About Larry Bauer

Larry Bauer is a highly skilled, experienced writer who brings an extensive marketing background to his copywriting. You’ll notice from the questions he asks that Larry understands business, how companies get to market, and how to communicate to customers. His ability to think strategically, combined with an appealing, conversational writing style, makes his copy both reader-friendly and effective.

Posts by Larry Bauer:

Do’s and Don’ts of Postcards.

We once knew a youth soccer coach who was 10–0 in her first season and knew it was the coaching. Then she went 0–10 in her second season and knew it was the players. Consistent success depends upon bringing all the elements together. Here’s how to trounce the competition with your next postcard campaign.

Do

  • Grab attention with a bold headline—postcards have to work fast.
  • Focus on one big idea and one main point per card.
  • Emphasize what the recipient will get by taking the next step.
  • Include all the elements of a direct mail package in short form—letter, brochure and reply.
  • Use tracking identifiers to know what’s generating inquiries.
  • Include a strong, crystal clear call to action.
  • Make the card interactive with QR codes and other devices.
  • Use a personal message style over a display ad approach.
  • Increase the card size to 6” x 9” if possible—higher response rates and more marketing space usually justify the costs.
  • Approach your database work as carefully as you would any other mailing.

Don’t

  • Get spooked into ultra-short copy—the billboard notion is a myth.
  • Use technical words or jargon—this isn’t the place, if there ever is one.
  • Forget to include incentives for taking the next step.
  • Think that color and graphics will outperform personalized content—put them together for maximum results.
  • Try to make the sale on the postcard—they are multi-step marketing vehicles.
  • Use smaller than 8 pt. type anywhere on the postcard.
  • Neglect direct mail basics—get your lists, offer and creative right in that order of priority.
  • Accept any old paper—your stock selection is a visual element too.
  • Think that postcards are just for small companies—check your mailbox.
  • Settle for your office printer—ditto for “gang runs” unless elements like your logo color aren’t that critical.

By Larry Bauer

mb-2010-do-dont-v22bMissed Getting Your Copy of The Little Book of Marketing Do’s & Don’ts? Not to worry. We’ve made digital versions available via SlideShare. The Little Book of Marketing Do’s & Don’ts is a collection of the most viewed “Do’s & Don’ts” published by our MondoBeat newsletter including:

  • Taglines
  • Print Advertising
  • Referrals
  • Trade Shows
  • Corporate Brochures
  • Direct Mail
  • Thought Leadership
  • White Papers

Simply visit our SlideShare page to download your complimentary copy.

Lessons Learned from the Trenches of Social Media.

My colleague, Julia, had already plunged into social media with her successful SnarkyVegan blog. I, on the other hand, was a rookie and a skeptic at that. But as we strategized about ways to establish thought leadership for the agency, we decided that enewsletters, which would roll into blogs, would be a good starting point. The result was MondoBeat: Ideas to Improve Your Marketing Rhythm.

To say the least, one thing led to another. Strong reception to the enewsletter/blog began to pique our interest. Soon we were announcing new posts at our Twitter sites, and I began to wonder if there was any potential in our mostly dormant LinkedIn accounts.

So Julia and I got busy completing our profiles, linking feeds from our blog, posting slide presentations, connecting with colleagues and participating in groups. Along the way, I was invited to manage my college’s alumni group as well as another group. So I got to see “groups” from both the participant and manger perspectives.

What We Learned

Clearly social media is evolving and participants are evolving along with it. Here are three key findings from our experience:

1. Synergy Counts.

The more options we integrated into our social media goal of growing our thought leadership perception, the better we did. More people started to follow us on Twitter, and we connected with more and more people on LinkedIn. Both are significant drivers of readers to the blog, and LinkedIn is now our number one source of hits and page views.

Of course everyone always wants to know if you were able to monetize social media. That was not our goal—thought leadership was—but we did receive several inquiries about our services and made presentations as a result of our social media experiences.

Additionally:

  • Our customers are virtually all loyal readers of our enewsletters/blogs.
  • We found a capable subcontractor through a renewed contact made on LinkedIn and used the individual on a project.
  • The enewsletter/blog grew to the point that we are now considering offering sole sponsorship opportunities for each issue (you’ll eventually be able to judge that success for yourself).
  • We are now more knowledgeable, empathetic social media advisors to our clients—you know the old adage about the best doctor being the one who just got out of the hospital.

2. Participation Counts.

If you want to benefit from social media, you have to be willing to participate on a consistent, frequent basis. You also need to be willing to learn the rules of social media so that your participation helps, not hurts your business. And you need to set your internal social media goals and appoint someone to coordinate your social media team.

In addition to getting some professional advice, we recommend taking one of the many good social media classes available. Some even offer social media certifications. The more skillfully you employ social media, the better the results.

3. Participation Takes Time.

Don’t get caught up in the notion that social media is free. It will definitely cost you time, a valuable commodity in today’s downsized companies. We easily spend an hour to an hour-and-a-half per day on social media, and that excludes writing our enewsletter/blog posts. You may be able to—and probably should—share some of the responsibilities, but don’t start if you’re not willing to commit the time. As a point of reference, many large companies now have one or more people on staff who do nothing but monitor social media.

Finally, remember that social media is primarily for relationship and thought leadership building. It should be part of your marketing plan, but continue to leave the heavy lifting to postal mail, email, print advertising and marketing media better suited to directly generating sales and ROI.

By Larry Bauer

Want Expert Advice?

MondoVox Creative Group can help you with social media strategy through program deployment. For more information, email Julia Moran Martz.

You can connect with Julia Moran Martz on LinkedIn. Or follow her on Twitter.

Do’s and Don’ts of Social Media.

Social media participation requires your time, but it needs to be quality time. Otherwise, you can cause more harm than good. Use these tips to create relationships and thought leadership that will help build your business.

Do

  • Set a social media strategy—outline what you want to accomplish and how it is going to happen.
  • Get some formal training—you need to know everything from the tools available to social media etiquette.
  • Appoint someone to direct and monitor your efforts.
  • Learn how your respected competitors are tapping social media—research them in the major search engines.
  • Create blogs, enewsletters and other articles on your sites to bolster the number of keywords and increase your search rankings.
  • Keep taking your social media to higher levels—provide richer content, etc.
  • Remember that social media is about earning attention.
  • Help, teach, guide and be tolerant with people new to social media—keep learning yourself.
  • Get in sync with your audience.
  • Be transparent, genuine and real about you and your company.
  • Spend at least as much time listening as you do broadcasting.
  • Find creative ways to use social media with print—maybe you’re a restaurant chain that could Tweet daily lunch or dinner specials on Twitter.

Don’t

  • View social media as simply a place to hype your wares—unlearn some of your traditional marketing habits.
  • Underestimate the power of video in social media.
  • Be naïve about the time commitment to do social media right.
  • Forget that cheaters never win—trying to game the system will eventually get you busted.
  • Neglect to measure—it’s the only way to know if you’re achieving your goals.
  • Get upset about losing followers unless they’re the people you really want to target—then figure out why you’re losing them and adjust.
  • Be thin skinned or take everything that happens in your social media experience personally.
  • Think you will ever know everything about social media—it turns on a dime.
  • Participate on an inconsistent basis—frequency definitely matters in building a following.
  • Fail to add value—people won’t spend their time if they don’t receive something worthwhile in return.
  • Disrespect the community—treat others the way you want to be treated.
  • Forget to enjoy your social media experience.

MondoVox® Creative Group Client Wins Marketing Award. MondoVox® Creative Group recently created an award-winning campaign for Ripon Printers (Ripon, WI), a leading printer of catalogs, publications, manuals and soft-cover educational products. The company received the prestigious National Association for Printing Leadership (NAPL) Marketing Plus™ Award. This competition acknowledges and recognizes those printing companies that have created and produced successful marketing campaigns and collateral for the self-promotion of their companies.

Ripon Printers was the sole recipient of the Gold Award in the Vertical Markets category. Entries consisted of campaigns to promote company core competencies and services specifically relevant to identified vertical markets and positioning the company as an effective market leader in these market segments.

To read the complete release, including examples of the multichannel campaign components, please visit MondoVox News.

By Larry Bauer

Webinars as Lead-generating, Thought-leadership Tools.

For those less electronically initiated, a webinar is an online virtual event that typically includes a small number of presenters delivering a slide presentation to a dispersed audience over the Internet. Participants view the webinar from their computer desktops and hear the audio through their speakers or over a telephone line.
Using an outside webinar delivery platform makes sense for most companies. Many of these systems offer interactive capabilities such as:

  • Live chat.
  • Question and answer boxes.
  • Audience polls and surveys.
  • Virtual white boards.
  • Desktop application sharing.
  • And a number of other options.

They also generally offer customizable registration materials as well as tracking, automated reminders and post-production reports. Providers typically support popular programs such as Microsoft Word, Excel and PowerPoint. Some can provide event management services for an additional fee.

So How Much Do Webinar Services Cost?

Actual delivery costs vary, but most license agreements are fairly modest. For example, GoToWebinar, one of the more popular delivery systems, offers flat-fee pricing that allows you to conduct unlimited Webinars for one rate. You can purchase a standard, single-user license online for $99 per month or $948 per year. There are no additional licensing costs for attendees to join.

Are Webinars Better Than In-person Events?

They are two different animals, each with its own set of pluses and minuses. The big advantage of webinars, especially with strained budgets, is the low cost to reach an audience anywhere in the world. In many ways, the cost structure helps to level playing fields among small and large companies, just as digital communications do in many other marketing activities.

Webinars are also:

  • Convenient and cost-effective for participants who don’t have to travel—distance becomes a non-factor.
  • Convenient for presenters who can be at multiple locations and likewise avoid travel.
  • Capable of bringing valuable information quickly to market.
  • Efficient at speeding the sales cycle with proper follow up.

Some of the drawbacks include:

  • More competition than for in-person seminar events.
  • Less interaction with participants.
  • Limited flexibility to change presentation order and flow.
  • Restrictions on managing questions.
  • Technology dependence to the ultimate degree.

In both types of events, you need to have a relatively large universe of qualified prospects. The general guideline for webinars is that approximately 5 percent of those invited will register and half of those will not attend. Some, however, will view the on-demand, archived version later.

Do Decision Makers Like Webinars?

Studies and my personal experience say they do. According to a white paper by Ridge Business Development LLC, The Benefits and Pitfalls of Webinars, people like the idea of learning about products and services without having to deal with a salesperson.

The white paper also points to a recent survey by Gartner indicating that 86 percent of respondents will view as many or more webinars this year as last. And a survey by PR Canada similarly indicates that only 7 percent found webinars a waste of time, while 86 percent fount them convenient and 66 percent found them time effective.

What If We’re Not Ready to Sponsor a Webinar Ourselves?

Many trade publications and associations offer webinar sponsorship opportunities that enable you to test the medium with varying degrees of participation. For example, you might strictly serve as the sponsor. But you also might be able to suggest topics, give input on selection of the featured presenter, provide qualifying and polling questions and perhaps even deliver part of the presentation if you choose.

You’ll typically get a banner ad at the registration site, inclusion in all of the promotional efforts and, of course, mentioned as the sponsor during the webinar. Additionally, you’ll virtually always get access to the registrant list for follow up.

This all comes at a price, of course, and $10,000 to $30,000 isn’t unusual. But a strong publication or association might also draw participants that you wouldn’t attract on your own, and it greatly reduces your time investment. Plus, it’s a good way to get started.

By Larry Bauer

Want Expert Advice?

MondoVox Creative Group can help you create content, develop professional webinar presentations and effectively promote the event in multiple media. For more information, email Julia Moran Martz.

You can connect with Julia Moran Martz on LinkedIn. Or follow her on Twitter.

Do’s and Don’ts of Webinars.

Webinars are inexpensive compared to face-to-face meetings. But like email and other low-cost electronic options, easy entry often lures ill-prepared companies into the arena. Use these tips to create and present webinars that will meet your audience’s highest expectations.

Do

  • Select your topics and presenters carefully.
  • Evaluate your internal capabilities objectively—outsource when needed.
  • Keep your presentation to one hour or less—including Q&A.
  • Start and end the webinar on time.
  • Seed questions to ensure covering important points and to encourage participation.
  • Learn to take advantage of the technology options—drawing tools, polling surveys, etc.
  • Promote your webinar beyond a homepage blurb—use email, direct mail, banner ads, social media, etc.
  • Be wary of using a wireless connection by a presenter.
  • Consider having a few friendly faces in the presentation room—presenters benefit from seeing reactions and playing off the “audience.”
  • Use professionally created slides—be sure to review outside presenter’s slides and be prepared to offer assistance.
  • Develop a lead follow-up plan—demand accountability from the sales team.
  • Record and archive your webinar—many executives appreciate and use the on-demand option.
  • Explore opportunities to generate passive income—selling a recorded series as a set, for example.
  • Rehearse and then rehearse again.

Don’t

  • Use inexperienced presenters as featured speakers—give them a smaller role until they get a few webinars under their belts.
  • Underestimate the investment of time to pull off a professional presentation.
  • Use webinars for target audiences that may not be tech savvy.
  • Dismiss the value of a good moderator to the webinar’s success.
  • Think that webinars will completely replace the need for face-to-face contact.
  • Assume that webinar leads are conversion ready—they are more likely in the exploratory stage and will require further nurturing.
  • Fail to add qualified attendees to your marketing database.
  • Forget to invite your customers to webinars.
  • Use an unproven webinar delivery platform provider—they are not all created equal.
  • Overburden the moderator with the technology requirements—consider a person for each role.
  • Fail to follow up with registrants who don’t attend the webinar.
  • Overlook the value of a webinar as a training tool for your own people.
  • Forget to continue promoting your recorded webinar.
  • Neglect to collect some qualifying information at registration—use checklists and limit the number of questions to three or four.

Pick a Strong Webinar Delivery Platform Provider. The last thing you want is unreliable technology and support when you’re doing a webinar. You look bad and people abandon the event. We really don’t have favorites, and you may uncover a great provider on your own, but we suggest at least looking into these proven companies:

For more information, email Julia Moran Martz.

By Larry Bauer

2010’s Top Ten Marketing Career Resolutions.

  1. elVies-200Eat lunch with others—share a meal with colleagues. Eating alone at your desk might seem productive, but it won’t expand your career-advancing network. Make good use of the lunch hour with people inside and outside your organization.
  2. Seek high-profit areas—low-margins equal dead ends. Most of the praise and promotions go to people who work in high profit areas of companies. Learn the high performing (and high potential) parts of your business. Focus on getting a position in one of those areas.
  3. Develop your elevator speech—your brand travels by word-of-mouth. Decide what you would want people to know about you in a sentence or two. Maybe it’s that you have an MBA from a prestigious school or an in-demand skill. What makes you different in a positive way?
  4. Be the answer—figure out how to get things done. Your boss has enough on his or her plate without having to walk you through solutions. If you get an assignment, find a way to deliver the right response without wasting your boss’s time.
  5. Make the big play—assume some risk. Playing it safe won’t likely take you very far. You don’t need to constantly put yourself out on a limb, but you do need to be an aggressive change agent. In the end, it’s really the only way that you and your organization will prosper.
  6. Loosen the reins—recognize others’ skills and potential. Being a control freak won’t help you develop the strong people you need around you. Set goals and provide resources as well as reasonable oversight, but give others the freedom to find their own way of accomplishing it.
  7. Play to your strengths—get in the right seat on the bus. You always want to be open to learning new skills, but you also need to understand what you really love to do and what you’re really good at doing. The faster you identify this, the more quickly your career will advance.
  8. Learn to measure—metrics will get you everywhere. Like it or not, senior executives are increasingly demanding marketing metrics. Don’t abandon creative thinking or softer measurements like customer feedback, but also make a point to improve your analytic proficiency.
  9. Know the right people—invest your limited time wisely. Right or wrong, whom you know means a lot. Choose people who are successful themselves, appreciate your accomplishments, demonstrate a sincere interest in you and have a strong circle of influence that would benefit your career.
  10. Have some fun—lighten up now and then. There’s some truth to the “all work and no play” adage. You certainly don’t want to be the office clown, but finding humor in situations and being an enjoyable colleague will make you and everyone around you happier and more productive.

mb-2010-do-dont-v22bSuccessful Marketing Campaigns Won’t Hurt Either.

To help you along, we recently published a series of tip books titled The Little Book of Marketing Do’s & Don’ts. It’s a collection of the most viewed “Do’s & Don’ts” published by our MondoBeat newsletter. We’ve made digital versions available via SlideShare, topics include:

  • Taglines
  • Print Advertising
  • Referrals
  • Trade Shows
  • Corporate Brochures
  • Direct Mail
  • Thought Leadership
  • White Papers

Simply visit our SlideShare page to download your complimentary copy.

White Papers As Thought Leadership Tools.

bernieBubo-250White papers got their start in the government sector as reports outlining policy or offering authoritative commentary on a major issue. The origins of the term date back to early 20th century England, where it referenced brief research reports used by the British Parliament.

White papers were short government reports in comparison to longer, more detailed documents that were bound in blue covers and referred to as “blue books.” Since the shorter government publications were bound in the same white paper as the text inside, they took on the term “white papers.” When the use of white papers became standard practice during this time period, the term became associated with a document having a high level of importance.

White Papers Today.

White papers are now part of the corporate world. Klariti, an Ireland-based technical writing firm, offers this definition, “White papers discuss a specific business issue, product or competitive situation. In many cases, they summarize information about a topic; for example, the results of a survey or study and then suggest a proposal for action, with the research data providing the justification for the action.”

Why They Work.

Business people are increasingly searching for quality content. Studies show that company decision makers often use white papers as their initial external information source. White papers are an effective medium capable of educating, informing and influencing your targeted customers and prospects. Done properly, a white paper serves as reinforcement for preferring your company to the competition.

Consider these statistics noted by Senior Reporter Sean Donahue of SherpaBlog:

  • In 2008, 44 percent of business prospects said they were reading white papers more often than in the past. That’s an increase from the 39 percent who said in 2007 they were reading white papers more often.
  • More than 50 percent of business decision-makers and influencers said they read two to five white papers per quarter.

White papers can serve as excellent relationship starters followed by other thought leadership events such as invitations to webinars, podcasts and conference presentations. They also have terrific pass-along capabilities that tend to cross departmental borders as internal groups collaborate on business initiatives.

Elissa Miller, a senior marketing consultant for Hoffman Marketing Communications, a business and technology writing company, points out that “publishing white papers at third-party information sites such as Bitpipe.com [geared toward IT professionals] generates goodwill and ‘mindshare’ by making research and analysis widely available. In addition, it drives interested prospects to the company, prospects that might not otherwise have known that such an offering existed.”

Why They Don’t Work.

Corporate-sponsored white papers are strategic marketing documents. But that is also frequently the root cause of a white paper’s downfall. It’s fine to carefully weave in positive points for your company through techniques such as case studies, but white papers unravel when sponsors lose objectivity. Most readers will quickly see through marketing propaganda disguised as legitimate research.

Further, many white papers provide an inadequate balance of technical details and the larger business context they address. They sometimes lack a compelling persuasiveness that helps people understand complex issues and how they can apply a solution.

Finally, a lot of marketing types shy away from white papers thinking that their other collateral, from brochures to product sheets, serve the same purpose. If they do get involved, they frequently fail to realize that white papers are unique communication vehicles that not only fill an important gap, but also require writing skills different from marketing communications and even technical writing.

To White Or Not to White.

The evidence is clear that white papers are highly effective thought leadership tools that do not require a huge monetary investment but do require handling with care. You’ll have the most success if you choose the writer carefully, and then develop the white paper through a collaborative process between the writer/researcher and your internal subject matter experts. The entire experience provides an opportunity to delve more deeply into important topics and can be a stimulating professional experience for everyone involved.

By Larry Bauer

Want Expert Advice?

MondoVox Creative Group can help you develop white papers and other components of an effective thought leadership strategy. For more information, email Julia Moran Martz.

You can connect with Julia Moran Martz on LinkedIn. Or follow her on Twitter.

Do’s and Don’ts of White Papers.

vernVulpes-250White papers aren’t particularly expensive to create, but that doesn’t mean anyone can just slap one together. They take some careful planning and decision-making to serve as true thought leadership builders. Here’s how to get your white papers off on the right foot.

Do

  • Know your audience and focus on their interests.
  • Identify problems and concerns and provide a solution.
  • Understand that people with different responsibilities view the same problem differently—accounting vs. sales vs. technical people.
  • Think of your audience as a group of investors.
  • Attract interest immediately or risk losing the reader.
  • Assume that your reader is new to the topic.
  • Tell people what you’re going to tell them; tell them; and then tell them what you told them.
  • Subtly and carefully craft your own message into the white paper—case studies and customer quotes are a good approach.
  • Include an executive summary—many people will only read this portion or read it first.
  • Use compelling graphics to reinforce your message—charts, diagrams, illustrations, etc.
  • Adopt a conversational style that includes the word “you”—no one wants to read a term paper.
  • Let your first draft sit for a few days before you begin editing—you’d be surprised how much a little distance can help.
  • Identify key words for Web-hosted white papers before you begin and use them in your white paper.
  • Edit, edit and edit again.

Don’t

  • Make your white paper self-serving—no one wants to read dull details about your product or service.
  • Forget to read a few white papers in your field—you’ll get a quick sense of the good, the bad and the downright ugly.
  • Attempt to write the white paper yourself if you don’t have the depth of knowledge or the writing skills.
  • Overwhelm your audience with techspeak and acronyms—offer clear definitions when you do use technical terms.
  • Get lost in theory and forget to provide real world, supportive examples.
  • Neglect to include a brief About Us section at the end—include telephone and email contact information.
  • Task technical people with the writing assignment—make them information sources and members of the editing team instead.
  • Make the white paper too long (6-10 pages are about right, but they could be as short as 1-2 pages—break longer topics into multiple publications).
  • Write a user’s manual if your white paper is addressing a product or technology solution.
  • Skimp on the promotional side—use news releases, email, postcards, social media, etc. to promote your latest white paper.
  • Shortchange the introduction, conclusion and executive summary.
  • Hesitate to use eye-popping color to attract attention and encourage readership.
  • Neglect the title or the look and feel of the white paper—they are two of the key drivers of readership.
  • Forget to ask yourself what action you want people to take upon reading your white paper.

White Papers Play Well With E-newsletters. Sending an e-newsletter highlighting your white paper and offering a free download from your website or a landing page is effective. MondoVox Creative Group can write and design both your white paper and newsletter, create a landing page and broadcast the message through our MailVox system. You’ll get all the reporting you need right from your desktop, to say nothing of the benefits of working with an experienced single source.

For more information, email Julia Moran Martz.

By Larry Bauer

Fundamentals of Thought Leadership.

cogiTo-250We all want the same thing as marketers: to establish our company as a trusted adviser, so when a prospect is ready to buy, he or she will think of us first. Part of this we accomplish through traditional marketing communications, but integrating thought-leadership content is also essential to reaching our goals.

Further, it is altogether possible—and terribly important—to differentiate your company by the way it thinks and not just by the products and services it offers. Building your business today is as much about being ahead-of-the-curve as it is about the four P’s of price, product, place and promotion.

Thought leadership is all about building reputation. Consider what Brian Carroll, the influential blogger, author and lead generation guru had to say in a RainToday.com interview: “I found that when you’re selling something that is more complex and intangible, reputation is more important than your brand, because your reputation causes people to make conclusions about your brand. Questions in people’s minds are, ‘Have you done this before’?, ‘Have you helped companies like me’?, ‘Can you do it’”?

Size Really Doesn’t Matter.

You’re dead wrong (and probably dead in the water) if you think thought leadership belongs to the big players. So whatever you do, don’t dismiss your company’s thought leadership potential based on size. Here are four good reasons why:

  1. Thought leadership is more time intensive than dollar intensive.
  2. Being quick, nimble and aggressive is a big advantage.
  3. New channels make it easier than ever to connect your thought leadership messages directly to your targeted audience.
  4. Not every idea has to be original. You can also develop thought leadership by advancing and establishing emerging ideas.

What’s more, when your company establishes thought leadership, you level the playing field. People seek your company out when they have problems. It’s the number of cells in your corporate brain, not the number of employees on your payroll that counts.

Start With Customer Education.

If you’re still lacking confidence about climbing into the thought leadership ring, start by establishing a really good customer education program. One of our smallest customers has done a great job for years by presenting live seminars on timely topics with a follow-up print newsletter that offers additional insights. In between, they offer informative e-newsletter blasts on a variety of subjects with links to more information.

One of the keys to any successful customer education program is the timeliness of the content. Look for gaps in your customer’s knowledge that your competitors aren’t addressing. For example, another one of our customers made a big hit by publishing a white paper that discussed design trends in a segment the company serves.

They also establish a lot of credibility by publishing newsletters and white papers on industry-sensitive issues while offering a fair and balanced approach. Too risky? The issues don’t go away because a company chooses to ignore them. And their customers go elsewhere for information and ideas, thus ending the dialog.

We had another company secure a speaking engagement at a major trade conference by carefully matching its content to typically underserved segments. In this case, it involved a presentation geared toward smaller players and startups, which played right into the company’s strengths and flew under the radar of big competitors seeking audiences of big potential customers.

Be Strategic.

The worst (dare I say dumbest) thing you can do is to try establishing thought leadership with a haphazard approach. You and your team must carefully research your markets and identify your opportunities. If you have a great topic but lack the time or internal expertise, hire it out.

And don’t forget to develop a multi-channel distribution plan. Take a simple white paper, for example, which could be:

  • Announced to the media through a traditional news release.
  • Tweeted to your followers.
  • Announced at business social networks such as LinkedIn, both on your company profile page and through group discussion posts.
  • Linked from a company newsletter, blog or e-newsletter.
  • Used in sales presentations.
  • Presented at industry gatherings or your own customer event.
  • Posted at your company website.
  • Converted to a PowerPoint presentation and offered through SlideShare Presentations.

By Larry Bauer

Want Expert Advice?

MondoVox Creative Group can help you develop an effective thought leadership strategy and provide tactical execution. For more information, email Julia Moran Martz.

You can connect with Julia Moran Martz on LinkedIn. Or follow her on Twitter.

Do’s and Don’ts of Thought Leadership Building.

erGo-250Being known as an authoritative resource is powerful in today’s marketplace. The more recognition your company gets, the more powerful it becomes. With so much at stake, it pays not to make missteps in the thought leadership arena. Here’s how to get your strategy off on the right foot.

Do

  • Establish goals you can reach—then move on to bigger things.
  • Immerse yourself in your professional domain.
  • Look for topics that your competition misses.
  • Encourage thought leadership development among your staff—thought leadership isn’t a one-person show.
  • Search for new things to say and add value through what you offer.
  • Be willing to risk rejection in the interests of finding better ways to do things—admit if you’re wrong.
  • Keep customer needs at heart—thought leadership shares the selfless characteristics of servant leadership.
  • Employ leadership vision—point toward a new future or a change in direction.
  • Deliver thought-leadership messaging that is actionable.
  • Ensure that ideas are relevant to your peer base—know your audience.
  • Present solutions grounded in experience.
  • Invest in good research.
  • Make your content actionable.
  • Be fair and balanced in your presentations

Don’t

  • Confuse being a thought leader with being a pundit.
  • Forget that you need to earn the trust of your audience.
  • Lose patience—your company won’t establish instant thought-leadership status.
  • Fear being a little controversial if you’re making a bold projection—just back up what you’re saying.
  • Use a voice that doesn’t match your company’s personality.
  • Fail to communicate thought leadership through multiple media—newsletters, by-lined articles, blogs, social media networks, webinars, symposiums, panels, white papers, case studies, surveys, research studies, speaking engagements and road shows.
  • Neglect to seek an outside perspective before publishing any thought leadership piece.
  • Trip customers’ “BS” meters with your content—demonstrate your desire to help them by being authentic, genuine, generous and accessible.
  • Obsess about giving away too much information—you’ll get more benefit from leveraging your knowledge than trying to hoard it in today’s fast-moving markets.
  • Make thought leadership purely a marketing responsibility.
  • Forget that thought leadership still needs to be part of a larger marketing strategy.
  • Get sucked into believing that thought leadership requires being big—quickness and agility can be huge advantages.

Be a Vertical Market Star. Becoming a thought leader doesn’t require being recognized when you walk down the street. The idea is to become a household word within your narrow business domain. Pick your audience and become famous there. And while being labeled the “rock star of nutraceuticals” might not seem all that glamorous, it can make a lot of money for you and your company.

Source: Larry Chase’s Web Digest for Marketers

By Larry Bauer