passion to print to podium.

One of the challenges of the professional service firm is being seen in the market as an “expert.” One of the hallmarks of the strong brands in professional service is their thought leadership both in print and on stage. How does the marketing professional help the often introverted expert make the leap from personal passion for the ideas around which they practice and the visibility of publication or presentation?

Several years ago, I had the opportunity to interview marketing expert and author of more than a dozen books, Seth Godin for a cover article for SMPS’ journal, Marketer. Having done several interviews in the past —using a preset list of questions, taking copious notes, and relying on my memory to flush out the article — I called to set up a time for he and I to talk, suggesting I’d need about an hour. Godin called back and suggested I tape our interview, have it transcribed, and then edit the draft conversation into the article.

His comment was, “If I gave you an hour, we’d have another book.” He noted that a typical 30-minute interview, where he spoke — on a topic where he was passionately and intellectually expert — would generate 3,000-4,000 words. As they typical magazine or journal article is 1,000-1,500 words, I would have plenty of raw material to draw from. He was right.

I’ve used that simple method ever since to help take technical staff within my firms, who are reticent about writing for publication, into respected experts, who were then sought after for their expertise by other publications. And, by extension, it gave those same individuals the confidence to present that same content as part of a client-facing industry trade conference.

Use this technique and soon you will have experts visible in your clients eyes, and you brand stronger for the effort.

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I have been active in the building industry for more than 35 years, holding leadership roles in design, project management, marketing, business development, strategic planning, and operations.