Building Your Thought Leadership Brand Is More Than Writing Articles

Thought Leadership starts with getting comfortable with your unique voice and perspective. Much harder than it sounds!

If you’ve seen EQ’s “we’re evolving” house ads running on this website, you might have noticed that we’ve been baking some new products on EQ to launch this summer. Although we’re still baking, I’m pleased to announce a preview of what’s to come is happening tomorrow at Covo.

Join us for EQ’s first flipped classroom pilot and FREE Lunch and Learn event TOMORROW, July 24, 2019 at Covo to discuss “Creating a Thought Leadership Publishing Plan.”

Join EQ for a New Experiment

Earlier this year, I ran a giant experiment to see how the St. Louis business community would respond to leadership training drawn from its own ranks. Our first ever conference, EQ Leadership Labs, highlighted local talent from startup founders to experts and consultants, who shared a multi-disciplinary agenda with national speakers.

The response was awesome. The post conference feedback survey results indicated an extremely high level of satisfaction with the event.

But as all surveys should, the data helped me to set a new direction for the brand too. I got three lingering intuitions validated.

Firstly, I learned that producing more events was definitely of interest to our readers.

Secondly, I was able to answer a big question that had been on my mind. Could EQ develop beyond a storytelling medium to support new learning opportunities? The resounding answer was yes.

And finally, I was able to answer the biggest question of all. Putting our primary beat of entrepreneurship aside, what other types of soft skills development and opportunity creation were of interest to our readers? The overwhelming response was “Thought Leadership.”

Developing “Thought Leadership” and “Brand Advancement” by far outranked demand for more conventional business growth services such as lead generation, job posting and event promotion partnerships. So, that’s what EQ has been working on all summer; toiling in the background to address that need.

And what’s been built is an online training course on Article Writing for Thought Leadership, which will be supported by a regular flipped classroom in-person event. Today, we’re announcing that a pilot of our flipped classroom concept launches tomorrow at Covo.

But What Does Thought Leadership Actually Mean?

Having spent most of my career in various aspects of online marketing and media, from search engine optimization to content channel creation, to media publication, I honestly thought I knew what Thought Leadership meant. It was obvious right?

Well, no, not exactly. Building on the core philosophy of EQ Leadership Labs, which is to spotlight local perspectives, I approached a local expert on the subject, Dixie Gillaspie.

Gillaspie, is the founder of Return To Your Power, and has had articles featured on Forbes and Fox News, wrote a weekly column for, and was an Executive Editor for The Good Men Project, so she definitely knows a thing or two about thought leadership. Also, recently honored as a β€œWoman of the Decade in Enterprise and Innovation” by the Women Economic Forum and currently serving on the WEF Board of Advisors, it was clear that she can walk the talk.

So, you might think her thought leadership advice would start with getting published on big media outlets. It turns out that these are tactics rather than strategies.

Her approach to building a thought leadership program begins with wrangling your thinking into a coherent message, overarching themes, and story structures that are easily relatable by your ideal audience. Only once you’ve got your brain around your “thoughts,” can you progress into producing content calendars, publication plans, and promotion strategies.

Not only a thought leader and a writer, Gillaspie is also a coach and consultant who works with founders and entrepreneurs to develop their personal leadership brand to become the kind of people who, as she says, “naturally, comfortably, and effectively stand up and lead.” Her philosophy is that all leadership is rooted in thought leadership and that all effective leadership depends on the leader’s ability to think and to communicate their thoughts to others.

Creating a Thought Leadership Publishing Plan (Lunch and Learn)

Gillaspie has been working with the Entrepreneur Quarterly team to produce a self-paced course that encapsulates her coaching around leadership and storytelling with her expertise in content and platform building strategies. Tomorrow, she’ll be giving a sneak preview of that material in a live workshop.

On Wednesday, July 24th, Return To Your Power, will host a lunch and learn on the third floor event space at Covo STL.

This workshop takes you through the steps to creating your Thought Leadership Positioning Plan including content creation, choosing the right media outlets, submitting your work, and promoting your published articles. You’ll leave with an outline for your personal plan and a method for brainstorming article ideas.

Participants will also get FREE advance access to the entire Article Writing for Thought Leaders online course, hosted on EQ’s new community membership platform, which includes full coursework materials to continue building your content strategy and publishing plan in your own time.

I hope you’ll join me for our first flipped classroom event at Covo. I can’t wait to show you what EQ’s been baking!

Register here EQ’s first flipped classroom pilot and FREE Lunch and Learn event TOMORROW, July 24, 2019 at Covo to discuss “Creating a Thought Leadership Publishing Plan.” hosted by Return To Your Power

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