Brace yourself!

…This is going to be a long one – I had an epiphany this morning…

Brilliance can be found in many places — especially if you keep your mouth shut and your ears open! First, a bit of a story; six months ago I decided to get off my fat ass and start exercising. Thanks to Endomondo, I know that I walked and biked for a total of 16 hours in the month of March. Being the overachiever that I am by the month of July I had doubled that time. The net result? Tendinitis…

I’m now in physical therapy trying to get back on the exercise path again. This morning, I asked my physical therapist Lynn to recommend a knee brace to help me. I was looking at all the options in Google and had visions of the mother of all knee braces…

…when I shared my plan with Lynn, however, she had a different perspective and her advice was brilliant; get as much support as you need and nothing more. I was blown away by the wisdom of her simple statement. It echoes the wisdom of great thinkers like David Allen and Stephen Covey.

How does this relate to thought leadership and getting found? Most likely you’ve heard me say before that, in the words of the immortal Albert Einstein “things must be made as simple as possible, but no simpler”. The thought occurred to me this morning that in order to be recognized as a thought leader, or the obvious expert in your field you only need to think about three things:

  1. Passion
  2. Purpose
  3. Plan

I’m not going to spend a lot of time on number one; Confucius said find a job you love and you’ll never work a day in your life. If you don’t have passion for your “onlyness” you need to find it or move on…

Regarding number 2, it’s great to have a purpose but in order to be profitable your purpose has to solve a problem [reference Tim Kastelle’s classic post on The Underpants Gnomes]. Now call me Captain Obvious, but the best way to see what problems people are trying to solve is to see what problems people are trying to solve. That is not a typo. Read it again. “How do I do that?” you might say. Google is not only great for finding things, but it also happily shares the things people are looking for. Again with the Captain Obvious, but if I want to be found it seems to me that I should write about what people are looking for. If I understand my unique value proposition and can link it to what people are looking for I will be found as a solution.

The following screencast shows three different ways — ranked in order of complexity — of finding what people are looking for;

If you consistently find and share good information that effectively solves problems for which people are searching for solutions, over time you will be found and recognized as the expert in your field.

The short answer to number 3, is to consistently find and communicate that information that documents your expertise in your field. Again in the spirit of Einstein’s razor, I think there are only three tools you need to master in order to deepen and document your expertise:

  1. Google Alerts and/or Google Reader
  2. WordPress
  3. Twitter using Twylah’s Power Tweet

I have written many times about the power of Google Reader but not so much about the power of Google Alerts. To me a Google Alert is a kind of a virtual intern that will scour the Internet 24x7x365 to find and deliver to you exactly what you’re looking for. Sometimes the art of being an expert is to stay a page ahead of your followers; what better way then to search what people are searching for and put the answers all in one place? Captain Obvious again; why not take the most popular searches you find and turn them into Google Alerts? When you find good content in Google Reader using Google Alerts and either curate the content in the form of a blog post or tweet it using Twyla’s Power Tweet you attach that content to your domain on the Internet. Here’s how I do it [you may have a better solution]:

I may be wrong about this [I was actually wrong once back in the 80’s] but in my mind there is no simpler, faster, cheaper way to get found when people are looking for YOU. Comment below or connect with me so we can talk about how this applies to you and your situation…

PS Here are two bonus Power Tools:

17 thoughts on “Brace yourself!

  1. Loved this post and all the tools make all the sense in the world.  The next thing you need beyond the tools is a buddy of sorts, almost like an exercise buddy, who makes you feel obligated to engage.  Having a set of tools is fantastic, but if it not part of your daily behavior then having a person to team up with, inside your company, can keep you motivated and engaged. 

    Like

  2. Loved this post and all the tools make all the sense in the world.  The next thing you need beyond the tools is a buddy of sorts, almost like an exercise buddy, who makes you feel obligated to engage.  Having a set of tools is fantastic, but if it not part of your daily behavior then having a person to team up with, inside your company, can keep you motivated and engaged. 

    Like

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