their brought together or put in the hands of sales or put in the handsof marketing. Often good ideas, go to die in PowerPoint decks and neverencounter the outside world. So the head of thought leadership isessentially an idea hunter. They're always looking for things that probablyhave value. If it's been set inside, it's locked inside our powerpoints andthey're looking for the things that probably need to be repackaged and sentthrough marketing to distribute. So...

...they're an idea hunter. And they'realso looking for people who can speak on behalf of the organization. So ifyou think about it, there are some people who are good at writing, putthem on stage, they freeze, some people are good on stage but lousy on writing.You're looking for talent as well as ideas and say who can be a good conduitto help get this idea because there are times where someone leaves theorganization, they get taken for a new position or go to a competitor or theyretire or they go on sick leave or something and you can't depend on thatone person in the organization and thats why instead of trying to do itall, you're trying to build a team and make thought leadership, everyone'sresponsibility. Some people create some curate, some deploy to kind of go on a slight rabbit trailbetween writing and speaking. Which one's more powerful as a thoughtleadership content. It depends on the person who's doing itRight. There are people who can stand in front of a room of 10,000 people andbring them to tears, right? Or they can paint a vision of the future that saysyes, we need to do something. There are other people who can write an articleor write a piece that just goes viral, right? You have to find people who are skilledin the medium and you may find someone who is a genius at ideas, but they'renot a communicator, pair them with a communicator. Someone who is a writeror get them a speechwriter find a way to help the idea fly. So essentially there's subject matterexperts like this happens with um I was amazed when I found this out about theHarvard Business Review is hardly ever written by the people whose by linesare on it, right? They're usually writers who interview the subjectmatter expert and actually turn their ideas into things that people like toread. Um, so you're talking to like doing things like that. Exactly. So ifyou're an expert in logistics, you haven't spent your career writingbusiness school articles for HBR, that's not your lane. But you have theinsight pair him with someone who can communicate that idea in a way thatpeople go, wow, we should be doing that. Moving on to the 7th 1. What is the 7thmost common mistake you see? So the head of the leadership needs allieswithin the organization. And this is the metaphor that I said top to bottomand across allies open doors for you. Ambassadors speak on your behalf, Yoursales force can be allies for you, where they go, oh, let's get you inthis room to talk. Or they can be ambassadors, You equip them with theright information. They're going to talk to all of your prospects. Yourmarketing team are also potentially allies. Ambassadors, People in productyour research or in customer service. You have to be listening because theinsights don't always come from within the walls of the organization. So youwant to build a listening network that brings information to you as the headof thought leadership so that you can figure out is this signal or is thisnoise? And if it's signal, what do we do with it? Who needs to hear it? Andwhat action do we need to take today? What are some like, common things arecommon ways? People usually get that wrong and then get unstuck with that.If they're if they're bad at finding allies. So if they're not good at finding allies,they're not thinking about the relationship side of the role. Okay.And I think back to marshall Goldsmith wrote a great book in terms of theearly part of his career, what got you here, Won't get you there.

Head of thought leadership has to focuson the relationships. And if you're not doing that, and if you're focusedsolely on thinking, the best idea will automatically win in the marketplace ofideas and your job is justifying the best ideas. You're going to hit thewall again and again. Because as you know, and as our listeners know,marketing creates unfair advantages, right? You need a good idea withexcellent marketing, that's going to fly an excellent idea with weak marketingdoesn't go anywhere. And a big part of that is the people around you, right?You're working in an organization. It takes more than one person to get theidea out there unless your team is so small and you're the only one in chargeof thought leadership and marketing, right? Even then you could get intotrouble if you're just publishing all the time and not checking in with yourfew teammates, right. A lot of this is about relationship. What is the 8thmost common mistake you see people make? So the eighth I would say is thatpeople get impatient. The organization, the head of thought leadership, othersaround and they go, oh, we set this function up three months ago. What havethey done? What have they accomplished? And they may have some early winds, butthe team needs time to get their feet underneath them and also be able toachieve the goals. Right? And so if you're talking about creating assetsand getting them out there, I encourage rapid prototyping. Always right test toget into market tested as fast as you can. But the big winds and resultswhere people go, Oh, now I see this works. If you're thinking on a 90 dayhorizon, you're being too impatient. You've got to think at least a year tolet the team find its way and to build those relationships and create thosewinds. And is that a year from like first publication of your first pieceor a year from when you actually start start thinking about it? Planning for?I would say it's a year from when you actually launch the team. Okay. Don'texpect that they're gonna be knocking home runs out of the park on day one,it may happen and that's a delight. But you have to think about standing thisup as a function for the long haul. And if you're thinking about this on a 90day trial, it's not gonna work. Most organizations that I've seen besuccessful with this have looked and said, this is a multi year commitmentand year number one, we're gonna go out, we're going to try stuff. Some thingswill succeed, some will fail. Look at that will set more specific goals inyear two and by year three we know what we're doing. We do have our lanes andwe've got our processes. Would you say you should probably commit to like a3-5 year commitment towards making this thing? It's kind of like, you reallyhave to think broad and big picture, which means it's like it's going totake a few years for this to become the full weight of what we want to see,what we might start to see some inklings of success about a year end,Right. It's a big picture thing, which is why going back to the earlier pointin the first point that I said, have no executive champion. You have to havesomeone on senior leadership whose patient enough and go, no, we'replanting seeds. This will pay off in big ways, but we don't expect them tobe successful next month because chances are thought leadership, youknow, it can create demand, it can create some more short term results.But really it's more of a branding play. Really, it's more of a positioning playto some degree where you're trying to position yourself as a leader in somerespect and your customers mind, right? Which takes, I don't know, it takes awhile for you to build that kind of reputation amongst your buyers,reputation and trust absolutely matter.

Also, it takes repetition because yourlistener rarely. We'll hear something once and go, oh yes, I 100% agree, I'mall in, right? You have to repeat an idea several times. So there's a timeperiod there. The way that I define felt leadership is you're lookingaround the corner into the future and you're looking to see what are therisks and opportunities and make sense of them. Then you bring thatinformation back to people today and say, here's what we see is coming andhere's what you should be doing to prepare, right? And you build trust bytelling them about the future, telling them what to do. They take the action.They go, wow, that paid off six or nine months later. Right? So there's a trustbuilding cycle. If you're in a transactional sort of relationship withyour customer, you don't have as much of the time to build trust. But a lotof B two B is relationship driven. An A. B. M driven, right? It's interesting, Iwas just talking to a Grant Butler yesterday and one of the interestingthings that stood out to me that he said was that if journalism is pastfocused thought, leadership is really future focused, you're not necessarilywriting the future, but you get so in that sense, you are, you're trying towrite the future. You're trying to say, hey, we should be going this way. Forwhatever reason, it might just be more effective, It might be better foreverybody involved if we go this way, you should go this way, What's the 9thmost common mistake? You see, you have to make it something that's inclusive.If you present thought leadership that's done by only a handful of elitepeople in the company or that it's something that is full reserved for avery few. It doesn't work where I've seen it be.Most successful is when that senior leader says, hey, we're going on ajourney and we all have to invest in the leadership. That doesn't mean allof us are writing or speaking. That doesn't mean all of us are posting, butwe have to be willing to talk about these ideas, engage our customers andspeak with one voice in thought leadership. And where I've seen it takemost success is when the organization says, yeah,this is partly everybody's responsibility rather than, oh, you dothought leadership. That means you're smarter than everybody else, Right?That's not the case, Honey, would you say it's company wide? Yeah, I wouldabsolutely say that. And I would say that a vast array of the ideas withinan organization are in the corners that people oftenoverlook. So I can think of a consumer packaged goods company where theyidentify thought leadership globally and they have hundreds of thousands ofemployees, right? one of their expertise is yeast and understand aGeest and you might guess is to sort of what industry they're in. But thosepeople in terms of brewing are absolutely critical for them and if youlose someone with that knowledge, not just as a subject matter expert, butthey retire and that knowledge isn't transferred to the next generation,that knowledge has walked out the door. I've certainly, I think there'sdifferent opinions on this particular. Some people are like, no, some peopleare very set on it being like the founder Ceo and staying in the C suite.I've seen groups, usually everybody's on the same page. You probably justshouldn't have one subject matter expert. That's the thought laterbecause if that person leaves or tragically disappears or something likethat, then you you put a little bit too much investment in just one face in oneperson. But I've not heard a lot of...

...people talk about unlocking the wholeorganization. I have heard of other people talking about it and that's kindof where I'm leaning personally is like, no, like everybody's got a littlesomething to offer. Some, of course, some haveway more to offer than others, but it almost seems like everybody has alittle piece of expertise, especially since they're kind of doing it fulltime, right? And working on your organization and working in thatparticular position that you're at in your industry, there's going to be alot they're especially collectively, if you can find it though, setting up thesystems and processes to get it out, there must be must be an interestingwork right there. And if you can identify and communicate within anorganization, here's the value I adheres my unique perspective, this iswhat I do that really helps the company shine. That's great for morale. Thatalso creates more and more differentiators when you're trying togo to market and it creates an environment where people want tocontribute their best thinking an effort rather than they see themselvesas Chicago a large machine. I like that, that's kind of where we're heading withsweet fish Media. It's just good to hear somebody else say it. So I'm notlike alone in my thinking, I'm like, I feel like everybody could be it, but Idon't know, it seems like that's not as popular as an opinion where most peopleare trying to make good, right? Trying to, most people are trying to select afew subject matter experts, you know, 34 of them. It depends on what sizethey are, but that's the more common route. Unless uh, I don't know, I guessorganizations like Mckinsey and Deloitte will often have multiplepeople submit to a journal of some kind. Well in professional services is anarea that has done this longer than many because if you're one of the bigconsultancies or if you're um working in programming and software and doingsolutions and that for your clients, you're selling the knowledge of yourpeople and the more that you can showcase your workforce as able tosolve smart problems, then you win more deals, right? That's a big win. Um, andI'm looking forward to rolling this out as we fished and see if we can kind ofreplicate their success that they've had. So the last one, I want to makesure we hit all tens, I promised all 10. Uh, the last one, what was the lastmistake that most companies make when trying to implement thought leadershipprograms? So the last one, I'll say simply the organization tries tomeasure success by the wrong standards. And so this is like pulling out ametric wrench when you need a standard wrench right and you're trying to turnit, but it doesn't work. And so the most common version of this mistake iswhen you start applying content marketing metrics to thought leadershipand you wind up rewarding and incentivizing the wrong results. Sowhat are those metrics that are commonly applied? And what are bettermetrics? So I'll start with what commonly gets applied. And oftensometimes I just have to say whoa, stop. So views impressions attendees atevents and conferences. And I had a conversation once with a client whosaid, Okay, we did this webinar and we had X,000 number of attendees. I said,great. Which of those attendees were the most important people that youneeded to reach to make this idea fly. And do you know who those people were?Were they watching? Were they engaged? And there was a moment of silenceinstead of looking at the aggregate attendees and saying a bigger number isbetter. It's if you're creating impact, some of your target audiences are ableto open doors more effectively for you be decision makers that can createimpact or achieve results. And if you...

...get to them and they buy in, then theidea goes further and faster at scale. So you talked about events, but whatare other metrics you can look at if you're not doing events at all? Is itkind of the same thing applied to podcasting? For example. Exactly. Youdon't know exactly who's listening unless you pay a ton. Recently, I didfind software that will tell you what companies are listening to your podcast,but it costs like 500 bucks a month. And I was like, well, and that's thedifficulty, right in podcasting. You look and you say, okay, I've put baitout there for people to listen to. Not only one are people listening, but thentwo are they the right people. And if you focus on the number of, how manydownloads did you have in a month? Right? It's a very squishy statsstatistic. It's like putting out a press release and going, oh, we hadthis much reach, Congratulations. But did you reach the right people? Okay.And so that's why you launched the conversation here and said, we do avery niche podcast on Thought Leadership, right? We consciously madethat choice to go niche rather than broad. And we said, These are thepeople we want to reach and were irrelevant to 99.99% of the world'spopulation where they shouldn't listen to us. They should go do something elsemore valuable with their time in life. But you want to be indispensable. Therelevant to that fraction of a percent of the world. Okay. I'll give you a fewpieces and these go into an IQ data rather than hard data, but there aregood, good example. So when we put out a podcast and we have people come backto us and say, I listened to your podcast and it sounded like you were inthe room talking to me and I was sitting with your guest and we werearound the table talking about issues I cared about that. You'd walked into myoffice. That's when you know you one because that person that you weretrying to reach is most likely a buyer and they were paying really closeattention. That's beautiful. And while we tend to take usually a slightlydifferent approach with our podcasting, I could certainly see the benefit ofcreating a very niche podcast. And at the end of the day, it's even somethingI'm still measuring though I usually counted a little bit more on linkedinwhere you can see exactly who's interacting with your comment, whoyou're engaging within comments. It's linked and it's like, I don't know whyif you're in B two B and you're not active on linkedin, I'm like, why?Because it gives you so much for information like everybody is on therewell, and Lincoln is great because you can see who's engaging with your ideaand do they fit the types of people that you want to reach? You canactually see if you're reaching the people because they're the ones in thecomments, right? Or you can just more easily go and find the people who areactive in your space, who you'd like to do business with and engage with themin their comments. It's kind of like start commenting with them and then allof a sudden they start showing up in yours. It's a beautiful thing. So Ilove that essentially. Uh you're measuring percentage reached on the keyaccounts that you want to do business with. Exactly. And you also measureimpact in different ways. So another example is if you're responsible forthought leadership for your executive team and they're meeting people inindustry and you're giving them a list of pull asides, for example, of here,the pull asides and the three minute conversations that you're going to havewhile you're at this event. Those conversations may not bear fruit in six months. Those are strategicdeals. Those are relationships that have to be nurtured. And so the initialthing is checklist. Did all those conversations happen? Yes or no. Great.Did we get a follow up on those conversations afterwards? Within acouple of weeks, you almost have to...

...think on a campaign level and say ifthis is moving forward, what evidence would I be seeing? Um, I know the evidence I'd be lookingfor is one consumption consumption would be number one afterthat. I'd be looking for how many people are like responding to it. Sousually depending on the medium, there's different ways where people canrespond and linked in its comments. But oftentimes people can just mention it.I usually just ask customers or new new prospects in the pipeline oh, where'dyou hear about us? Oh, we saw this, and then I read this, you know, they startto tell you themselves where they come. And I usually listen for like, oh, likewhat did they read before? Were they listening to the podcast where theyliterally just come off a linkedin. They don't even listen to our podcast,but we've been talking about it so much on linkedin, you know, um, what kindsof things did they read and what can be even based on the kind of questions orpoint of view they're coming with it? I can tell like what they've readrecently, all things that kind of measure the thought leadership or thestrength of the thought leadership content. Another good example is withthe podcast. If you have people who come to you and say, I've beenlistening to you for a year or whatever and it wasn't the right time for me tocome to you. But now it is all of a sudden you've closed your sales cyclefrom a year long where you were chasing someone where it wasn't the right bytime to they show up and they're ready to close the deal almost immediately.Man, this has been fantastic. And going through 10s, usually a lot for a listin a podcast, but it's been fun to kind of hear all these differentperspectives. I know I've gotten a lot of nuggets out of it, just eventhinking through like, oh, like sweet fish is a small Company compared topeople. I mean, we have 30 employees, some companies of, you know, hundreds,thousands, uh, some of the dynamics. So you might have to face if you're athought leader in those companies and I'm sure the audience has gotten quitea few nuggets out of it. I know I have, um, for my future, we're trying toimplement that leadership for sweet fish. I know you want to talk a littlebit about the Stevie Awards for Women in Business bill. So tell us a littlebit about that and why what the audience can do to go check that out.Yes. So one of the things that we recognized is thought leadership as anevolving function needs to recognize excellence. And so we partnered withthe Stevie Business Awards specifically for recognizing excellence and thoughtleadership and they do a series of eight different award programsinternational, uh, US Business Awards over the course of the year, thecategory that's just opened up as of the middle of May is for women inbusiness and recognizing thought leadership excellence and threecategories for women in business. One organizations that are doing anexcellent job of developing women as thought leadership practitioners andpromoting their ideas within and beyond the organization to excellence andthought leadership campaigns by and for women and then three excellence as bestfemale false leader for themselves and for their organization. There will beother categories going on. But we felt it was absolutely critical andessential to start really within the business space, recognizing the folkswho are day to day doing thought leadership and the excellent workthey're doing for their companies. That's great. So where there are placeswhere you can nominate women, um or did you go to Stevie Awards and you candownload a nomination packet. So if you think you fit one of these categoriesfor women in business, go to the Stevie Awards, download it and submit. Or ifyou know someone who fits this category and I encourage you because especiallywith women in thought leadership, women...

...have sometimes told themselves, knowwhat I'm doing, really isn't thought leadership for their my business orthey've had their colleagues say that's not thought leadership, You don't haveto speak that sort of thing. They've actually actively been dismissed. Ifyou know someone who fits this category, reach out to them say, hey, I knowyou're rocking it here and thought leadership, you're doing amazing work,Take a look at this. It's worth you seeing if you want to apply and we wantto celebrate the best work of thought leadership that's out there. That'sfantastic. I definitely have someone in mind somebody that interviewed for thispodcast and I was like, how do you not have a book on this topic? Or like Iwould have learned so much. So I'm like, I can already think of somebody that Icould, I want to right up and put in a nomination for them and then let themknow like, hey look, I've nominated you for this because you freakin earned itand somebody, somebody needed to like toot your horn for you, you know, SoI'm sure there's a number of people in the listening right now where you knowsomebody who deserves it who has been working undercover or is a brilliantthought leader and maybe it doesn't get recognized enough or gets recognized alot and still could use some more because they continue to do greatthings. They don't just rest on their laurels from long ago, they'recontinuing to push the envelope. So I recommend all the audience to go andcheck that out. Bill, this has been wonderful episode, learning from you,taking advantage of your years of wisdom that you've built, coaching somany thought leader practitioners through the craft of thought leadership.Um if people want to learn more from you, where can they go to find youonline? So the best place to find me is Thought Leadership leverages ourcompany. That's thought leadership leverage dot com or look for me onlinkedin. I use the personal hashtag or T L O R G T L and I'm Bill Sherman.Fantastic. Thanks again for joining me. I need to be growth. Thanks dan. Thishas been a joy at sweet fish. We're on a mission tocreate the most helpful content on the internet for every job function andindustry on the planet for the B two B marketing industry. This show is howwe're executing on that mission. If you know a marketing leader, that would bean awesome guest for this podcast, Shoot me a text message. Don't call mebecause I don't answer unknown numbers. But text me at 4074 and I know 33 to 8.Just shoot me. Their name may be a link to their linkedin profile, and I'd loveto check them out to see if we can get them on the show. Thanks a lot. Mm hmm.

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