In today’s highly competitive digital economy, experts, leaders, service-based business owners and creative entrepreneurs are constantly searching for new and better ways to boost their visibility, impact and income. However, many overlook one simple yet powerful tool. This article examines 4 reasons why Intelligent (i.e. Thought Leading) Content can yield the best ROI for your enterprise – even if you think there is too much content in circulation already. Read on and share to inspire others. 

  1. The Authentic Alternative: 

When I started my own business several years ago, I struggled with marketing methods like cold calling and could not afford to spend a fortune on fancy advertising. Having honed my writing talent since I was 4 years old, I communicated my message to an ideal audience through stories, thought leadership articles, presentations and other forms of content. It worked! Soon I was being interviewed on BBC programmes (including a documentary), featured in newspapers, respectable training journals and high-traffic blogs.

Even better, sales conversations became easier. In fact some prospects began to pro-actively enquire about my high-end services and enrol themselves into them. I was even more humbled when a client paid thousands of dollars, jumped on a plane and flew all the way from a different country to attend a Consulting Day with me. Today, like many other consultants who have awoken to the possibilities, I work with clients across Europe and North America from my base in the UK. None of this would have been possible without the opportunity to share thought leadership content with a global audience via the digital platforms freely available today.

The point is that I aligned with the methods that came most naturally to me. Often-times, we are bombarded with numerous tactics and think we must deploy them solely because others have achieved results. However, although attainable results are an important consideration, replication is more likely when we consistently and passionately show up throughout the implementation process. But how can people be passionate for any length of time about things that do not really interest them? In my opinion, every human being is a content creator. Babies slide out of the womb triumphantly screaming ‘content’ and even unschooled children are pretty decent story tellers. In contrast, many people struggle to excel in sales despite years of training and practice.

Furthermore, thought leadership comes more naturally to entrepreneurial people because in essence, entrepreneurs disrupt convention and inspire a new way of productively living in the world. If you are an entrepreneur (especially a creative entrepreneur) you are already poised to win in the content marketing arena. To rise above the noise, re-frame the unique ideas you are already sharing on a daily basis (with colleagues, clients, partners or even family members) in a context that is applicable to a wider audience. To create a global thought leadership platform, you’ll need to leverage what you know on a bigger scale.

For instance, Tim Ferris developed various ideas while working 14-hour days at BrainQUICKEN (a nutritional supplements start-up he founded) and leveraged his personal escape from a workaholic lifestyle into a book titled The 4-Hour Workweek. The success of the book helped him launch and grow a thought leadership platform that has led to significant global visibility, impact and income. Tim has since published several other New York Times and Wall Street Journal best-selling books and invested in companies such as StumbleUpon, Evernote, Uber, Facebook and Twitter.

Whilst it can be argued that a 4-Hour Workweek (and Tim’s seemingly overnight success?) are not feasible for everyone, many unusual ideas are designed to get people thinking about broader concepts in order to create practical solutions more tailored to their needs. For instance, stressed out entrepreneurs can explore ways to shave a 40 hour work week down to 14 hours – or perhaps alternate the typical work week with indulgent dedication to personal interests.


  1. The Platform for Leverage:

It’s no secret that digital media is changing the economic landscape – probably faster than the speed of your Wi-Fi connection. According to research, 61% of Internet users research products online (Interconnected World) and 81% of U.S. consumers trust information and advice from blogs (Blogher).

Whereas humans originally congregated in physical communities (village square, watering hole etc.), the digital space is increasingly becoming the leading destination for recreation, information and transformation. The autonomous nature of blogs in comparison to mainstream media channels also means that prospective customers are probably more likely to make a purchase based on ‘digital street cred’ than traditional advertising endorsement.

Yes, there is already an enormous amount of content available but the reality is that humans have an insatiable appetite for it. Music aficionados want their favourite musicians to release new music even though there is an abundance of music already. Voracious book readers want the next best thriller. Film watchers want the next blockbuster and people with the problems you can solve are searching online for solutions every single day. That said, productised thought leadership content needs to be structured in certain ways and combined with effective systems and support in order to command premium prices.


  1. Free or Low Entry:

Neil Patel, a Seattle based angel investor and analytic expert (with a client portfolio that includes Microsoft, Inc. and General Motors) has described today’s digital media platform as “the lowest cost way to build an audience and turn them into customers.” He should know after using a tight budget of a few hundred dollars to generate over $100,000 in traffic and new customers for a client. Such results can be typical for those who use effective strategies consistently – be they small business owners or corporate leaders. “Blog consistently…” is Neil’s top tip, “and make your content useful and sharable.”

The same principle of consistency served Pete Cashmore well when he launched at the age of 19. A tech aficionado at a time when mainstream interest in digital media was in infancy, Pete grew his readership from zero to 2,000,000 within 18 months mainly by cranking out 1 to 5 top quality articles per day (in the first year when there were no advertisers).

In 2012, Mashable was valued at $200 million and has grown in leaps and bounds since hiring a writing and editorial team. Compared to traditional media platforms (such as TV, Newspaper and Radio) which typically demand an advertising outlay worth thousands of dollars, new media platforms can be set-up at little or no cost and powered for free using relevant thought leadership content.

However, free entry does not mean that participation requires nothing. Content creation is notoriously labour intensive and publishing is becoming even more competitive. Furthermore, thought leadership requires even those who have the natural potential to carefully develop that potential and boldly take the stage. It may not be easy but with the right systems and support, worthwhile results can be achieved.


  1. Authorship and Legacy:

Whilst most people have little or no subsequent use for newspaper and TV adverts, your thought leadership content can serve as an enduring body of work in its current format and can be profitably leveraged in multiple complementary formats. For instance, articles can be compacted into reports or expanded into books of various sorts. This is a great way to reach new audiences, enhance your professional credibility and pass on knowledge to future generations in a more organised and tangible form.

According to Kira Henschel, founder of HenschelHAUS Publishing, Inc. “The major reason why people write books is because they want to leave a legacy when they inevitably pass on.”

Thought leadership content can either work quietly alongside your existing business development infrastructure or take centre stage in your arsenal – attracting clients, partners, speaking invitations and life-changing opportunities from far and wide whilst you focus on other concerns. The key is investing the time and soul into creating and publishing top-quality evergreen content rather than topical copycat gunk.

In Summary:

We have examined 4 reasons why thought leadership content can significantly boost your visibility, impact and income – provided you create and publish it in the right way. We have also identified that lack of time and know-how are perhaps the most common obstacles to success in this endeavour. However, such obstacles are not insurmountable and discerning experts and leaders will do well to thoughtfully claim their share of the digital market space.

Recommended Resource:

Would you like to Increase Your Expert Status, Impact and Income? Are you too busy building your business to spend countless hours creating content? You are not alone. That’s why this Free Blueprint pulls back the curtains on the Secret Strategies The Top 2% of Experts Use for Creating Income-Generating Content – in Record-Breaking Time!

If you want to leverage your time and create more freedom in your service-based business, Click Here!

Thanks so much for reading and sharing our content!

Creativity in BusinessDo you run a creative or service based business online or off? Do people keep asking what exactly it is you do and how you are different from others (no matter how many times you explain)? Do prospective customers gasp in shock when you mention your prices yet happily buy the more expensive options offered by your competitors? Do you struggle to attract clients, collaborators and the media attention you need to take your business from local to global?

Well, let’s face it, differentiation is getting harder and harder these days. For starters, technology has made it easier to start a business with as little as a website and a mobile phone. Thanks to Google, everyone can be an ‘expert’ and with millions of job seekers exploring self-employment, the market is as competitive as ever. Whether you are a lawyer or a coach, a consultant or a blogger, there are far too many people doing exactly the same thing you do. That’s why this article shares some helpful insights, real life stories and strategies to help you STAND OUT better in your crowded market. Do read on and share to inspire others.  

** Introspect and Project! **

STANDING OUT in business always begins with looking inwards, embracing and then projecting one’s unique character traits, stellar skills and life-defining experiences. Every human being on the face of the earth is distinct. Add to that, the unique mix of experiences and influences we all have and it would be impossible not to stand out. The problem though is that many people lack sufficient self awareness, neither value nor explore their full spectrum of abilities and feel immense pressure to conform. Whilst the majority cower in the shadows of convention, the few who cut against the grain are certainly reaping the rewards.

Some Examples of Real Businesses that STAND OUT and Create BuZZ around the world:

1. Painting The Town Red: ‘Red Shoes Coaching’

Creativity in Business

(c) Red Shoes Coaching

Based in Sheffield; England, ‘Red Shoes Coaching’ certainly does a good job when it comes to standing out from the crowd. According to founder, Kay Gill, inspiration struck one day whilst having lunch with a girlfriend. Upon discovering that many women regard red shoes as a symbol of confidence, excitement and vitality, Kay created coaching services that inspire more ‘red shoe’ moments for her audience – namely professionals of both sexes as well as business owners.

This is just one of many good examples of how to carve out a niche without slicing oneself out of the market. What do Red Shoes Coaching do? Well, essentially the same work as everyone else – yet the company’s ‘how and why’ has created a paradigm shift and a brand that is bold, exciting and memorable.

2. Blogging Boldly: Dooce, Forleo and ‘Truth About Cars’ in the Smitten Kitchen?

Creativity in Business

(c) Smitten Kitchen, The Truth About Cars

With millions of websites and blogs competing for eyeballs, the stakes are higher than ever. Voted one of the top blogs in the world by the publishers of Time Magazine, The Truth About Cars serves up super-feisty automobile reviews mixed with thoughtful social commentary about cars plus car-related history and politics. Quite an eclectic mix there but when it comes to standing out, contrast can be a good thing especially if you know how to balance out the elements.

On the other-hand, foodie blog, The Smitten Kitchen has garnered multiple awards and reviews from The New York Times, Martha Stewart Living, InStyle Magazine and Forbes to mention a few, thanks to it’s author’s personable writing style garnished with stunning food photography.

Creativity in Business

(c) Dooce, Marie Forleo

When Heather Armstrong got fired over her blog well over 13 years ago, she cleverly turned Dooce into a full time income stream for herself, a husband and two children. The winning formula is Heather’s ability to serve up the highs and hiccups of everyday life on the platter of her personality. Whereas most people feel conflicted about their multiple talents, Marie Forleo has whipped up hers (choreography, dance, marketing and life coaching etc.) into a hugely popular video blog. She is upfront about her occasional swearing and double-entendres not being everyone’s cup of tea (not my preference either). However, it is her quirky and lively manner that make her branding pop and attracts her ideal audience in droves.

You will notice that by mining their personality and life experiences for inspiration, these bloggers have distinguished themselves in a fiercely competitive blogosphere – attracting tons of traffic, opportunities and multiple streams of business income. From a branding perspective, they are very interesting. Although the raw materials are in abundance, standing out in this way can be one of the scariest things you can do. It takes courage and some hand holding along the way.

3. Redefining Virginity: Richard Branson

Creativity in Business

Outstanding marketing will attract the right customers to your business but it takes a lot more than that to create buzz and keep those customers eating out of your hands. When I asked my facebook community to name businesses that inspire them, Virgin was definitely a front runner. In-fact those who responded spoke passionately about the free upgrades, champagne and chocolates they had received on Virgin Airline flights whilst exclaiming ‘Virgin rocks’.

Conceived in 1970 by Sir Richard Branson, the Virgin Group has gone on to grow successful businesses in sectors ranging from mobile telephony, travel, financial services, leisure, music, holidays as well as health & wellness. Across its companies, Virgin employs approximately 50,000 people, in 34 countries and global branded revenues in 2011 were around £13bn ($21bn). Thumbs up to Richard, who has infused personal qualities (such as friendliness and a penchant for adventure) into his company culture.

4. Cooking Up A Storm: Akhaya Cookery School

Creativity in Business

Featured on CNN, TimeOut and various publications, Akhaya Cookery School is hailed as the first cookery school in London to dedicate itself solely to African cuisine. Customers can’t seem to stop talking about it’s interactive cookery classes which explore the historical and cultural influences behind some of today’s popular African dishes. For instance, ‘Follow the Spice Trail’ – a two-day course (priced at £250 per head) takes its inspiration from the ancient spice routes of Africa, as well as those crossing Arabia, the Far East and India. Students typically get a welcome glass of wine, all ingredients, a copy of the school’s recipe book and the choice to take their cooking home. These imaginative courses, workshops and private classes offer a fresh and exciting cultural experience. Award winning founder and head chef, Jennifer Okpapi, originally Nigerian, says Akhaya is her middle name and means UNIQUE!

Sometimes it’s not enough to mention where you come from on your website. This is a great example of how cultural heritage can be leveraged to make almost any business STAND OUT from the crowd. Sadly many of the businesses I come across neglect the wonderful opportunity to create outstanding and exciting products, services, branding and ethics simply by weaving in cultural undertones when appropriate.

5. Milking It Big Time: Moo.Com

Creativity in Business

(c) Moo.Com

And last but not least, Moo.Com merits a mention for its use of technology to create products that pop. In the not so distant past, business cards were mainly one sided creatures. Thanks to MOO’s invention aptly dubbed, ‘Printfinity’, a different design (text and images) can be printed on the back of every single card in the pack whether you order 50 or 5,000 cards. Use this to show off your design portfolio, your range of products and services or maybe just more information about what you do. Remember, it’s not enough to ‘Distinguish Your Business!’, you’ve got to creatively communicate your uniqueness too. These top quality cards can make a great conversation starter helping people to remember you and your brand.

In Summary:

Differentiation is getting harder and harder in today’s global economy. Whether you’re working on your branding, products, books, blogs, social media, company culture or customer service, bland is no longer enough.

  1. Think about your person, passion, skills and life experiences. What is unique about you? And how can you infuse more of that into your business?
  2. Think about your audience. What keeps them awake at night? What do they need the most from you and how can you provide this in a fresh, compelling and cost-effective way?
  3. Think about your peers. What are they doing? What appears to be working? How can you bring more value and excitement to your marketplace?

Go ahead and think about it. Then please share your answers or experiences in the comments box below!

Additional Resources:

If you enjoyed this article, you will LIKE our ‘Inspire in Business Event!’ – packed with tips and strategies guaranteed to help you ‘STAND OUT in Your Crowded Market’ without costly trial and error. To get a free ticket to this global event, GO HERE

Thanks so much for reading and sharing our content!

7 Ways to Double Your Profits in 30 Days with Intelligent Digital Marketing!


Many experts and leaders today have their hands full trying to create Intelligent Content on a regular basis. To make matters worse, not a lot of them are getting the results they want. Are you investing 3 to 5 hours on a single article only to get a handful of likes and shares but no client enquiries let alone any sales? Are you spending the whole day on social media with little or nothing to show for it? If so, you are not alone. In this article, I share just some of the mind-set shifts and methods I have used to generate hundreds of subscribers each time, happy-to-pay clients and lucrative longer term contracts using digital marketing.

0 comments Read more →