Using Thought Leadership to Make Your Organization Appear Larger Than Life

Feb 12, 2020

Throughout my career, whenever I have done a SWOT (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, threats) analysis with a health IT startup one of the most common weaknesses or threats their executives offer is the small size of their organizations. They may have the greatest innovation in healthcare since the Xray, but they fear it’s going to be difficult to get cost-conscious providers or payers to implement the technology or even listen to their pitch when it comes from an organization they don’t know.

Of course, that problem isn’t limited to health IT. It’s common across most industries. Unless an organization is in that 2.5% of all companies that Geoffrey Moore classified as “innovators,” or maybe the 13.5% that are “early adopters,” most organizations are too risk-averse to try a new product or service from an unknown entity.

So what’s the solution? Stop being an unknown. That’s where a thought leadership campaign can be a difference-maker.

In my latest post for the Forbes Agency Council, I explain how thought leadership can take a small organization and, following the advice of Chinese general Sun Tzu, make it look larger than life. Here’s a quick excerpt:

“You can use this to your advantage by engaging in an organized, consistent thought leadership program that shares that knowledge and helps you get prospects and customers aligned with your way of thinking. Once they believe in what you’re saying, you can guide the conversation more effectively and negate your competitors’ bigger marketing budgets. When you do that through earned media, such as media interviews or bylined articles that are accepted for publication, rather than paying for advertising or content, your thought leadership will carry even more weight and can have a halo effect.”

The post then covers five keys to taking advantage of this strategy, including:

  1. Offer different types of content. This is especially important if your media universe is small. The more different types of content you can offer (articles, infographics, eBooks, etc.) the more tools you have to reach an audience.
  2. Know things that others don’t (or at least don’t share). No one wants to hear the same old ideas being hashed out. Most businesses are started, and products are introduced, because there is a belief that there has to be a better way to do something than what currently exists. Share those ideas with others.
  3. Be controversial. This is especially true these days, in the era of social media when it seems like everyone is up in arms over everything. Taking strong stands instead of playing it safe and bland generally moves you to the front of the line in the media’s eyes.
  4. Make the content understandable. People won’t buy what they don’t understand. Keep explanations in thought leadership pieces simple and you will have a much better chance of reaching a broader audience.
  5. Reduce, reuse, recycle. In a small organization it can be difficult to get enough time with the subject matter experts to constantly develop new content. But all content doesn’t have to be new. Look for ways to re-purpose content (or pieces of it) in various formats to get the best mileage out of every piece you create.

Those are the highlights. For a more in-depth explanation of these points (and a lot of other great ideas from other contributors) be sure to head over to the Forbes Agency Council blog. It will be time well spent.

Jodi Amendola

Jodi is an accomplished leader with 25 years of experience developing, implementing and executing high-impact, integrated business-to-business public relations and marketing campaigns. Since 2004, she has served as CEO and co-founder of Amendola, where she has led campaigns for countless industry giants and start-up companies.