Contractors’ Questions: Are recruiters asking us to blog to become Thought Leaders?
Contractor’s Question: I know a contractor who’s been asked by two separate agencies to write a few blogs, because apparently such online posts help the candidate stand out to their clients. Is this a common occurrence?
Expert’s Answer: It’s really interesting to see recruiters cottoning on to Thought Leadership, and how that elevates contractors (who engage in this practice) above their competition.
To answer your question – no, it’s not a common occurrence to see recruiters asking contractors to write content, but it is a really good tactic.
So what is this Thought Leadership business?
Thought Leadership is a strategy to elevate one’s business above the competition by presenting the business and its representatives as experts in a certain subject area.
Thought Leadership is also often about developing intellectual property within that subject area, and broadcasting that value to the world.
As an example, our own business has developed a number of highly effective CV and LinkedIn methodologies that help contractors win more work. We have given names to these methodologies and we present these ideas to the world through webinars, blogs and articles. This is Thought Leadership!
And who uses Thought Leadership?
Big names in the consultancy and professional services space such as McKinsey, Deloitte, Cisco and PwC all use Thought Leadership to grow their business. But increasingly smaller companies also use Thought Leadership, to achieve exactly the same!
We have recently worked with two SMEs (a niche translation business and a firm of lawyers), which are each embracing Thought Leadership as a strategy for brand-building and business growth. And as part of that, these firms wanted the LinkedIn profiles of their team transformed. Thought Leadership is an effective strategy for all sizes of enterprise, ranging from nano / micro businesses through to global conglomerates.
Yes, even plumbers! Imagine you were looking to hire a plumber and have two local plumbing suppliers on your shortlist. One plumbing business has a basic website and not much else, but the other company has a website and a whole heap of articles and guides offering advice on ‘DIY’ plumbing tasks. These articles and blogs have been published across the internet by various other organisations, both in the DIY and home maintenance sector. Which one has the better professional footprint? Which one would encourage you to engage their services? The answer to both is obvious.
The act of providing help to others for no material gain is viewed favourably. It has a mysterious power over us as prospective buyers, and it’s clear that it helps the business build a more positive brand identity. Our plumber-wordsmith company is also subtly positioning themselves as experts, whose opinion matters, giving them the edge over the rival. So while it’s not a common occurrence for recruiters to ask contractors to get blogging, it sounds to me like the recruiters in question are ahead of the game!
So what about IT contractors as bloggers and Thought Leaders?
Contractors can, and absolutely should consider the craft of writing about their niche, specialism or area as a way to get their Thought Leadership profile off the ground. After all, clients want to hire temporary resource they can trust, who are experts in their field, who are up for sharing and outlining solutions!
Remember, for busy agencies and decision-makers, separating the wheat from the chaff is difficult at the best of times. So developing a strategy to present yourself as an expert, as a Thought Leader, serves this purpose well. Defining your expertise, developing your own intellectual property and beaming this knowledge to the world will stand you out from the crowd, which is conducive to you winning more work at better rates, more frequently.
For more details and practical help on Thought Leadership, join my upcoming one-hour ContractorUK webinar on 17th February at 7.15pm.
The expert was contractor winning-work expert Matt Craven, managing director of The CV & Interview Advisors.