By Grant Butler
According to Google, Amazon, and Wiley:
In a competitive age, thought leadership has emerged as a subtle but powerful way to grow your business, establish credibility and demonstrate expertise, build your profile and forge relationships with prospects and customers. Thought leadership material can take many forms, including public speaking, websites, the media, advertising, writing books, online forums, webinars, and blogging. This book will show you how to take your great ideas and craft them into a clear point of view that can influence others.
The book is organized into three parts:
1. Think: Defines thought leadership and how to transform your great ideas into effective thought leadership material.
2. Write: This shows you how to articulate your ideas into effective communication.
3. Grow: Demonstrates how thought leadership can be marketed to grow your business and profile.
Shows you how to go from expert to influential thought leader
Written by Grant Butler, former Australian Financial Review journalist and now managing director of Australia’s largest corporate writing firm. Explains techniques used by politicians, public figures, and the CEOs of our biggest companies.
Think Write Grow studies the techniques of the great communicators of recent times, from Barack Obama and Boris Johnson to Tim Flannery and Malcolm Turnbull.
When you start reading multiple books on the exact same topic you start to see how each author’s background plays into how the content is shaped. In this book, Grant Butler’s background in journalism shines through. Thus, the book is well written and great stories are woven through the book to illustrate the concepts.
While the book is titled “Think, Write, Grow” its best contribution is in the “thinking” section. The write and grow (marketing) sections offer fairly standard advice (write short concise sentences, tell stories, speak in the active voice, etc). It could be that I’ve also read a dozen books on writing already and hundreds of books on marketing though, so take that with a grain of salt.
One of my favorite sections of the book was this list of the common characteristics of a thought leader:
Intelligent: Thought leaders usually have a strong mental capacity for capturing, storing, and analyzing a lot of information in order to come up with breakthrough ideas.
Novel: They see the world differently and have a knack to look where nobody else is looking or try something unconventional.
Credible: There’s a lot of intelligent and novel thinkers out there that nobody believed until long after they died. Thought leaders are typically believable in their own lifetime and establish trust early.
Passionate: They are excited about their fields of expertise. They are so enthusiastic that their passion overflows onto others and this is often what wins them, followers.
Honest: Thought leaders try to remain objective. This is where the author’s journalism lens kicks in and, personally, I don’t think true objectivity is even possible. I do think the best thought leaders are fair to both sides of an argument.
Extroverted: All great thought leaders have to get their ideas out through writing, speaking, and as commentators in front of people. They have to be comfortable getting their ideas in front of others.
Constructive: They may often be critical but thought leaders usually are aiming to make the world a better place. Their chief aim is to fix problems and/or bring a better future-forward.
Courageous: They have to get used to speaking out and continually receiving pushback on their ideas from others. It takes a lot of courage to continually get the wind knocked out of you and then enthusiastically march on with your ideas.
Solitary: Thought leaders often work alone or in small groups because of the heavy research and quiet analysis required to think through all the information.
Exposed: Thought leaders have to be vulnerable. Their ideas, and thus their reputation, have to be put out there for the world to judge repeatedly.
Also, here are a few of my favorite quotes from the book:
“Thought leadership is the process of putting forward ideas to solve problems and realize opportunities”
“One of the most difficult aspects of developing thought leadership material is deciding how much intellectual property (IP) to release. The tension is that you need to give away enough for an audience to find it valuable, but not so much that it’s a poor commercial proposition. This is a line you will need to explore, and it will depend on factors such as whether you are charging for your thought leadership… If you don’t give away enough IP, your material will fail to qualify as thought leadership.”
According to Grant Butler:
In this book, I focus on a number of exceptional and high-profile writers, researchers, professionals, and executives because they are great models to learn from. They also illustrate different aspects of the thought leadership challenge and provide valuable insights that I hope you can apply to your own situation. However, thought leadership is open to anyone. All it requires is that you can develop and communicate ideas that are of value to an audience you care about — your followers.
Whether you’re a top stock market commentator reaching millions on TV or a small business owner sending out a newsletter to your customers, the idea is the same: you are building your business by passing on your expert knowledge to customers and prospects to help them create a better future. Within reason, the more freely and generously you offer that advice — the more value you give others — the more rewards you are likely to gain.
Perhaps the most enticing and rewarding aspect of becoming a better writer, in particular, is that it will make you a better thinker. The act of writing plays an enormous role in crystallizing your thoughts and helping you organize them into powerful, effective, and memorable arguments that will propel you and your readers into new cycles of innovation, reflection, and discussion. If there is one overriding message I hope you will take from this book it is this: writing isn’t just something
you do once you have become a thought leader; it will help to make you one.
SMALL BIZ TRENDS SUMMARY:
Think Write Grow, which was nominated for the 2012 Small Business Book Awards, educates readers on what exactly thought leadership is:
“What sets thought leaders apart is that they don’t just think; they go out of their way to share their thoughts with others. They may do this by publishing their views in books or journals, speaking at events, appearing in the media and taking up industry leadership roles such as serving on boards and standards-setting bodies. Most importantly, thought leaders are focused on what’s likely to happen in the future.”
Butler also highlights key types of thought leadership communications, as well as their benefits. He includes:
He provides ample tips for getting the most out of each of these forms of communication. I found his “Three Cs” useful for my own writing:
1. Capture the reader’s attention
2. Convince the reader of your case
3. Close with a strong conclusion and ideally a call to action
One part thought leadership education, one part writing coaching, this book blends practical writing advice with the bigger picture of why you’d write essays, blogs and books. Butler connects the dots between the actual writing and the marketing you need to do to get the writing in the right hands.
Who Should Read this Book?
If you’ve been interested in becoming better known in your industry, publishing a thought leadership book, or speaking at industry events, this book will guide you on your path to achieving your goals. If you’d like tips for being a better writer, regardless of your thought leadership status, this book provides tips for every level of writer.
3 parts of the book-
PART 1: THINK
1 What is thought leadership? 3
2 What is thought leadership marketing? 9
3 Who are thought, leaders? 15
4 Finding your sweet spot 33
5 Types of thought leadership material 41
PART 2: WRITE
6 Preparing to write 61
7 Writing to capture, convince and close 75
8 Writing: words, flow and storytelling 95
9 Editing and revisions 119
PART 3: GROW
10 The benefits of thought leadership 129
11 Your investment 141
12 Strategy and promotion 147
Publisher: Wiley; 1st edition (February 13, 2012)
Paperback: 200 pages
AMAZON CATEGORY: Books › Business & Money › Management & Leadership