Jon Michail's Personal Branding Masterclass

Unmasking Authentic Thought Leadership: Beyond Content Production

October 26, 2023 Season 2 Episode 101
Jon Michail's Personal Branding Masterclass
Unmasking Authentic Thought Leadership: Beyond Content Production
Show Notes Transcript

In this episode, Jon explains the difference between content production and authentic thought leadership. Discover why follower count isn't the key metric and how building meaningful relationships with your audience matters most.

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Twitter: @jon_michail
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Podcast Editor and Producer: Ana Carolina Alves 

Additional Voice: Charles The Voice 

Music: Have a Smoke by Crowander (CC BY 4.0)


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Welcome to Jon Michail’s Personal Branding Masterclass. Jon is the founder and CEO of image group international, an award-winning image consulting and personal branding pioneer established in 1989. This podcast will bring you old-school wisdom, inspiring ideas, strategies and hacks for the new tech world. Here you will learn everything about personal branding: the system, the techniques and the right mindset to have a successful personal brand, image and reputation.

Hi, everybody, and thank you for being here today. Before we begin, I kindly ask you to connect with me on social media with Twitter is John on the line, Michael? Well, LinkedIn is John Michael. And you can find me as image Group International on Facebook. Okay, so let's get this show on the road. Today, I'll be sharing about the difference between being a content producer and an authentic thought leader. It's a big conversation because of course content is king and queen on social media online. And of course, it's important that you know about this, but I want to give you distinctions. In today's digital age, we know it's easy to get caught up. In the numbers game. We see people, millions of followers on social media, and we think that we need to have that many followers to be successful. In our experience that is wrong. As a Pulitzer winning author, Herbert beat swipe once said, I cannot give you the formula for success, but I can give you the formula for failure, which is try to please everybody. The fact is follow accounts is not the most important metric, and actually can be destructive. And I'll explain what that means. What truly matters more than ever is the quality of your leads, and the relationships you have with them. So what I mean by that is, you can have basically 10 Great follows 10. Right? That specifically, depending on what business you're in, or I am talking about mostly service type businesses here, as opposed to online, retail businesses, that's a different conversation. Yes, in reference to that, you definitely need a lot more followers. But from the point of view of service businesses, consulting businesses, poaching businesses, any relationship type businesses, what matters more, is the quality of the audience and the relationships you have with them. And what that means is the number you have, it's about nurturing those relationships, you know, and obviously building and cultivating those relationships over time. So if you want to be a thought leader, you need to focus on building real relationships with your audience. So if you're looking at quick hits, you're gonna be in trouble with that one. Because these things do take time to build authentic relationships. It's not a Facebook link, it's specifically you got to do some work around that. And I'll explain to you what that means. So engaging in genuine conversations is one of those things, responding to comments, get into your followers, on a personal level, these are all important. And these can be done on socials. 

But also just as important, can be done through email. Definitely snail mail, but a lot of people think it's 100 years old, okay. It's still very powerful when done well, and of course, face to face. You know, that's how you're going to build relationships. So the key here is, of course, you're thinking, Well, John, I haven't got time to do that. How can I have so many meetings with people and so well, that's how you're going to build authentic relationships. And this is, this is a key, especially if, as I said, if you're running a relatable type of business, and you're also customer centric from that perspective, so you're going to have to basically do some of the hard yards. So when you build these sort of kind of relationships, though, this is the key, you create a loyal community of people who value your insights and expertise. And overtime, want more, you know, and I can only talk from personal experience, having been doing the work that I've been doing for over 34 years, personal relationships are everything, because you got to understand as a coach, people come and see you, they share a lot of private, personal, and times all sorts of things that are going on in their lives that they might be having, have not shared with anybody, including the therapist, that and this is a key. So you know, somebody can only do that when they trust you and they feel safe and feel that they're not gonna be let down. And this is very, very important. So click that a sociopathic type of temperament that really doesn't care about people. What I'm saying to you right now will actually not be landing it's got it'll be probably upsetting you. Relationships are the key here and I can't stress this enough like we shared in our other episodes. So another important difference between content producers and thought leaders is the quality of the content. This is essential thought leaders focus on delivering original high quality ending impactful content that provides value to their audience. Okay, so this is the key words, original, high quality, and impactful, you know, original does not mean like an artist, right? Everything can be repurposed. But of course, you got to put original thinking into it. Otherwise, you're going to be in trouble, trust me on that, I can pick very quickly, okay, if your content is original, or fake. So, if that's the case, then you are trusted for your opinions. And if you can do that, okay.

And this is where you don't have to do this every day, like social media, or every week, like social media expects you to, then you're building an audience that definitely values, your insights and your wisdom. So thought leaders don't just turn out content for the sake of it. This is what digital agencies do with their marketing, right? Every day, boom, boom, if you really think about it, and put your critical thinking skills on, really, how are you making a difference on the planet by doing that, you know, other than you're trying to game the system, right? Unfortunately, I get it, why people do that as well, because the system is fairly game from the start. So they're trying to obviously manipulate it to get better results. I'm not saying any of that is wrong. All I'm saying is the smarter ways to do that. So thought leaders also take the time to research the topics, write well crafted articles, and then create the visuals, of course, that are essential, at times, six times more powerful than the words that are both informative, and of course, engaging. And if you don't believe me on that, just have a look at any magazine, just have a look at any newspaper, just have a look at a TV show. It's all image, the words are secondary, because the images is what stays in the mind the words quickly forgotten. So first of all, I want to explain that in some of the things to do. First of all, all I say is don't write AI generated content. If you do that, over time, you're going to be in serious trouble. I mean, over time, very quickly. In the end, it's not about how many likes and followers you have I made that clear a numerous episodes prior to this. It's about the impact you make on the world. So how are you solving your client's problems? Right now? For instance, if it's business business, and you've got business clients, they obviously might be having problems. Some businesses are some businesses are doing very well, thank you very much. This is where you got to find the problems. If it's, you know, executives, specifically, how they dealing with problems in the workplace, how are they dealing with a team members? And how, of course, are they leading? What's the problems there, of course, a lot of problems there as well, because of all the changes and confusion going on in society. Another problem might be also dealing with all the stress and anxiety and all that sort of stuff that's going on today, as well. Again, this is all sorts of things that are important that you're conscious of that you're really intuitive, and have a feeling around that. Because if you can't pick the problems and how you can offer solutions. So thought leaders are not just interested in getting attention. They want to use their platform to make a difference. That's my experience, certainly with thought leaders, they want to inspire others challenge the status quo. And of course, create positive change. If you think about it, life is too short. You come to this pilot, you get hooked into all sorts of distractions, shiny toys, and all the other stuff that comes with that. And of course, at times you forget why you're here. And everyone's got a different reason why they might be here. Some people have not even thought about that. 

Okay, but becoming a thought leader in all of this is not easy, because you got to think that's you got to think and most people as we know, don't think they just operating on automatic and that's a reality. We know that otherwise colts and all the other stuff that exists out there would not be so prevalent, such a become a thought leader. It takes some time, certainly effort and a commitment, but it's all worth it. And I'm talking from experience on this because again, I definitely attempt to practice what I preach. It's rare as hen's teeth, though, to be an authentic thought leader, if you have not done the work, so you can't fight this right? You just can't fake this. When I'm talking about authentic, you will be found out very quickly. Right so the key here is to put the work in and this is the key here because we're social media right now. And tech, every man and his dog is attempting to be a thought leader that has not done the yards you know and use a lot of funny stories in the past you know the young guy in his grandmother's basement pretending have rich and wealthy selling all these money courses showing off his Lumberg Any, or yachts and salt, and it's all a show. Remember, I've been an image, Mike for a long time. So I've seen that in many situations, and I've actually been with clients that have actually attempted to do that sort of stuff. So it's not new. To me, it's as obvious as that they when somebody does that, and of course, it's no different to politician grabbing a baby at election time, is similar optics. So thought leaders have power to change the world and authentic thought leaders. That's the key here. That's certainly my mission is to inspire others to make a real difference. And of course, leave a lasting legacy. And a final reminder, it's not about how many likes of followers you have, it's about the impact you make on the world. And of course, that means business and personal and personal means also your family. So think how you solving your client's problems. That's it for today. It's a subject that I think about every day solving people's problems. And of course, what that does is really empower you to certainly think differently, think very, you know, at times strategically and definitely with a contrarian mindset. If you want to explore more about this topic, I suggest you also listen to past episodes. They were How does thought leadership benefit your business, and one of the others was how to use social media to truly grow thought leadership. So thank you again for tuning in. And remember, if you're ready to elevate yourself as a thought leader and need some guidance, feel free to contact me. You can find my contact details in the episodes description. I thank you again and until next time, cheerio.

Jon Michail’s Personal Branding Masterclass Podcast is sponsored by Image Group International, a global team of practical, digitally savvy personal brand and image strategists based in Australia, committed to maximizing your impact, influence and authority in the business world. To learn more and apply for your personal coaching, seminars and group workshops, please visit or call 1800 631 311.