Have you ever watched in amazement as an executive in your industry publishes piece after thought leadership piece, with a smattering of bylined blog posts on the side? Perhaps you’ve even felt a little twinge of envy, wondering how they have time to get so much done when you can barely find the time to respond to your 12,234 emails—much less write something longer than a to-do list.
Here’s the secret: they get help. But not just any help: experienced, quality writers and editors who know how to translate ideas and expertise into insightful and interesting articles that top publications are interested in. Another secret? You can do it, too.
This is how it works.
Two heads are better than one
It all starts with a good idea, which can be the most time-consuming part of the process. It can take a lot of brainstorming to get to the heart of a core concept before the writing even begins. So how in the world does any busy executive get that far?
They go to the experts. It’s one thing to have a kernel of an idea; it’s another to develop it into a fully-fledged article or blog post that others will want to read. After all, sometimes it’s difficult to see what’s right in front of our noses. Executives flesh out ideas during brainstorming sessions with writers and editors at thought leadership firms; seasoned journalists who know instinctively how to pull a needle—or a good idea—out of a haystack.
At Hippo, we’re not afraid to bring academic experts into the brainstorming session if the piece requires it, which is another way of adding nuance to ideas and/or coming up with new takes on familiar subjects. Our academic experts are often part of the researching process, assisting writers and editors by identifying relevant and impactful studies or stories from trade journals that add substance to and strengthen the credibility of the finished product.
Trust an expert
Now it’s time to get that brilliant idea down on paper, and there’s nothing wrong with entrusting the writing to a professional. We all have our expertise, and writers, well, write. We’re not talking about straightforward ghostwriting, where executives slap their byline on an article that was entirely written by an outside PR firm. Quality thought leadership is highly collaborative; it involves personal conversations with the executive, and checking in along the way to ensure that their voice is being accurately incorporated into the writing. After all, at the end of the day, the byline belongs to them, and the thoughts are theirs. It’s extremely important that the person being trusted with those thoughts can deliver quality work.
The most effective thought leadership pieces result from a true collaboration between executive and writer, and trust is a vital part of the process. Just as successful executives must trust their teams to implement strategy and policy, they also need to trust their writer. It may be tough to hear that certain ideas are better left on the cutting room floor, but professional thought leadership writers are highly skilled and experienced. They may not know how to run a tech company, but they know how to create content that gets attention. Listen to them!
The secret is out
Those executives with multiple bylines may seem like mystical unicorns of productivity, but the truth is that they simply harness the expertise of others to develop and amplify their innovative ideas. By working with a thought leadership firm to shape ideas and execute their vision—in their voice—executives are able to build their brand as a trusted thought leader, with minimal intrusion into their hectic schedules.
Now that you know how your colleagues and competitors are snagging all those bylines, you can stop watching in amazement from the sidelines. Start reflecting on your own innovative ideas or unusual business philosophy and how they might resonate with others. By implementing the strategy outlined here, you can join the ranks of busy executives who are known for thought leadership, and they still have time to respond to those 12, 234 emails. No judgement.
Get in touch to find out how Hippo can help you fit thought leadership into your busy schedule.
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