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Be Irrelevant to 99.9% of the World

I’ve often said that thought leadership is all about narrowcasting to your audience.

It’s true! Thought leadership is the art of being deeply irrelevant to most people.

Think about it strategically. Instead of trying to reach the 99.99% of the world who won’t care about your ideas, focus on the people who need those insights, will be inspired, and will act.

Knowing where your best audience gets their information, talking to them, so they know you understand their challenges, their concerns, and their opportunities, and inviting them to join you in discussion – that’s the way to get an invested, enthusiastic following.

Narrowcasting solves the “Goldilocks Problem.”

Broadcasting an idea in all directions is inefficient; communicating your ideas to anyone and everyone who will listen is like trusting the wind to carry your insights to fertile mental soil. It’s too big!

Pointcasting hand-delivers your thought leadership to one (or a few) important individuals; it’s precise, but only addresses their specific needs. There’s a place for that, but by definition, it’s a more expensive (in both resources and time) way to reach a subset of a key audience. The VIPs.

When you’re trying to expand your audience, pointcasting is too small!

Narrowcasting is a better strategy. Instead of trying to reach everyone, you focus on the decision makers and influencers who care deeply about your insights, and the problems they can solve. Narrowcasting requires you to understand your target audience and serve your ideas in a way that they find deeply relevant. Narrowcasting creates a cooperative relationship, where people want to use and share your ideas. That audience will help you take your ideas to scale.

As Goldilocks says, “This one’s just right!”

When launching an idea, I work hard to get the attention of the enthusiastic 150 people who need that content, and I don’t worry about the 10,000 “vaguely interested” people who might not.

Here are three tips that you can use:

  • Define target avatars for your TL. Who do you want to influence with your ideas?
  • Build personal connections with the people you’re trying to reach.
  • Create every asset with at least one specific person in mind.

Targeting the spotlight like that does a lot to increase a thought leadership idea’s success.

It’s a curious paradox: You achieve more impact by narrowing your focus.

That’s the principle of narrowcasting. You focus on a small group – the right group – in order to produce big impact. Aim your attention toward people who will become passionate about your insight. People who need your idea, will put it into action, and through their passion, will spread the idea to others.

Those people become allies and ambassadors for your idea.

If you’d like to do a “get to know each other” or catch-up call with me, here’s a link to my calendar.

I’d love to talk shop about thought leadership with you.


Bill Sherman

Co-Founder |Org TL