Advertising Agency to Branded Thought Leader
aimClear is approached by traditional advertising agencies, often with rich history and too-often in stagnation or slight decline, seeking advice for growing online reputation as experts. Whether marketing regionally or nationally, it’s seriously powerful stuff to be perceived as an expert.
Though at least somewhat multi-faceted, many agencies have more experience in certain categories. Examples include health care marketing, travel, b2b, retail package design, education, web design, video production, outdoor products, etc… Your agency’s historical specialty is natural territory to stake out for thought-leadership.
There’s no secret sauce whatsoever. Successes stem from actually being an authority, a devoted willingness to share and a fanatical drive to build community by unselfish participation. There are no shortcuts.
Your website is a publication, not a brochure. Get ready to work incredibly hard, because this assignment is no less than becoming the definitive publication in your area of expertise. Having several thousand or more followers in any tight niche is an extremely powerful tool.
A website becomes a publication when the publisher (that’s you) holds content creation and scheduled release thereof, completely sacred- for months or even years. To pull off reflecting your inner thought leadership to the web, you’ll be posting content a minimum of 3 days per week until further notice. Half measures will avail you none.
Commit to daily category research for study and rebroadcast. Hands down the best way to become a go-to resource for readers who might become customers, is to have the edge of always being fully current.
This is not an endeavor to be taken lightly or relegated for 9-5 treatment. Start by making a list of dozens or even hundreds of definitive blogs, posts and authors to follow and share. The research serves double duty: keeping your knowledge totally current and caching great material to share with others.
Identify channels with obvious ROI for networking, sharing and essential learning opportunities. Learn the vernacular by weeks of consumption and lurking. When ready participate, share what you know and rebroadcast content you’ve uncovered. Let the friend making begin! Next week in part 2 of this post, we’ll share specific tactics to identify conversations, relevant to your expertise, in networking channels.
Spend any significant time on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Digg, Reddit, Delicious, StumbleUpon or hundreds of topically specific communities and you’ll note a common pattern. Users don’t just talk about personal items. They share content with the group in exchange for receiving reciprocal recommendations.
He/she who brings most useful and stimulating content to the dialog wins.
This is where your daily research comes in because that’s the content you share! Exchanging information is the foundation for socio-professional networking. Learn to walk the walk in order to gain respect as a leader in your space.
Give to others unconditionally (until it hurts) and then give some more. At the end of the day true thought leadership is about keeping up to the minute, as regards industry dirt, and having the depth/persona to add extra value by extrapolation.
Publish properly by recurrent content disseminated by feeds and advised by best SEO practices. WordPress is a terrific publishing platform choice and is open source so it won’t break the bank.
There are a number terrific of” how-to-blog blogs” out there so there’s no need to reinvent the wheel. Check out ProBlogger, CopyBlogger, TopRank and early SEOmoz for classic tactics to serve, delight, bait and engage users in community building tactics.
I’ve been in the advertising business in one capacity or another for the better part of 20 years. Without question the most versatile, hardest working, sharpest and committed bunch I’ve ever witnessed is made up of professional business bloggers. Feed based publication killed the newspaper God. Capture a bit of the mojo for your enterprise.
Share proprietary thinking and processes. Our company’s philosophy is built on the principle that anyone who’s really capable of competing with us will figure out what to do anyway without our help.
Therefore we might as well empower, inspire followers and have them ask us to be friends. Today’s follower is tomorrow’s customer, employee, vendor, fellow conference speaker and friend. Our blog’s readers bring us cool clients, job and friends.
Confident bloggers link to complimentary and non competitive resources in order to serve readerships. Power bloggers link to their competition. That said, don’t give away the store. Todd Malicoat told us, in a 2007 interview, “teach people to fish without giving away the fish bucket.” The Tao of unconditional sharing without sharing too much, is an acquired wisdom.
Brand by exclusion to stake out a niche’ that’s totally yours. If ever there was a time to shed the jack of all trades identity, this is it. Keep in mind that branding has as much to do with specialties excluded from the package.The old adage is that a clothing line specializing in northern, southern, eastern and western wear, is much harder to brand than only northern wear.
When I started aimClear, I made a decision to retire from my life-long personal and career passion: music. It helps that I love the online marketing industry as much as I do music, but the decision was deeply emotional. Measure focus by what you’re willing to give up. The returns can be incredible.
Evolve: The Ad Agency to Thought Leader
Be an actual authority by committing to research. Identify worthy channels, as indicated by possible return, for unconditional giving in your niche’. Publish properly, keep SEO in mind and spend time reading bloggers who are adept at inciting engagement by technique.
Don’t be afraid to really share valuable insight for readers. Exclude peripheral skills from your brand in order to achieve focus, or at least create the perception thereof. Above all get ready to some incredibly hard work along with the reciprocal return.