Blog PostsStrategyComms StrategyThought leadership as a powerful PR strategy

Thought leadership as a powerful PR strategy

Are you ready to humble yourself in the service of others?

Thought leadership is a powerful PR strategy.

Giving advice is a form of art.

No matter if you’re a leader giving orders, an industry expert giving advice to clients, or a blogger offering insights, there’s more to giving people direction than just telling them what they need to hear.

It’s about giving advice in the spirit of servitude.
And that is what thought leadership is all about.

It’s popular to think that thought leadership is about giving good advice. But giving good advice is only the entrance ticket.

What will transform someone who gives good advice into a thought leader is the willingness and ability to serve.

Why is servitude so important?

“The function of leadership is to produce more leaders, not more followers.”
— Ralph Nader

Thought leadership and existentialism

When it comes to thought leadership as a PR strategy, I often remind myself of the beautiful words of the Danish existentialist, Soren Kierkegaard:

“If one is truly to succeed in leading a person to a specific place, one must first and foremost take care to find him where he is and begin there.

This is the secret in the entire art of helping.

Anyone who cannot do this is himself under a delusion if he thinks he is able to help someone else. In order truly to help someone else, I must understand more than he — but certainly first and foremost understand what he understands.

If I do not do that, then my greater understanding does not help him at all. If I nevertheless want to assert my greater understanding, then it is because I am vain or proud, then basically instead of benefiting him I really want to be admired by him.

But all true helping begins with a humbling.

The helper must first humble himself under the person he wants to help and thereby understand that to help is not to dominate but to serve, that to help is a not to be the most dominating but the most patient, that to help is a willingness for the time being to put up with being in the wrong and not understanding what the other understands.”

And this is the real recipe for success for any aspiring thought leader.

You can find people who aspire to lead. And you can find people who can give good advice. But can you find a person who possesses both of these traits — and are prepared to step into the role of the humble servant?

“Don’t worry about being successful but work toward being significant and the success will naturally follow.”
— Oprah Winfrey

For anyone in a position of superiority, be it a leader or an adviser or both, accepting the role of a servant is the true challenge in thought leadership.

Photo by J W on Unsplash.

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Avatar of Jerry Silfwer
Jerry Silfwerhttps://doctorspin.org/
Jerry Silfwer, aka Doctor Spin, is an awarded senior adviser specialising in public relations and digital strategy. Currently CEO at KIX Communication Index and Spin Factory. Before that, he worked at Kaufmann, Whispr Group, Springtime PR, and Spotlight PR. Based in Stockholm, Sweden.
  1. Excellent post. This is why I am not a blogger. I am a web designer, making simple but useful website templates that I give away for free. The site happens to have a blog, which happens to be one of the most linked blogs in the world. But that’s beside the point. I could do advanced and really cool webdesign stuff like the web design superstars do. But when I started learning, I learned from the simple stuff. And I have learned that a lot of people want basic stuff that they themselves can learn from. It is far from being any kind of wisdom, it is just common sense. Somebody has to do the basic stuff. Just as somebody has to write the common everyday blogs that many people still love to read, even if each such blog only have a few readers. It is helpfulness-optimization, if there can be such a term…

  2. Excellent post. This is why I am not a blogger. I am a web designer, making simple but useful website templates that I give away for free. The site happens to have a blog, which happens to be one of the most linked blogs in the world. But that’s beside the point. I could do advanced and really cool webdesign stuff like the web design superstars do. But when I started learning, I learned from the simple stuff. And I have learned that a lot of people want basic stuff that they themselves can learn from. It is far from being any kind of wisdom, it is just common sense. Somebody has to do the basic stuff. Just as somebody has to write the common everyday blogs that many people still love to read, even if each such blog only have a few readers. It is helpfulness-optimization, if there can be such a term…

    • Inspiring! And by doing so, I also know that you carry a lot of respect in all the right places.

      Helpfulness-optimization. Makes me think of another term, SMO – social media optimization. I think they should be synonymous since, well… sharing is caring!

  3. Yes, it is!

    I’m grateful for all our brief conversations. They always help me think further, broader, deeper. And bit by bit, I feel they contribute to both my personal and professional development.

    Blogging helped me find you. As far as I’m concerned, that alone is something worth blogging for.

    Thank you!

  4. Yes, it is!

    I’m grateful for all our brief conversations. They always help me think further, broader, deeper. And bit by bit, I feel they contribute to both my personal and professional development.

    Blogging helped me find you. As far as I’m concerned, that alone is something worth blogging for.

    Thank you!

    • Likewise Micco! 

      And if nothing else, I find blogging to be a way of giving back to those who share valuable insights. Maybe I can’t add knowledge or insights all the time, but with my own platform, I can at least help good content to get well-deserved attention. And as a blogger, at least I have one thing that no-one else has, and that’s my personal perspective which I can add to the mix. And all the perspectives added together, I think they reveal the true value of being a blogger, a value that goes beyond having tons and tons of readers.

      And for YOU who reads this now; check out https://micco.se/ (SWE), it’s by far the best blog on branding in my Reader!

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