I’ve spent a lot of time over the last 14 years talking to really smart executives about why they should be sharing their thought leadership through blog posts and LinkedIn articles. I think a short blog post can be one of the more powerful promotional tools that thought leaders have at their disposal.
One of the first questions I always get is, “But what should I write about?”
Not so long ago, I would have helped them start digging into all of the stories they had hiding in their company and their past experience as well as their opinions of current events and their unique visions for the future. For most executives, that proved to be overwhelming. You can’t ask a person to pick the perfect grain of sand and then drop a dump truck load on them.
I decided to find a simpler answer to the question: what should I write first?
After giving this question the thought it deserves, I have come up with five pieces of content that every executive should write. I encourage my clients to post them in the articles section of their LinkedIn profiles, making it easy to share this important information with anyone through a single link.
Story 1: In the beginning…your origin story.
While few of the people working in my industry today planned to end up here, they all got here somehow. This is their origin story and it’s important. The people you want to work with want to know how you ended up here in the first place.
Story 2: Why you are still here.
The next question that they will be asked is, “What made you stay?” For most of the executives I work with the answer has nothing to do with getting stuck in a rut. I work with my industry’s strongest leaders and they all found something here that made them want to stay. Telling that story is important.
Story 3: Describing your difference.
It’s important that every executive differentiate herself from her peers. If you don’t know what sets you apart, chances are no one else will be able to spot it either. Sometimes it’s easier to get this down on paper by working with a professional writer or outside facilitator, someone with an objective viewpoint. Ultimately, this will become one of your most important stories.
Story 4. Describing your mission.
Great leaders are not satisfied with the management of an organization. They are driven to grow it, to change it, to make it more than it was before. They do this through the thoughtful application of a mission targeted at a crystallized vision. Important for both internal and external audiences, this story explains to the world what you are doing here and how you define success.
Story 5. Your favorite success….so far.
Of the four critically important stories that every business must tell in order to succeed, two are focused on the company’s past successes. The first of these speaks to the company’s own view of its past wins. The second involves these stories retold in the voice of the customer. It’s important that the leader tell the success story that has had the most impact on her thus far.
These five stories together form the bedrock that business leadership is built upon. They are the foundation that the leader stands upon as she guides the company into the future. When your prospects read and understand these stories, they understand who you are and can make an informed decision about building a business relationship with your firm.
Co-Founder and COO at Content Beacon + President at RGA Public Relations