Is it thought leadership if someone else has written your blog post?

In an advanced social media course I was teaching, we were debating whether it’s important for people working in an organisation to have a decent social media presence or not.

We were talking about branding and different leadership styles and in what ways the people working in an organisation are representatives of the brand 24/7.

One person said: ‘I’m happy that none of the fools in my organisation have an online presence.’ Everyone laughed.

Another delegate said: ‘Our marketing team writes all the blog posts and then some people in the management team pretend they wrote it.’

‘What?’ I said. ‘Do they outsource their voice?’

It turned out that many people in the room had had the same experience. They knew few people in a leadership position who wrote their blog posts themselves. Instead, they are conveniently outsourcing their thoughts and voice to a ghost writer.

I may be naive, but how can anyone let someone else ‘be their voice’?

In that case, what’s written and shared just adds to the junk online. If you want to stand out you need to use your own voice and your own, personal anecdotes.

In the ‘social media era’ people who use social media well stand out. That’s how it is. Blogging or sharing on social media can be a great tool to let people know a bit more about what’s going on behind the scenes. People are notoriously curious and want to know what’s going on.

To be seen as a thought leader today you need to develop your thinking skills. I know I am asking for a lot here and it takes time, to do this, but without fully thinking your thoughts through you are only going to be a copycat, and that’s not a good start when you’re developing your personal brand.

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The world doesn’t need more leaders who put together fake thought leadership content with the help of an assistant. If this is your current strategy please stop now and learn more about the craft of writing and expressing an idea.

You need to be strategic with your writing. There are devices such as smartphones and tablets that you can use to jot down notes and then you can structure your notes in a Word document later. You can collect potential topics in a spreadsheet. You can get help from a proofreader if you are not sure you are getting the grammar right. But please, share your stories and expertise; never outsource your voice.

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In the near future I will be running some workshops in London where we will explore how to use your voice in your writing. Please sign up to my newsletter so you get the announcement when we know the exact workshop dates.

Sofie Sandell