Write a Thought-Leadership Corporate Blog in Just 5 Minutes a Week

salmajafri
Salma Jafri Content Strategist, WordPL

Posted on March 16th 2013

Write a Thought-Leadership Corporate Blog in Just 5 Minutes a Week

corporate bloggingYou’re a busy CEO wearing many hats and with not enough hours in the day. As the founder of a small business startup, you know that writing your own thought-leadership blog will bring fresh content, a leadership perspective, greater transparency and more customers to your door.

But, as with most decisions you make, you have to decide whether to write your own blog or to outsource it. Writing it yourself requires massive amounts of time – time that you can better spend working on your core talents to move the business forward. Outsourcing your blog to a ghost writer may result in loss of authenticity – how would your customers feel when they find out you don’t write your own blog?

Hang on though; corporate blogging is not an either-or dilemma. There’s a way to have your cake and eat it too. You can write your own blog yet not have to spend hours or days on it. In fact you can spend as little as 5 minutes a week on your blog and still remain authentic.

Here’s how.

1. Hire a Corporate Blogger

First you find a content team or a professional corporate blogger who understands your industry and company. Ask to see samples of blogs written for your industry. Analyze the writing style to see which sample closely matches your own writing style.

2. Identify and Agree on Content

Second, decide on content themes, frequency, goals, objectives and blog direction. For a thought-leadership blog, your typical goals would be to build industry knowledge and be a leading thinker in your business. Any good content marketing agency will be able to guide you on frequency and content themes for your blog based on your company, its products/services, your customer’s expectations and your industry. A stellar agency will even build your editorial calendar for you so you always know which topics to tackle next.

3. Record Your Blog Post

Once you know your content theme for each week, you simply speak into a voice recorder and talk as though you are dictating your blog post. (Hint: Use your smartphone’s built in voice recorder or use a dictation app.) You can pause and re-do as many times as you want. You’ll find yourself getting better with practice. Clarity comes from doing – and the more you record your thoughts, the clearer they will become. Within a few days you should be able to summarize the content of your blog post within 5 minutes worth of audio.

4. Outsource Transcription, Readability and SEO

Next you send your MP3 recording to your outsourced content team. They will then transcribe your audio and add the bells and whistles to your skeletal blog post. A great content team will write your post optimized for the web. They will typically write your post in small, easy to read paragraphs, add hyperlinks to URLs or resources you mention, ensure your keywords appear naturally, add relevant image(s), add sub-headings if appropriate and write a click-worthy headline.

5. Review and Publish

Then they will save your post to your WordPress blog as a draft where, if you like, you can preview, edit or publish the blog post.

Some bloggers will also offer to promote your blog post for you but this usually entails an added cost. You may also want to decide who will be answering comments on your blog post.

Bonus Tip: Once you’ve built up a database of blog posts, your content team should be able to re-purpose those posts and get more mileage from them. For example, they could put together an e-book compiled from your posts on a particular topic. Or maybe they could turn one of your posts into an infographic if you believe your readers like visual data. Or perhaps they could help you put together a slide deck and upload it to SlideShare for even more visibility across channels.

Extra Bonus Tip: If you have some more spare time, you can even record more than one blog post at a time. Or if you have multiple inter-connected ideas, your corporate blogger should be able to fashion two or more blog posts from your audio, thus saving you even more time.

For an example of a recorded corporate blog in action, check out the blog of CEO Bill Marriott.

Now you don’t have to slave over blog content creation for hours or days. You can simply dictate your blog post while on the treadmill, taking a walk, in between meetings, etc without ever having to worry about authenticity, time management or relationship building. Recording your blog posts frees up your time so that, as an entrepreneur, you can focus on doing what you do best!

salmajafri

Salma Jafri

Content Strategist, WordPL

Salma Jafri is the host of (the upcoming) Content Marketing Tips web video series. She blogs about social media, online business, and content marketing. Follow Salma on twitter to get a dose of crazy-mom along with some of the most interesting curated info on marketing.

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Comments

5 minutes still sound like an exaggeration. I'm disappointed.

Good post Salma! You shared something I hadn't read of before.

But, is really the 5 minutes in a week can build-up a community and bring readers to the article? 5 minutes of recording won't be a high quality post that readers want to share on their social networks.

Checkout this presentation http://www.slideshare.net/krhemani/the-content-marketing-approach-to-branding-17175225 and the post I shared on SEJ: http://www.searchenginejournal.com/creating-content-for-links-earning-by-kumail-hemani/59995

- Kumail

Hi Kumail,

Thanks for liking the post! I'd like to address your point about attracting readers and encouraging social sharing. In my view, the main purpose of a thought-leadership blog is not for it to go viral, but it is to do the following:

- present insights that are directly derived from your unique position and advantages

- achieve clarity on your thoughts by writing about them

- generate discussion with other industry leaders to move the idea forward (if its a good one)

- build your personal brand via your blog

Now of course traffic and readership are a large part of the success of any blog. However, what I'm advocating is that by being a thought-leader you main purpose is to put across one concrete, tangible idea to move your industry forward. And you can certainly do that in a few minutes of audio time. 

 

I like your strategy and in fact I'm giving similar advice to clients. Your headline is ridiculous though. I wish we could agree to not be so sensational (and full of it) at SMT. Hate to see our credibility diminished.

Barry, I appreciate that you like the strategy. The headline would only be sensational and presumptious if it were not true. 

Please note I am not presuming that the entire thought process of writing a blog post be distilled down to a mere 5 minutes. In fact, business owners might spend days, weeks and even months thinking and refining their thoughts. But what I am suggesting is when they reach that level of clarity where they can speak their thoughts in a few minutes - that's when this method really starts to work. 

Of course you'll have CEOs who won't be comfortable with speaking their thoughts. Or who might never achieve that state of clarity. Obviously this method wont work for them. As I stated in the article itself, it may take considerable practice to get to this level and it may also not happen at all for some. 

But it is certainly doable for those who have perfected the art of focusing their thoughts to the point where every word adds to the story. Brevity, in my view, is to be celebrated. And a good rule of thumb while writing blog posts is to focus on just ONE key idea per post. Therefore I see this strategy fitting in well with the right group of executives.

 

You know, I wish folks would stop bandying around the term "thought leadership" when what they really mean is content marketing (or worse, content curation). With all due respect, this line shows that you don't really understand what thought leadership is: "For a thought-leadership blog, your typical goals would be to build industry knowledge and be a leading thinker in your business." 

If you believe that to be true, let me ask you this: why not just call yourself an "expert"? Why are we bothering with "thought leader" when other terms like subject matter expert, guru (hate that one!), trusted advisor etc--quite adequately describe what you are suggesting in this article?

Because, as Bob Buday and the folks over at Bloom Group (as well as other knowledgeable commentators on this topic) point out: "(T)hought leadership can help the firm accomplish much more than just getting the market to recognize it as an expert on some issue." Here's the link to that post. 

Sorry to sound so snippy but it's articles like these that are contributing to the continuing dilution of the term "thought leadership." It's not about writing blog posts...and certainly not in 5 minutes a day, for goodness sake! If you want a primer I'd be more than happy to send you a complimentary copy of my book, #Thought Leadership Tweet: 140 Prompts for Designing and Executing an Effective Thought Leadership Campaign. Tactics like blogging are way down the line...what's needed first and foremost are those strategically-focused new insights that cause clients and customers to embrace a new perspective on an unmet need...perhaps one they hadn't even thought about beforehand. 

Oh, btw, good to see Barry Feldman's comment here as I've just read his latest blog post You Are So Not the Thought Leader You Think. How ironic that his post should show up alongside this one on my Google Alert this morning...his line: "Show me someone who calls himself a thought leader and I’ll show you a wanker" could be applied here: "Show me someone who thinks they can write a thought leading corporate blog post in 5 minutes a day, and I'll show you a wanker too."

You go Liz. A very deserved lashing. I too hate how "thought leader" or "thought leadership" is automatically rotated in for "authority" or "expert." This article is really ironic because it presents a good content marketing strategy and has NOTHING TO DO WITH thought leadership and in no way delivers on the MISLEADING HEADLINE.

Wouldn't it be cool if search engine algo's could blacklist stories with this sort of bait and switch? I suspect it was an SEO strategy that inspired the misleading headline to begin with—another blow to  the integrity of content marketing.

Thanks for your reference to my article:

http://feldmancreative.com/2013/03/you-are-so-not-the-thought-leader-you...

Fantastic idea, Barry...and I like you even more already (although the "wanker" reference really sealed it for me -- I am a Brit after all and that's a favorite word of mine, although it's rare that I come across it here in the US, lol).

Yep, I'm on the war-path and yesterday completed a guest post for Source for Consulting's newsletter entitled Are you Really a Thought Leader--or a Content Marketer? which should go out at the beginning of April. I'll send you the link if you're interested. In any event, there's always a silver lining...I got to connect with you here and am grateful for that  :-)

 

Actually Barry, this post was not the result of an SEO strategy, but was in answer to a legitimate business problem I see with many clients and business owners. They want to blog, but honestly do not have the time for it. There's a lot of advice out there for CEOs on how to take out time for blogging and why its important, how to do it right etc etc but I have not seen any advice on recording blog posts as a solution to the dual problems of time management/authenticity. Therefore this post was in direct answer to that. If it acheived some SEO purpose, then well I suppose I'll be happy knowing it reached its intended audience :) Oh and thank you for the plug to your article - not at all self-promotional ;)

Hi Liz,

Thank you for your comment. Before I answer, I’m going to give you the benefit of the doubt and assume that you were having a rough day when you wrote the above. I’m also going to assume that since you have a Google Alert set up for “thought leadership” you probably come across a lot of (useless) banter on the subject which might be the cause for being - as you called it - “snippy”.

Now to the actual valid concerns you’ve raised on the topic.

When I used the term “thought leadership “for this article, I was in no way confusing it with content marketing or curation. I meant the term in its visionary sense - to be a thought leader by presenting insights, angles and thoughts pertaining to your unique position as CEO or executive.

Let me get more specific and discuss people/blogs who, in my view, embody the above characteristics. Mitch Joel is an example that comes to mind immediately. His blog Six Pixels of Separation has all the elements of a thought-leader’s blog. Another person that comes to mind is SAP’s Michael Brenner whose insights are a direct result of his position within the company.

To differentiate thought-leaders from “mere” experts or SMEs, I would say the key difference is one of envisioning the future. If a CEO’s posts are about developing expertise in his industry, then he might be an expert. But if his expertise presents unique insights which could help move the industry forward as a whole, then it falls in the realm of thought leadership.

Consider the blog of Forrester’s George Colony: http://blogs.forrester.com/george_colony/12-10-15-the_mobile_war. This is a perfect example of a thought-leadership blog post, where he is presenting his advice to other CEOs based on his unique position, perspective and mountains of data and research.

Incidentally, this is also a great example of a blog post, the essence of which could be recorded within a few minutes while the finer details of adding accurate statistics and links etc could be the work of his outsourced content team.

I respectfully do not agree with your view that blogs are not a primary vehicle of thought leadership. I could go on about why, but there are many more learned people than myself already exemplifying the use of blogs as a way of putting across inspiring content, so I do not feel the need to debate this here.

And finally, I do find the terminology in your last para to be mildly offensive, but that could be because I’m Asian and we have a much more refined sense of appropriate language, especially while engaging in discourse on a global forum. However, I will still thank you for your comment as it elicited a worthy discussion here and that I’m happy to see.

p.s. I sure do hope you tweak that Google Alert setting!

 

I love a good debate, Salma, so thank you for this thoughtful "rebuttal."

Some further points to ponder:

Let me give you the benefit of the doubt in truly understanding the difference between thought leadership and content marketing, evidenced by a comment made mid-way in your response. However, I could only deduce that you didn't know, based on the fact that your original piece makes no mention of the quality or "visionary" nature of the content being shared. But, then I guess I shouldn't have jumped to conclusions. This is, obviously, a piece on tactics rather than the strategically-focused nature of true thought leadership.

I would still contend, however, that it's not enough to be considered a thought leader just by presenting "insights, angles and thoughts pertaining to your unique role as CEO." But, heck, this issue could go on at length so let's just agree to differ on that :-)

I don't believe I said that blogs weren't a primary vehicle of thought leadership, although you obviously deduced that by reading between the lines. They certainly can be a very useful communication vehicle but I happen to think that actions speak louder than words when it comes to true thought leadership, as examplars including Dove's Real Beauty campaign, Booz and Company's Innovation 1000 Global campaign and IBM's Smarter Planet campaign illustrate. Note the focus on the word campaign...I really do think that thought leaders are too busy showing their clients how to respond to otherwise unmet needs than they are to worry about blogging. 

It's just that I (and other commentators who have made this point) think it's somewhat disingenuous to say that thought leadership blogging can be achieved in 5 minutes a day! Which reminds me of a comment someone once made about the book The One Minute Manager. Sure, you can solve problems in one minute--once you have acquired decades of deep experience and understanding. 

As your response to Barry Feldman demonstrates, the problem your clients are having is finding time to blog -- end of story -- and extrapolating this to thought leadership blogging implies the assumption that just because your client is a CEO or senior executive he/she has the capacity for thought leadership. It is a lot more rare than those self-described folks would have us believe, as Jon Miller points out in this Marketo post: http://blog.marketo.com/blog/2013/02/what-is-the-difference-between-thou...

As to the offensiveness of my final comment, well I guess we Brits just aren't all that refined ;-) I'll suck that one up and say sorry for offending you...I thought it was a rather funny line, personally, and did not require your separate "dig" at Barry who was simply referring to his original post that inspired it! But with the shoe on the other foot, well, I can see how you wouldn't like it.

Final points: thanks so much for asking about my day -- actually it's wonderful and I'm in fine fettle. What I am a little confused by, however, is why a Google Alert set for "thought leadership" would necessary mean I get a lot of useless banter. I do, sad to say, because of this incessant misunderstanding between thought leadership and content marketing. I'm just not sure what else you would suggest I tweak it to. I'm genuinely interested in any advice as to how I might change this, still see everything pertaining to my interest in thought leadership, while cutting down on the misrepresented twaddle that these Alerts invariably curate :-)

All the best to you, Salma, and thanks for taking the time to include those additional, useful references. Yes, I know Michael Brenner who kindly invited me to post a piece as a guest in his recent series on The Future of Marketing (my offering was entitled Is Thought Leadership the Future of Marketing?). It ended up being the top post on SAP's Innovation blog for that week, which was a great honor :-)