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Write These Blogs for Your Thought Leader Business Today

Close more deals and grow your knowledge business by answering these critical questions for every prospect

When inspiration strikes, as thought leaders, our first reaction is often, “I should do a blog on that.”

But not all blogs are created equal. In fact, some topics, as cathartic of an exercise as it sometimes is to put pen to paper, won’t so much as move the needle on your business.

Quality content is critical. But your blogs have to serve a strategic purpose. Otherwise, they’re just intellectual window-dressing — and, arguably, a waste of time.

As a thought leader, any blog you write should serve one of three purposes for prospects:

  • Develop awareness of a problem that you can help them solve
  • Drive interest in your products or services as the preferred solution to their pain
  • Offer insights, ideas and proof to demonstrate how your approach is different from the status quo

Write these three posts today, and you won’t just have good fodder for your blog, you’ll have three high-quality sales-enablement tools that you can use in follow-ups to build trust, sidestep common objections, schedule second and third meetings and close more deals faster.

Below, we’ve included simple outlines for each of the above ideas. Do yourself a favor: Sit down at your kitchen table or in your office this week, set aside 30 minutes and 600 words each and hammer out the following three posts. Your business will thank you. Read all the way to the end to learn about our 3 Must-Have Posts Challenge.

The Summary Post

The summary or “why” post is your opportunity to generate awareness for the problem that your business was created to help people solve.

Define the challenge your prospects face and share insights and relevant data to illustrate the problem in context.

Below, we’ve outlined six distinct steps to help you write the perfect summary post.

Step #1 - Draw them in

Start with a compelling headline… At IDG, many of our clients are former educators who work in public schools. So, let’s use a topic in education — say, family engagement, to illustrate this point.

Example: Why family engagement has to be a part of your strategic plan in 2021

If your headline was written to draw your audience in, your first line needs to pay dividends on that attention. Spend the next 10 minutes writing a killer opening line for your post.

Example: Schools have always paid lip service to family engagement. Now, in the midst of a global pandemic, research shows districts can’t survive without it.

Step #2 - Demonstrate a big change in the world

Next, focus on a big change in the world.

What’s changed that makes it impossible for prospects to ignore the need for your product or service right now, today?

If you said the pandemic, you wouldn’t be wrong. But it’s not enough to simply make a blanket statement.

Be specific.

What about the pandemic necessitates a material change in how your prospects think or act?

Step #3 - Build credibility through data

Now that you’ve clearly articulated a big change in the world, it’s time to offer up some evidence to support your claims.

Hook your prospects with a meaty statistic that demonstrates an irreversible change in how they work.

Back to our family engagement example.

It’s well known: Higher levels of family engagement translate to higher levels of student performance. But that hasn’t always translated to parents being more connected with their child’s school.

In summer 2020, one report indicated that “just 64 percent of parents felt that educators valued their contributions.”

Spend 10-15 minutes either reviewing research you’ve already collected or combing the internet for credible reports that underscore the benefits of your work.

Make a list of five relevant and compelling statistics and include the best one or two in your post — with an inline citation or link. This will establish credibility and anchor the point you want to make, which is:

This work has always been important, but it’s strategically necessary now.

Step #4 - Model success & articulate failure

Now that you’ve hooked your audience, and demonstrated through research why they should take you seriously, it’s time to show them what success looks like.

Who’s doing this work now — and what have they achieved since making that commitment? You can use examples or case studies from your own work, or from external research. Highlight at least two and no more than three success stories in this section.

On the flip side, it also helps to illustrate what happens when prospects don’t commit to this change. The goal should be to clearly articulate the difference between success and failure.

Don’t just tell your prospects that failure is bad. Show them what failure looks like by offering up a cautionary tale.

Step 5 - Pull back the curtain

If you’ve done your job over the first two-thirds of your post, your prospects know the stakes. Now, it’s time to tease your proven recipe for success.

This is your opportunity to peel back the curtain and reveal just enough about how your process relieves their pain. What do traditional models leave out that your approach puts in? Is there a three-, four-, or five-step framework that prospects can follow to get results?

Don’t talk about your product specifically. Save that for later in the funnel. Here, you simply want to demonstrate the thinking behind your approach.

Step 6 - Call them to action

Now that you’ve created awareness of the problem and got prospects thinking differently about how to solve it, it’s time to call them to action.

No piece of content should be an endpoint unto itself. Think about what you want your prospect to do next — read another blog, download a guide, sign up for a free webinar or workshop?

Think about their journey and include the next step (in bold) here. Your CTA signifies the end of the post and the continuation of the conversation via the next asset in your funnel.

The List Post

This one is pretty self-explanatory.

Readers love the sequential nature of lists. Lists work because they are easy to talk about and understand — not to mention great for sharing.

A lot of times, you’ll see lists like: The 10 Best Cities to Work Remotely In or 5 Strategies to Improve Student Learning. These are well and good. But your post will stand out more if it challenges readers to reexamine an existing process in their lives or work.

Make it manageable. Pick as few as three and as many as seven items that contribute to poor results in your area of subject expertise. What are the strategy components that your clients consistently get wrong about this work? To fix these things, what would you recommend doing differently? Finally, what benefits do these changes produce?

Examine your niche, or area of expertise. Think about all the things that traditional models or strategies omit or fail to effectively consider. Then propose an alternative solution that promotes a new or different approach to the same problem and illustrate the expected results.

At IDG, we use this approach in our own work. Our RocketPD platform promotes our education thought leaders to local school districts. When we published our Ultimate Guide to K-12 Professional Development, we didn’t just list everything we thought educators might need to know about professional learning, we offered up seven reasons why the status quo was broken and proposed potential solutions to help them fix it.

Problem: Traditional K-12 PD is too passive

Solution: Make professional development practical & applicable

As a thought leader, your prospects don’t need you to confirm their problems, they need you to provide thinking and ideas to help solve them.

Writing your post this way demonstrates your ability to connect with your prospect’s pain, and solidifies you as the doctor with the tested prescription to make that pain, at long last, go away.

The Solution Post

What’s different about this approach that makes it worth your time? If the what’s broken post gets prospects interested in your work, the solutions post is where you earn your keep and win their business. This is your opportunity to successfully describe a blueprint or framework for achieving success. If we go back to our family engagement example, you might say, “For family engagement to be effective in 2021, your strategy needs to include these five pillars (in this order)…” and list those pillars, with an analysis or explanation of each.

Each step, or pillar, should include:

  • A catchy name
  • A clear intention – what happen in this step?
  • How this approach is different from the status quo
  • Steps for implementation
  • A process for measuring effectiveness

When you explain your process or framework in this way, you demonstrate your ability to articulate why your audience should trust you and/or your products compared with the competition.

With these three posts — The Summary, The List and The Solution — you will generate awareness of the problem you are trying to solve for prospects in your niche, create interest in your approach and increase the odds that your clients will choose you over the competition. Ready to make your next three blog posts count toward your bottom line?

Take our 3 Must-Have Posts Challenge

  • Sit down this week, and hammer out your version of each of these posts.
  • Submit them to [email protected].

Our team will work with you to edit the content. Then we’ll cross-post your posts to the topic pages of our website and blog to help drive traffic to your programs. 

It’s a win-win.