No One Will Know You’re a Leader If You Don’t Start Telling People

If you take a course in “Leadership”, you’ll have a round table discussion on the qualities of a “leader” and it’s highly unlikely that “self-promotion” and “personal marketing plan” will be traits that get brought up. But the context of most traditional leadership discussions are in relation to a immediate, micro-environment that you are working within or traditional, offline spheres of influence.

In the online marketplace, the opportunity to communicate, influence and touch different individuals and organizations exponentially increases; which means everyone can have a voice or an opinion. But that opportunity is in direct relationship with being found online. If you are not found, no one will realize the leadership that you provide, in the industry that you are involved in. From the perspective of search engine rankings, you cannot solely depend on web page content and on-site search engine optimization; you must actively promote, distribute and share your expertise across distribution channels that will get you recognition (and ultimately, inbound links).

Inbound links improve search engine rankings, and inbound links are created by being recognized in the communities that your website is (should) a part of.

Once you begin actively contributing and promoting, this is where traditional leadership qualities become important. Among others, that includes:

  • Empathy – being able to recognize and understand what the needs and situations are in any particular online community.
  • Communication – being able to effectively provide solutions, advice and ideas.
  • Selflessness – sharing your expertise without the need for recognition or reward.
  • Creativity – being able to frame and construct opportunities in a unique manner; recognizing and capitalizing on the opportunities presented.
  • Perseverance – understanding and following your long-term goals (in this case, for your search engine optimization strategy)

If you’re uncomfortable with the initial development of this process, I recommend starting out small and focusing in one or two places of opportunity. Pay attention to a communities’ style of conversation or a blogger’s writing techniques when choosing where to begin and start where the conversation styles are most comfortable. Just because every online marketing blog out there says “Digg” or “Reddit” is the right place to be, doesn’t mean you must just jump right in. There’s nothing worse than getting involved in something without proper examination or understanding and not being successful as a result.

In Summary

  • Online Leadership is about sharing your expertise in the communities related to your business.
  • This idea is often counter-intuitive to traditional discussions on leadership.
  • You must actively contribute and promote, because website content and site optimization are no longer guaranteed to maintain keyword rankings in search.
  • Contributing in the communities your business is related to gets your message in front of the people looking for your solutions, and these people create links to the resources they find of value.
  • It is important to realize that getting these links requires the utilization of traditional leadership qualities, as discussed in mainstream leadership theory.
  • Links from communities related to your industry are what helps improve and maintain search engine rankings for the long term.

What’s your opinion on the relationship between traditional marketing strategy and how innovations and opportunities in web technology have changed the way we think and plan for success? I would love to hear your thoughts and ideas.


2 Responses to “No One Will Know You’re a Leader If You Don’t Start Telling People”

  1. Scott Bradley on September 21st, 2007 7:33 pm

    I really love this concept! I love the quote where you say “If you are not found, no one will know the leadership you provide.”

    As I have learned from my mentors, you have to be willing to stick your neck out and adapt to what happens from there.

    Great stuff!

  2. Derek Edmond on September 22nd, 2007 8:59 am

    Thanks Scott – I appreciate the compliments.

    With so many more touch points affecting the perceived “value” of an online resource, at the least business leaders (or those tasked) need to get involved in the process.

    But in the same line of ideas, I feel it begins to completely alter how we created or developed a marketing/leadership strategy in the first place.