You may have heard that it is better to be known for content than it is to simply be known. When I say Good to Great, Execution, In Search of Excellence, Blue Ocean Strategy, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, Blink, or Freakonomics, what comes to mind? To many, it is the thought leaders behind these well-known works.

When you develop compelling and unique content, you become known. Combine that with relevant, practical, pragmatic context in which the consumers of that information can use your content to improve their conditions, and now you’re sought after. You are asked to speak, moderate panels, and share your experiences, unique insights, and independent perspectives. Think of a trade show. You can exhibit there; you can set up a booth and pass out marketing materials. You can attend the show and sit through content sessions. Or you can speak or moderate a panel at the event.

Which do you believe would have the greatest impact on your personal and professional brand?

Each has its respective value, but the last alternative often leaves a much more meaningful and lasting impression. So, how do you get invited to speak? What value do you contribute to the event? What forward-looking or contrarian perspective can you bring? That is your highly valuable and unique content and relevant and pragmatic context.

Content takes research, packaging, and marketing in the form of position papers, published articles, columns, and commercially published books. Content plus context is constantly in demand. Yet people amaze me; many true subject matter experts in their respective fields have never written or submitted their unique perspectives on topics that they are passionate about. What they don’t realize is that by being perceived as thought leaders in their fields, they would create an unparalleled market pull for their respective organizations—and personal brands.

As a mentor often reminds me, ‘‘If you don’t toot your own horn, there is no music!’’ How are you combining content—your unique ideas, insights, and perspectives—with context and applying it to specific situations of others to improve their condition?

To learn more, read Chapter 8 in the revised and updated Relationship Economics paperback edition with 40 percent new content, including an all-new chapter 10 on social media and business relationships (Wiley, Feb. 2011).

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