Evan Bailyn: The Importance of Thought Leadership
We live in an age of limitless information, where the answer to almost any question we have can be found within seconds just by searching the Internet. This new reality has changed the way we act as consumers of goods and services. Today, as opposed to 15 years ago, we research almost anything we’re thinking about buying -- whether a new brand of dog food or the services of a CPA. And, given that Google is the predominant way people do research, that means that its search results are extremely influential.
Thought Leadership May Be The Most Important Thing You’re Not Doing For Your Business
It follows that your business is deeply impacted by what can be found on Google about your industry; your services or products; your company; and even you. While that can feel overwhelming, because it may seem impossible to control all that information, you can actually control far more of it than you think. That’s where this concept of thought leadership comes in.
Thought leadership, as I define it after 14 years of study, is simply responding to what your customers are researching in a way that reflects positively on your business. You can find out what your customers are researching pretty easily by typing in keywords related to your business into Google and watching to see what autofills. For instance, I am one of Vistage’s marketing speakers, and one of my sources of revenue is selling keynote speaking services. Therefore, it is incumbent on me to figure out what the decision-makers who pay keynote speakers like myself tend to research on Google. Then, I need to give them a helpful, insightful answer that reflects positively on me so that they will want to hire me.
And I have done exactly that. Go to Google right now and type in “keynote speaker fees”. You will see an article I’ve written on my personal website evanbailyn.com entitled “The Ultimate Guide to Keynote Speaker Fees”, at the top of the results. I put it there because I determined that many decision makers at organizations that hire speakers research what speakers are being paid nowadays. And so, I answered that question in a helpful way, and on the upper-right side of the article, gave a short bio on myself and a way to get in touch. I get 2 new speaking leads per month from this single article, which took me only 45 minutes to write.
One more example: When I was asked to write this article, I decided to put myself in the shoes of a Vistage chair, who would probably be interested in controlling the information people put on the Internet about Vistage itself. And so, I wrote an article designed to rank at the top of Google when you search “vistage review.” If you do that Google search right now, you’ll see that the article on my company’s website entitled: “Is Vistage Worth It: An Honest Review” is currently the #1 result from this search. Although I gain no personal benefit from the ranking and only did it for the purposes of example, prospective Vistage members have been contacting me and asking me for advice since I published it. If I were a Vistage chair, this would be valuable thought leadership content.
Imagine the power of this kind of control of the information your customers are researching when done at scale -- when you have articles ranking at the top of Google for, say, the 100 most common searches performed by your customers. That’s the value of thought leadership marketing (which I would consider the modern form of SEO, or search engine optimization).
While it takes a little more planning than simply writing an article and waiting for your audience to arrive, it’s not rocket science either. You simply have to carefully research the search phrases your audience is typing into Google and then write an excellent, original article catering to that search phrase on your website.
If you’re not already incorporating thought leadership into your sales and brand strategy, I hope this article will cause you to start considering it -- after all, that’s how thought leadership works.
Who Is Evan Bailyn?
Evan Bailyn is an internet entrepreneur and the bestselling author of three books on SEO and social media. He is primarily known as an expert on thought leadership marketing, having used his ability to attract online visitors to build and sell five businesses, including one of the largest children’s websites online.
Currently, he is the CEO of First Page Sage, an ROI-driven marketing company. Under Evan’s tutelage, clients have established industry-leading businesses, become New York Times Bestsellers, and won key elections. As the founder of The Evan Bailyn Foundation, he helps to promote emotional awareness in children and adults.
Mr. Bailyn has been interviewed on ABC and Fox News and featured in Forbes, The New York Times, and The Wall Street Journal. He is a frequent keynote speaker, delivering over 40 speeches per year to CEOs and industry leaders.