The premise of the article is that solopreneurs should focus on positioning themselves as thought leaders instead of wasting time and resources playing by the rules of big companies who focus on SEO and traditional content marketing tactics.
The negative comments are quite interesting:
- They are offended by the provocative title
- They either didn’t read well (they think I’m just trashing SEO and content marketing)
- They disagree with my premise (saying thought leadership doesn’t work or it’s too hard)
Here’s a recent response from a reader:
“If you’re only focusing on thought leadership, you’re forever chasing the controversial spin or the trending topic of conversation to stay relevant, and you end up in an endless cycle of having to create and build new narratives from scratch as opposed to putting efforts towards maintaining and updating evergreen ones.”
Thought leadership is not about chasing controversy, but about creating a unique framework as the foundation for your content.
Once you have created that framework, you will lead with your thoughts about any topic in your industry.
The Category Design framework is a good example. It’s a unique POV about how companies succeed in the market.
It’s opposite to the Blue Ocean Strategy, which is another thought leadership framework.
So how do you create a thought leadership framework?
I’ve developed a straightforward plan for developing a framework, called FRAME.
FRAME stands for:
Find: Find that idea or process you already use or want to develop and refine it into a repeatable system.
Research: Research existing frameworks or methods used in your industry that are used to solve the problem your clients have.
Analyze: Analyze the results of your research and come up with a unique angle, either combining different existing frameworks or innovating from your own experience.
ap: Map your new framework visually (on a board, paper, or software like Miro
) to gain insights on the steps to follow.
Explain: Explain your framework, now writing down every step in detail so anyone would understand it.
What is a problem that you already solved and that you can help your clients solve as well?
- Is this something you do on a daily/weekly/monthly basis? → Then create a process map.
- Is this something you did once to grow your business or obtain a particular result and it worked? → Then reverse engineer the process starting with the final outcome and listing each step of what needed to happen before.
- Is this something you already teach to others? → Then explain it to someone who has zero background or inside knowledge of your industry, with such detail and simple language that they can explain it back to you. Make notes of the gaps where you need to explain more.
When someone says something negative about your content or ideas….
Ask yourself whether they have a valid point or they are just misunderstanding you.
If they have a point, refine your framework.
If they didn’t get what you were trying to say, refine your messaging and your language.
Either way, use the negative feedback to your advantage.
That’s how you become a thought leader.