The Oracle Effect
In every industry, you’ll find a few people that have mastered the oracle effect. I’m not talking software. I’m talking about sharing wisdom.
It’s also called thought leadership. Think you’re the best at what you do? Start talking about it. Share your wisdom and people looking for that information—typically people in the market to buy what you do—will start to pay attention.
It’s not difficult. All you have to do is to get in front of relevant readers with valuable information. Pick something in your industry that’s difficult to do. Talk about your experience with it and—here’s the important part—how to solve the problem.
I have had several clients uncomfortable with the idea of giving away knowledge: “But our [method, information, process, etc.] is what makes us unique. If we give that away, they’ll be able to copy us.” Do you really think so?
Publishing a technical white paper on the best way to implement wireless security in the workplace, including equipment specs, will not give a potential client everything they need to follow the recipe and actually do it—assuming that they would even want to. A first-time chef can take water, flour, yeast, butter, sugar, salt and follow a set of instructions to the letter but still not come up with first-rate croissants.
Google and even Microsoft now encourage employees to share wisdom through blogging and interviews. Why? Because it reflects well on the company. People think they’re smart, and they think about buying their products.
Another method of establishing yourself as a thought leader is to publish articles. Do it regularly, and forever. Pick a topic in your industry, explain it, illustrate the problem and how to solve it. Trade magazines and even mainstream media are dying for quality content. Keep in mind that non-advertising content is typically worth about 5 times the same space in ads. You’ll get published and new customers will gravitate to you.
Once you gain some credibility, you may not even need to hunt down the opportunities. Just remember: you are not advertising your company or product. You can talk about what you do until you’re blue in the face, but keep it generic. If you work for Rolls-Royce, talk about jet engines all you want—just don’t talk about Rolls-Royce jet engines. Turning your spiel into an advertising campaign will turn people right off.
Make the most of your knowledge and don’t play your cards close to your chest. It’s not poker. It’s more like patience.