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

Episode 2070 · 3 months ago

Authentic Thought Leadership - Be the Real Deal People Respect

ABOUT THIS EPISODE

In this episode, Dan Sanchez outlines w hy he thinks the term "Thought Leader" has become so frowned upon and what authentic thought leadership can look like. 

To Dan, an Authentic Thought Leader is equal part expert, contributor, and authority on a niche topic. 

Yeah, welcome back to BBB growth. I'm danSanchez with Sweet fish media. And today it's just a solo episode Just me,the dance says. And I'm talking about thought leadership because we're stillin this deep dive in the beginning of june to explore all the facets andnuances of this thing called thought leadership marketing. Now I've beenworking on this for just about over a year now. I went and read all the bookson the topic. I've interviewed multiple people um who are experts in this topicalready for this deep dive. And over time I've developed a few ideas of myown and it's some of those ideas actually want to present in this deepdive as kind of a uh I don't want to call myself an expert because I'm stillvery much a student, I'm still trying to figure this out. But as I've readthrough um the topic, as I've had many dozens of conversations with otherpeople, other b two b marketers out there on linkedin and have kind of likeworked wrestled with it and experimented a little bit withcustomers at sweet fish media and our own our own marketing. I've started tocome to some realizations and I wanted to share those with you today. I wantto talk about the problem of thought leadership, right? And it's a prettyobvious problem if you ever talk about this topic, especially on any kind ofsocial network. Yeah you'll start to find out that there's a lot of peoplewho don't like it. People don't like the term thought leadership. Peoplethink all thought leaders are fakers. Um And that there's just it's just thebuzz word, it's just a term, it's just the thing people like to throw on theirbios that isn't real, it doesn't mean anything. And honestly I disagree withthem wholeheartedly and I'm gonna do a whole another episode that kind of goesinto the history um and why the history of thought leadership where it gotcoined, where it's been done before, why it deserves to be its own specificthing, whether you like the term or not. Um but that's not what this episode is.This episode is talking about um why there are so many bad players when itcomes to thought leadership, where all...

...the fakers come from and what actuallymakes for what I'm calling authentic thought leadership or what makes anauthentic thought leader. I find that there's actually three primaryingredients and if you miss one of these ingredients that explains whythought leadership has gotten such a bad name out there. Because let's behonest, we've all seen it, we've all seen the person proclaiming anddeclaring themselves to be a thought leader and well they're not and you canfeel it, it's actually quite obvious. You can tell that they don't know whatthey're talking about or that they're just arrogant, you know, I want to saya word but I'm just not going to say it and they don't actually care aboutpeople. Their, their ideas aren't really unique, they're not really thatuseful but they're really into it and they have massive blind spots, likethey just don't see their own issues or they're just there, okay, maybe they'reactually kind of thought leaders, but the fact that they're just declaringout in front of everybody, they're like, oh I'm, I thought leader, I've been inthe space for so long, you're like, dude, stop it, just stop, Nobody likesyou and you're losing you had some trust and you're now losing it, goodbye.Like we've all seen this happen over and over again on social media, on tedtalks on stage, at conferences in books. So now I want to talk about like, whatare the three ingredients to authentic thought leadership that I'm discoveringas I've been reading through and kind of exploring and thinking a lot aboutthis and what happens when you're just missing one or two or all three ofthese elements. So first, let's cover the elements of what I'm callingauthentic thought leadership that you have to, if you don't have any, if youdon't have all three of these, then you're not a real thought leader, right?Um, the first one is expertise, right? Kind of critical. You have to kind ofknow everything there is to know in your particular niche topic, whateverit is and the supporting areas, right? It's not enough to know everythingabout email marketing. If you're going to be a thought here around emailmarketing without knowing things about, you know, copyrighting and web designand just marketing, funnels and marketing automation, right? There's alot of related categories that you have...

...to not maybe be like the best, knoweverything there is to know about those things, which you have to be prettywell. And you have to know a lot about those topics in order to become a trueexpert on the topic of email marketing. Right? So that's step number one, youhave to be an expert. The second part of an authentic thought leader is youhave to be a contributor. You have to actually not just know everything thereis to know on the topic. You have to advance the topic. You have to push theboundaries to where it hasn't been before. You have to add new ideas, newresearch, new points of view, new ways of doing things that are not onlyunique. Like you invented it, you made it. You're the one who advanced it.They have to be useful, right? Because you can contribute things that are justkind of like nobody thinks that nobody cares about. Nobody asks for that. Itdoesn't solve any problems. Congratulations. You added a uniquecrypto coin to the market and there's nothing really unique about the cryptocoin. You just gave it a new name. Oh wait, does coin, Sorry? There's nothingreally unique about it, right? You have to actually contribute something that'sboth equally useful and unique and that's what it means to be acontributor. So you have to be an expert. You have to be a contributor.And lastly you have to be an authority. So many times I get pitched for peopleto come speak on this podcast that you're listening to right now and theyhave PhD So they're clearly experts on the topic And as a PhD, I know they'vedone unique and original research that may actually be complete, 100% uniqueand 100% helpful. It covers a real, a real problem. It's well researched andthey've taken the time, you know, stripped down the thesis, the bigdissertation and put it into a helpful book and now they want to talk abouttheir book on the podcast. The problem is, I've never heard of them. I don'tknow them, so I can't trust them. I don't really know whether their stuffis good or not because they're not an authority on the topic. So that's theproblem you run into is you have to...

...actually be an authority. And whileI'll do future podcast on how you can actually build your expertise, become acontributor and build your authority over time, you do have to build allthree and the steps to do so can be a little counterintuitive. But again,that's for another episode. Let's talk about what happens when you're not oneof these things, which is why I thought leadership gets such a bad rap, becausethere's so many unauthentic thought leaders. What happens when you are anexpert and you're a contributor, but you're not an authority, right? You'relike the ph D s I just mentioned, and that essentially just makes you unknownand by unknown, you're just not trusted. You have all the expertise, you knoweverything and you have the ideas and that's got to be a difficult positionto be in, luckily, you can take a lot of steps. That's probably of all of allthe three positions you can be in to be missing one of these, It's probably thebest because at least you've actually done due diligence and you actuallyhave something useful and you have, you have the goods. The problem is nobodyknows you, nobody trusts you, nobody likes you yet. And that's okay. That's,that's easy to fix. You need to become a marketer or hire someone who knowsgood marketing in order to Sprinkle your ideas out there to slowly buildthat trust. I mean, it would have been nice if you had started from day onethat way, but you haven't, that's okay. You can start building authoritiesslowly now. So that's what happens if you're missing authority. What happensif you are an expert and you're an authority, but you have no uniquecontributions or maybe you do, and they're just not useful. They're notunique. You know, they're just, we're not just, they're just notcontributions. Well then at worst, you're kind of a rip off because you'reripping off other people's ideas and kind of claiming them as your own. Atbest, I can call. You may be a public intellectual, you are an expert on thetopic and you have authority. So you're good at bringing critiques to otherpeople's ideas, you know? So that's at best. But generally what we're seeingout of the market when people are...

...declaring themselves thought leaders,which you should never do, by the way, even if you are an authentic thoughtleader, never call yourself a thought leader. It's just safer that way. Noneed to brag If you're if you're a thought leader, everybody knows it, noneed to say it. But most thought leaders are masquerading as if theyhave unique ideas and they're not so they're rip offs. And that's why Ithought leadership leaves a bad taste in people's mouths, right? Becausethey've actually well studied and the true, the good expert authorities, thepublic intellectuals will certainly let you know that actually those ideasaren't unique. They've come from other places and there's a fine line there,right? Because there's certainly, we all stand on the shoulders of giants.We've all taken and borrowed and stretched and done different thingswith different ideas. So there's really nothing unique under the sun, at leasttruly unique. But there are still, I think there are unique approach isunique. Ideas are unique ways of looking things that are unique enough,luckily, if you never call yourself a thought leader, you never really haveto play with defending it because you're not calling yourself one. Justtry to be helpful and useful to others. And it's not something that doesn'thave to be a problem. Now, if you're missing the last piece, this is wherethe most problem problems are created, right? And these are the worst kinds ofquote unquote thought leaders we ever see out there is if you arecontributing unique ideas and you are actually like, well known, but you'renot an expert. That's a huge problem, right? Those are what you callcharlatans. And by definition, a charlatan is a person falsely claimingto have special knowledge or special skill and is indeed a fraud. It's notokay to present your ideas with authority as if they've been wellresearched as if they've been tried and true without actually having theexpertise behind it. And expertise can come from a lot of different things,but generally people can tell really quickly, especially if they have alittle bit, even just a little bit of expertise in the category itself. Um,you're gonna get found out, unfortunately because some people areso good at marketing. Um, a lot of...

...people will buy into it. A lot ofpeople will buy the lie and by the rip off products, you know, if you're amarketer like me, you see all the cheap, like crazy ads that are running onYoutube and on facebook targeting entrepreneurs who want to make a quickbuck and they're like, hey, they're standing in front of Ferrari or makingfun of the people standing in front of Ferraris and claiming to say like, oh,drop shipping on amazon or this or that. They're pretending to be an authoritythere, pretending to have useful, original ideas, but they're not experts.They're like, they're like 21 years old, right? And it's not that 21 year oldscan't be experts. There are a lot of them, but generally you're like, uhjust puts a bad taste in your mouth, right? So we've all seen those people,Well we've all seen the unknowns, we've all seen the rip offs, we've all seenthe charlatans and that's why I thought leadership has a bad name. So let'schange that. Let's actually seek to become authentic thought leaders byslowly working on our expertise as we work on our expertise, finding andcontributing unique and useful ideas and slowly building authority allwithout ever proclaiming, being a thought leader. Shoot. I mean, ifyou're listening to this now, you're like dan, is that what you're trying todo with this deep dive in some ways. Yes. But also I'm also declaring like,dude, like I've only just started studying the subject um and I haveyears to go, but this is my intro to it. This is my first beginnings this year.The first ideas like all good thought leaders come from somewhere andespecially can do well if they come with a sense of humility. If they comewith a sense of just servant hood and helpfulness to help other people. Ihave enough people coming to me asking me uh help them with their podcast. Andone of the big motivations why they started a podcast is because they wantto position themselves as thought leaders. So it's actually from allthose questions that I've had, the desire to like learn how to coachpeople in this. And I still have a long way to go. So as I'm going, that's whyI'm interviewing all these practitioners to test ideas with andeven doing this episode now. Um I've...

...talked about this one at lengthmultiple times on linkedin now, so I think it resonates it rings true. Istill have some time to continue testing it with our internal Lincolnevangelist. We call them in our company and with customers to actually put outmore research that says that these are indeed the three key elements so far.It's looking good though. As I've talked to other thought leaders whohave been in this game longer than I have. As far as validating that theseare really the three critical elements. But this is just my, my findings so farand I'm presenting it to you. So hopefully this episode has been helpful.I have more solos, just like this one coming down of things that I found tobe true, things that I found to be helpful to me and I want to share themwith you. But I don't pretend to come with these as well researched wellbacked, like things that I've been experimenting with for 10 years andhave statistically validated with math and science ha um, no, they're not thatthese are just ideas that I'm roughly putting out. There is like, hey, theseare something findings I've had after my first year into this topic. Um, Ihave years to go and these are essentially a hypothesis. So take thatas it is and uh if you like it, run with it, play with it, make it your ownidea. If you so desire. Um, and if this has been helpful, please give us arating on your podcast app of choice that always helps us a ton. So thisshow gets found by more people and if you want to talk and connect with me onthis idea in particular, please find me on linkedin dot com slash I N slashdigital marketing dan would love to chat to you about authentic thoughtleadership or if maybe if I had some of these off, would love to hear aboutthose two. I'm still a student and I need as much help as I can get. Sothank you for listening. Mhm. Mhm. Mhm Gary V says it all the timeand we agree every company should think of themselves as a media company first,then whatever it is they actually do.

If you know this is true, but your teamis already maxed out and you can't produce any more content in house. Wecan help we produce podcasts for some of the most innovative BB brands in theworld and we also help them turn the content from the podcast and blog posts,micro videos and slide decks that work really well on linked in. If you wantto learn more, go to sweet fish media dot com slash launch or email Logan atsweet fish media dot com.

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