January General Meeting: Van Yoder on Thought Leadership Marketing

Our guest speaker for our January General Meeting will be Steven Van Yoder, CEO of Get the Word Out Communications and the author of “Get Slightly Famous: Become a Celebrity in Your Field and Attract More Business with Less Effort”. Steven will speak on Thought Leadership Marketing.

Steven is also the founder and director of Global Initiative to Advance Entrepreneurship (GIVE). As a dedicated social entrepreneur, he uses his expertise in cause-related marketing to assemble an alliance of business and nonprofit partners with the goal of alleviating poverty in the U.S. and abroad. He speaks internationally and his work is published in trade, business, and consumer publications and websites. He blogs regularly at getslightlyfamous.com/blog/

Below are some of Steve’s thoughts on our January topic. Register for the meeting today to learn more!

What is Thought Leadership Marketing?

Marketing used to be about “getting in front of” prospects so you could deliver your pitch and make the sale. The Internet has permanently changed the way prospects find and evaluate products and services. Today, consumers increasingly initiate sales conversations after finding companies through a search engine.

Today’s buyers distrust marketing claims and expect businesses to show, not tell, when demonstrating their products and services. They shun self-serving salespeople and seek firms that focus on making a difference, not getting a sale.

Thought leadership marketing is the winning marketing strategy for today’s business climate. Thought leadership marketing centers on earning trust and credibility by offering something different—information, insights, and ideas, for instance—in place of the usual marketing pitch. Contributing generously to your industry positions you as a thought leader and positions your company as a trusted advisor. In today’s business environment, that often paves the way to a lasting business relationship.

To become a thought leader, focus on sharing your knowledge and expertise generously and frequently in a variety of formats. As a thought leader you will strive to be always present within your target market by being seen, read, and heard on a regular basis by the people who matter most to your company.

Media Strategies for Thought Leadership Marketing

The public values the media, and so should you. In one way or another, the media reach and influence everyone who has a direct impact on your business. As a thought leader, you should work to establish relationships with editors and publications in relevant trade, national and international media to enhance your credibility, build your brand, and reach far more prospects than you could in person.

Prospects now form a Virtual First Impression ™ of your company in an Internet browser. They expect your company to be findable on the Web and demonstrate a credible record of results. If you appear lackluster compared to your competitors, you can lose potential clients and risk becoming obsolete.

Your online presence must be strategic and targeted, showing your value, demonstrating your worth, and making a difference within your target market. Your website, and all social media efforts, should center on providing educational content that aligns with your brand and helps prospects see your business as a solution.

Educational Content: The Core of Thought Leadership Marketing

Thought leaders create and distribute information, such as white papers, books and reports, that educate their target market about issues related to their marketplace.

They share their knowledge in traditional and online media by contributing articles to websites and magazines. They use blogs, podcasts, video, and social networking sites as platforms to demonstrate leadership and expertise and engage in two-way dialogue with prospects.

Public Speaking for Thought Leadership

Speaking is the fastest, easiest, and cheapest way to establish yourself as a thought leader, and it gives you tremendous credibility that increases over time. Speaking is also a great lead generator, sometimes helping you close sales before you leave the room.

Identify trade shows, associations and conferences that prospects and industry influencers attend and get on their panels or lead workshops. These days, you don’t even have to be present in person to give a talk that reaches your target market. Online chats and webinars can help you reach a lot of people eager to hear your message.

Establishing Your Brand and Reputation

Thought leadership marketing integrates targeted public relations, developing your online presence, and producing and distributing educational content via blogs, white papers and articles. It demonstrates authentic leadership in your niche and community that establishes your reputation as a generous contributor to your industry.

Your brand identity will become the touchstone of your entire business. You’ll waste less time, make fewer marketing mistakes and stand out an increasing cluttered world.


Steven Van Yoder

Steven Van Yoder

Steven Van Yoder.

Yoder is a seasoned journalist, published in over 200 publications including The Washington Post, Financial Executive, Home Office Computing, Costco Connection, Industry Week, Brand Marketing and dozens of trade, business and consumer publications. He currently contributes articles about business marketing and current affairs to dozens of trade publications and websites.



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