The digital revolution has disrupted how content is created, distributed, and consumed by democratizing information. Social media has had an omnipresent impact on people. Social media, mobility, and the Internet dominate our daily lives, where people have an insatiable appetite to be engaged by and curiosity for authentic experiences and content.
But how can you cut through the noise and communicate with your audience by connecting with people when they're being besieged with content in an accurate, quality, and helpful way that your audience can trust and take action from?
Peter Winick is the founder and CEO of Thought Leadership Leverage. For the past two decades, he has helped individuals and organizations build and grow revenue streams by designing and growing their thought leadership platforms and acting as a guide and advisor for increasing business-to-business sales of thought leadership products. Peter provides his perspective about helping though leaders build their ideas into businesses.
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Hello, I'm Roy Sharples, and welcome to the unknown origins podcast. Why aren't you listening to this podcast? Are you an industry expert looking for insights? Are you growing your career? Or are you a dear friend helping to spur your power on? I created the unknown origins podcast, to have the most inspiring conversations with creative industry personalities and experts about entrepreneurship, pop culture, art, music, film fashion, the digital revolution has disrupted how content is created, distributed and consumed by democratizing information. Social media has had an omnipresent impact on people, social media, mobility, and the Internet dominate our daily lives, where people have an insatiable appetite to be engaged by and curiosity for authentic experiences and content. But how can you cut through the noise and communicate with your audience by connecting with people when they're being besieged with content and an accurate quality and helpful way that your audience can trust and take action with Peter Winnick is the founder and CEO of Thought Leadership Leverage. For the past two decades, he has helped individuals and organizations build and grow revenue streams by designing and growing their thought leadership platforms, and acting as a guide and advisor for increasing business to business sales of thought leadership products. Hello, and welcome, Peter!Peter Winick:
thanks so much for having me.Roy Sharples:
So what inspired and attracted you to the thought leadership space?Peter Winick:
Yeah, I think that's a great question. I was attracted to the space before it was a space, I think, right. So the languaging, and the use of terms like thought leadership, and such as a fairly common phenomenon, maybe the last, you know, 15 years or so, I always was attracted to, you know, interesting information, interesting content, getting my hands on amazing magazines, or books or, you know, going to conferences and things of that nature. So, I think it was just the, the nerdy side of me, the lifelong learner and me, the curious entrepreneur and me that gravitating towardsRoy Sharples:
what does your company Thought Leadership Leverage? Do?Peter Winick:
I started thought leadership leverages you consultancy? over 13 years ago, initially, our target market was working with and it's still a big, big chunk of what we do. It's not like we don't do this anymore. It's a majority of what we do. But our target was working with authors, speakers, thought leaders, consultants, academics, CEOs, etc, people that create thought leadership that is of interest and value to the business community. And the way we support those folks, is by developing a strategy because most thought leaders are operating either without a strategy, one that's not quite optimized, or one that's quite frankly, broken, or taken. Yeah. So we always start with strategy, then we work on brand and platform, then we work on the productization, of of the thought leadership, meaning, you know, some someone starts with an idea, the idea of winds up somewhere in a book or in a Keynote or in a, you know, the basis of a consulting format. But what are the other vehicles that you can put that into it can have greater impact and generate more revenue. And then ultimately, we will support a subset of our clients by taking on things like sales, marketing, product development, business development, etc. And then there's one additional twist to that story is that is, we launched a new practice area towards the end of 19. Back Back pre COVID. Back in the pre days, remember those days? Yeah, I do. And we call that the organizational thought leader. So we're applying our expertise on models or methodologies and frameworks to large organizations that are looking to get their thought leadership out into the marketplace, so that they can show the world they have a perspective they can avoid being commoditized they can put information out there that's, you know, thoughtful and a benefit to their prospects and clients. So, think high tech financial services professional services.Roy Sharples:
Society has become more augmented by interactive digital content and information, Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, Twitter, tick, tock and LinkedIn have become the fabric of our lives, allowing people to share stories about their everyday experiences and build their personal brand around their passions, beliefs, and activities. And since learning how to use the internet and the 1990s, we've evolved and internalized it by making it part of our social routine. We have became increasingly driven by our primal need to be social by our Need for social recognition and celebration. That combined with living in a clickbait, consumer led instant gratified celebrity culture, fuels a world where everything looks and sounds the same. And everything is for sale. There is no time like now where purposeful thought leadership content and formulating the right marketing strategies to attract, engage, retain your target audience to promote your brand awareness and keep your business top of mind when it's time to buy what you sell. And that it is not just a one time single transaction, but an ongoing value exchange an infinite series of connected engagements that build a long term relationship. What's your perspective on how to cut through the noise and communicate with your audience?Peter Winick:
I totally agree with that. I mean, I think up until fairly recently, the world that we lived in was a world that was relatively scarce when it came to information and knowledge and all that. And that was a bad thing. Right? Now we live in a world where it's, I would I would argue it's overly abundant, which is also a bad thing. But it's a different kind of that right? So you know, what I, you know, I, there's no scarcity of information, I can go Google, pretty much anything I want and get anything, you know, get a bunch of stuff. But finding high quality, thoughtful information from reputable sources that give you insight that I think to your point, right is like, yeah, that's what we really want. We don't want to be hit with the firehose.Roy Sharples:
Peter, what's your creative process? In terms of how do you dream up new ideas, develop those ideas into concepts? And then bring those concepts to actualization?Peter Winick:
Yeah, so I think creativity comes for us is not the creativity around the breakthrough ideas that are the thought leaders ideas, but our creativity is a function of the strategies that we develop, of being really, really good at thinking through what is the best way to get this type of thought leadership to this type of audience, this type of avatar in a way that drives a business outcome. So it's more of a strategic creativity than a, you know, you know, painter with a paintbrush, you know, artistic creativity, if you will. Yeah, you're helping enable thought leaders to formulate the right strategy that helps them show up where their audience are, and to make the difference. And that audience journey is the route that your target audience takes from the time they first encounter your brand, to when they make a purchase and building long term relationships by creating targeted content purposefully to win the hearts and minds of your audience, which is a journey that starts off with, you've attracted their attention. They then feel compelled to consume and adopt your thought leadership, product or service. And then they then become a fun and part of the story. And ultimately, an advocate of you and your brand. And your product. The framing that I use is that you know, number one is awareness, you've got to make a subset of the universe that's important to you aware that you exist, right, then you've got to get them engaged in your content in some way. They want them to consume it, want them to read it, want them to, to digest it, etc. And then ultimately, after you they're engaged a subset of those, you want to activate them to do something, I mean, do something can be, by your book, hire you as a consultant bring in to speak whatever the case may be, but they've got to be aware. They've got to be engaged. And then you activateRoy Sharples:
Got it! From your perspective, Peter, who are the poster children, the flag bearers that are just nailing this in the industry? Yeah, so let's put the question in to write. So there's a one universe of folks that put out or create thought leadership that is second to none, literally their best in the world at what they do. And it doesn't really matter what the domain is. It could be leadership, it could be creativity, resilience, innovation, you know, mental health in the workplace. So that's one group, right? Then there's another group that actually succeeds at unleashing the power of their ideas and getting it out into the universe. The the sweet spot that you're talking about is how many how many organizations or individuals can do both successfully? And you know, quite frankly, I think the reason we exist and that we thrive is very few, right? When you look at what are the what are the skills it takes to create great thought leadership? Probably research focused, they're probably introverted, they're probably thoughtful, they're probably deliberate. Right? Right, all those things down. And then what are the great skills of an amazing marketer? And very, very few things on that those two lists will overlap, which is really why we have the problem that we have. That's a natural segway into the next question I was going to ask you, Peter, from your perspective, what are the key skills needed to thrive and survive as a thought leader?Peter Winick:
Yeah, I mean, I don't think you could answer that question. Without having grounded in well, what is thought leadership because you know, it's this word, or this terminology or this, this, this function that gets thrown around and bandied about right. So if you and I, Roy, we're going to have a conversation about accounts receivable or compliance or cloud based security. Even though we're not domain experts in those things, we kind of know what that agenda would look like. I think part of the problem for in thought leadership is we haven't defined what it is, in a way that's universally acceptable. So I'll first answer your question by defining with the definition if I could. So the way I define thought leadership is there's two components to the concept, there's thought, which means there's an indication that it requires some thoughtfulness, some research, some synthesis of information, some, you know, it could be based on case studies, it could be a life experience, it could be longitudinal studies, whatever it is, but there's a thoughtfulness to what you're putting out there. And then the leadership, I think, is really important. It's where you're showing that you have the courage to lead the domain, into an area that might be new, that might be controversial, that might be outside of the conventionally accepted way of thinking around those things. So you've got to be smart and thoughtful. And you have to have the courage to lead.Roy Sharples:
The courage to lead! Yes, people of action who are future oriented, they are the doers, the people who start things and move the world forward and inspire others to do it, too.Peter Winick:
Yeah. So I think the first day for aspiring thought leaders is to acknowledge that they are aspiring thought leaders like wow, this is a thing I really want to do. Right. This is not a hobby, not some, you know, tertiary pursuit, that's going to not get the resources it needs. But it is something that I feel strongly about it is something I'm passionate about it is something that I've gotten some form of validation in the marketplace, that I'm actually doing something that is of interest and a value to a population, then I would, you know, counsel folks to realize it's unlikely that you're going to be able to do it all on your right, even though it seems like you know, I am the author, I am the speaker, there's a lot of I am in this business. But in order to be successful, there's a lot of help that you're going to need along the way. You might need a speechwriter, you might need a ghostwriter. You might need, you know, consultants you might need folks that are experts in instructional design that can create learning solutions based on your intellectual property. It's when you try to do it all on your own, that you get out of your comfort zone, you wind up being an A player doing b or c working in areas that you don't have the you know, functional expertise in, and you get frustrated and you don't get the outcomes that you're looking for. And that's a that's a that's not a fun place to be.Roy Sharples:
What's your vision for the future of thought leadership? And how do you see the role of creativity playing within that evolution?Peter Winick:
Yeah, well, I don't think you can have thought leadership without a strong dose of creativity. Otherwise, you're just, you know, citing footnotes in a paper, right. So I think creativity is important, I think, the field of thought leadership, as we see it today, as we know it today, is going to grow, it's going to continue to grow. I think the bar is going to continue to be raised. I mean, you made the point earlier around there being so much noise and not enough signal, I think the bar is going to continue to be raised. And I think it's it's it just continues to evolve. It just continues to change in terms of the formats and the modalities. And you know, six months ago, we were talking about clubhouse as being the new new thing. So So I think, you know, there's so many different ways to get so much stuff out there. It's it's an issue of figuring out what is the right and best way for you at a point in time based on your work and where your audience lives and likes to find information.Roy Sharples:
The pandemic that we're currently living through is possibly the most sustained period of strangeness we've been experienced to in our lifetime. And although it's had a devastating impact on morality in society, it has also provided positive such as an opportunity for people to reappraise their lives, to prioritize and focus on what matters and providing some downtime for people to start to hone their creative pursuits, particularly as thought leaders. And are you starting to see an emergence within a new wave of thought leaders come through the situational and symptomatic factors that have driven this change? So I think there hasPeter Winick:
been a lot of disruption directly attributed to the pandemic. So, disruption has a negative connotation. And I think there is positive disruption. And I think there's negative disruption. So, you know, on the positive side, we are living right now, in what I'm calling the the sort of COVID Renaissance, there is a plethora of new things coming out of new books, new articles, new videos of new thought leaders, putting stuff out in the world at a speed that we've never seen before. Why is that? Well, we had a pretty extended period of time over the last 18 months, where a lot of really, really smart people wind up having a lot more time on their hands. And as instead of, you know, watching Netflix, and, you know, eating Twinkies or whatever, they invested that time into creating new stuff, new thought leadership, putting their ideas to paper, and that's really cool. On the business side, maybe some of the negative or disruptions that have taken place is when you look at one of the the industries that supported thought leaders quite well was the speaking business, right to the business of being paid to be a keynote speaker, that business is forever changed, it hasn't gone to zero. But then you know that you can imagine the number of events that have actually come to be in the last 18 months as a fraction of what they were in 2019. So those don't go to zero. But we have to figure out how do we use technology and how do we deliver keynotes from a distance in a way that are engaging and in a way to capture the value that a thought leader once that they captured relative to their time invested?Roy Sharples:
How soon is the future? One thing for shooters, the future is unwritten and everything is possible. You have been listening to the Unknown Origins podcast, please follow subscribe, rate and review us. For more information go to unknownorigins.com Thank ou for listening!