November & December theme:
“Choose One Thing”
Posted in :  Brain Waves

If you are considering adding a blog, white papers or other original content as a part of your thought leadership strategy, but question whether your team can maintain a regular publishing schedule, consider building a community of industry experts.

We’re seeing more of this as an interesting twist on thought leadership: instead of being originators of content, organizations help others gather around information and ideas. They’re convening communities of like-minded – and sometimes competing – professionals. Drawn to in-person events and online forums, they’re coming both for valuable, relevant content and staying for the chance to meet other professionals in their space.

Over the course of growing these communities, the brand of the organization that pulls it all together is strengthened. Thought leadership by way of association kick starts how an organization is seen, and sees itself, as an expert in their field. Equally as important, the “conveners” get to hear directly from people in their world as the community shares what matters to them and what challenges they face.

Our own Marketer’s Anonymous is one example. Each month, Fathom brings together two dozen marketing professionals including clients, former colleagues, and other marketing firms in Connecticut, to discuss challenges and opportunities in marketing. At the end of each meeting, the group decides on the next month’s topic, its champion, and a host. There’s no sales pitch, no hidden agenda, and, in this case, no cost. It’s for the good of the field, and for each other.

Our client Connolly, leaders in the field of payment integrity, is doing something similar with their annual Healthcare Summit. Now in its sixth year, it’s considered the one “can’t miss” event of the year for the leaders of the country’s best-run healthcare companies. Health plan excecutives get the rare chance to interact and share strategies for navigating new territory, from process improvement to the latest developments with the Affordable Care Act.

“The participants really enjoy talking with industry colleagues who can truly appreciate the challenges they face and are willing to offer advice on how they have overcome or are addressing those challenges,” said Michael Wilson, Director, Marketing at Connolly.

It doesn’t always have to be an event. Our client, Newman’s Own Foundation, shares the stories of non-profits that it has chosen to fund, inviting website visitors to volunteer or support the organizations. The Newman’s Own seal of approval goes a long way in lending credibility to these nonprofits and Newman’s Own becomes a source for finding organizations worth following, while also sharing inspiration for other aspiring philanthropists.

Acting as community builder around an area of expertise can have greater impact than generating your own blog posts. As host, you’ll hear about what really matters to organizations you care about. You’ll build your audience for when you are ready to publish. And, in some cases, listening can be more effective than being just another voice in a crowded marketplace. Either way, it will encourage you to take a fresh perspective on trends in your industry.

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Posted by: Louisa Desson
Email the author: louisad@fathom.net