How To Create A Network of Leaders (and Build Influence on The Web)

By Cheryl Burgess November 15, 2017 0 Comments
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It’s a great time to be a marketing leader.

The past decade has transformed branding as we know it. We have witnessed the rise of social employee advocacy, social selling, and viral-ready content. The new age of branding has changed how employees communicate with each other — and the way they engage external communities.

With so many new approaches to master, it’s no surprise that best-in-class companies have put such a strong emphasis on continuous employee learning. For example, sixty percent of these top-performing companies provide employees with a central content hub for self-directed learning. Since these companies have to get their content from somewhere, why not get it from you?

First things first. To get your content into the news feeds of today’s leading companies, you must first learn to build a network of like-minded thought leaders. A network of like-minded thought leaders will help you extend or amplify your content’s reach. Here are three steps to get you started.

Pick a Content Distribution Platform

Content distribution platform
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Maybe you have an idea that could revolutionize digital branding, or you figured out a new way to incentivize the customer feedback process, or maybe you developed a method to update timeworn sales strategies. Having a revolutionary idea is a great first step.

But the bigger more pressing question is: how do you share all those great ideas?

The first step to getting more traction or exposure for your idea is to find a content distribution platform. Some ideal characteristics of a good distribution platform include one that can:

1. Schedule posts (and reposts) for peak traffic hours during the day,
2. Help you identify and engage the right stakeholder communities, and
3. Help you curate and share related content produced by your peers.

For my content distribution needs, I prefer Triberr. I appreciate their intuitive automation features, not to mention their focus on community-building. Through this platform, I’ve met many wonderful thought leaders through the years!

Find Leaders Who Inspire Others

leaders who inspire
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Speaking of thought leaders, your own credibility as a leader also depends on your ability to surround yourself with other thought leaders. Everyone needs someone to look up to—even marketing leaders like you. Find as many like-minded leaders as you can. Be authentic; don’t build relationships merely to sell to them or gain access to their contacts.

Instead, build relationships based on genuine interest. Some things you can do to spark conversions with other leaders include:

  • Ask them questions
  • Be open to learning from other leaders.
  • Amplify their messages by sharing what you’ve learned with others.

Eventually, you’ll inspire others to learn from you. Once you’ve grown your community, celebrate them.
A good example of celebrating your community is our recent 2017 #OctoLeader Twitter Awards, which co-sponsor Sarah Goodall (@SarahGoodall) and I launched to celebrate marketing leaders on Twitter.

In the end, the #OctoLeader Awards are all about reach, about connecting communities to amplify each other’s message. Leaders like Charlie Patel (@charliepatel) and Zion Kim (@ZionK20) do this exceptionally well. Through their tireless work and advocacy, they’re always bringing people together and making things happen. You can take a note from our 2017 #OctoLeader Twitter Awards if you’re curious about how to effectively celebrate other leaders within your community.

Tell Your Story

tell your story
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Think about some of your favorite thought leaders. Mine are Tom Peters, David Aaker, and David Edelman. With each of them, I know exactly what they stand for and how they share that message. That’s no accident. The best marketing leaders know their story and make it a fundamental part of their message.

It doesn’t matter whether you’re a marketing consultant, upper management at a national restaurant chain, or a local auto mechanic. Your story is your point of difference, the thing that sets you apart from all the other professionals in your field. So find your story, master it, and start sharing it with others. Be known not only as an important thinker in your field and a generous community member but as someone who sees the big picture and is looking to make a real, lasting impact in their field. Keeping your ideas organized with a whiteboard calendar can help get you there.

If you master the three simple tips provided in this post you’ll be able to spread your ideas or message with the help of other influential voices across the internet. More importantly, you will create a lasting, memorable impression for people and companies searching for your leadership voice.

NOTE: This is a guest blog post from community member, author, and marketing leader Cheryl Burgess. Follow her on Twitter.

Cheryl Burgess

Cheryl Burgess, CEO of Blue Focus Marketing, helps clients transform brands from the inside out by implementing strategic marketing initiatives that empower social employee engagement, and social executive leadership. Blue Focus Marketing is a leading Employee Experience (EX) services consultancy, delivering e-learning, employee engagement, content marketing, and social media marketing solutions. She is the co-author of the best selling book, The Social Employee, (McGraw-Hill) How Great Companies Make Social Media Work, hailed by management guru, Tom Peters as a “landmark that converts the power of social media from fiction to fact.” Her book is featured in MIT Sloan Management Review. Learn more about Cherly by visiting her site at

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