Lead With Your Best

The following post was published on the Marketing Executives Networking Group (MENG) Blend site on January 20 and almost no one noticed. I'm giving it another airing here on the chance that it might persuade you, someone, anyone to think twice about using ordinary content to make an off-domain impression.

A couple of years into our grasp of “social media,” can we agree that the saying “fish where the fish are” is mainstream (and forgive the accidental and not altogether perfect pun)?

Lately, I find myself imploring people with a different line: “Lead with your best.”

Just for a moment, let’s pull ourselves out of the mindset of the digital marketer eager to use social media to advance a business agenda. Let’s consider a purely (although not without agenda) social setting in the neighborhood. When asked to bring something as a guest to a dinner party, aren’t you likelier to bring a much loved favorite dish or a proven bottle of wine? Isn’t the inclination to lead with your best—and prepare to accept the attention and acclaim likely to follow? © claireliz - Fotolia.comMy peeps in the investment management business understand this in traditional media. When CNBC calls, it’s not the junior analyst who’s made available for an interview, it’s the high-powered strategist or in-the-money portfolio manager. CNBC wouldn’t want anyone else.

But even as we all nod that content wants to be free and that the fishing should be done where the fish are, the online reflex still seems to be to hoard the best content. The brand that is asked to participate off its own domain will invariably be asked for it best. You are going to be asked for your best blog post to republish or for your top subject matter expert to participate in someone else’s webinar panel.

To grant the request might seem out of the question. Your instinct might be to contribute something less than the best. But think twice. You’ll need to vet the appropriateness and value of a requesting online property. This will take some work and few, if any, will pack the wallop of the equivalent of a CNBC. But I’d argue that this work is a better use of your time than the work involved in locking up and preserving content and thought leadership for the smaller audience that you already know how to attract on your own domains.

Being social is about being expansive and participating with confidence. As in, “Like that recipe? We have lots more where that comes from.”

Of course, your brand has much to give. What could happen if you start giving away the best? In this new year, is there a qualified chance you might be willing to take?