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Sat Series: If you’re a listed leader, you need to be public.

If you’re the CEO or on the Board of a listed company, having a public profile is essential. And if you’re not that senior yet (but want to be), then that applies to you too. 

If you don’t want a public profile, it’s honestly worth thinking about a different role or a different (private) company. It’s such an important part of the job and it’s usually overlooked or talked out of by “if I do the right thing and build a good business, the market will notice and our share price will increase”. 

Sorry, but no

The saying, “build it and they will come”, has been debunked time and time again. You need to get out and tell your story. It’s not just part of the job, it’s in your investor's best interest and therefore it’s essential.

That’s why I say if you want to be the top dog in a listed company, you’ll need to be public. And now that we know why we need to do it, the question is, are you doing enough?

I’m here to tell you there’s only one answer to that question. No. 

Controlling your message, amplifying that message and doing it consistently is the reason Bezos bought the Wall Street Journal, Musk bought Twitter, and Murdock is more feared than most heads of state. 

So, if we aren’t doing enough, what can we do?

The goal here is to think about it as a journey, rather than a destination. You want to simultaneously move to increase your reach and audience or improve the understanding of your story. If you can do both, that’s even better. 

Let’s try this simple visualisation. 

There’s a lot to work on from a potentially standing start. So here are three things to keep in mind when looking to grow your impact. 

(1) It’s not what you know, it’s not who you know, it’s who knows you. 

Each of us has dozens (if not more) of parasocial relationships, where you know a lot more about someone than they know about you. 

  • If you’re into the AFL, you can probably talk at length about certain players, their career, their style, highs and lows, and how they played in that grand final.

  • If you’re into movies or politics, you can probably talk about Arnold and his transition from bodybuilding into movies and then politics. 

But these people don’t know you.

Similarly, you don’t need to know everyone who follows, listens to, or is influenced by you.

(One of the big ones for me here is Sam and Shaan from the My First Million podcast. I have listened to these guys talk for >200 hours, so I know them well - but they won’t know me from a bar of soap!)

In order to build your public profile, you need to be willing to accept that a lot of people will know a lot about you, and you might not even know who they are.

(2) More awareness = more market share. 

This is marketing 101, and the cliches are thick here. 

“You can’t sell a secret”. 

“There is no such thing as bad publicity”.

“If a tree falls in the forest”.

The truth of the matter is you need to be out there. This is never a job done, you need to constantly move along each line, reach and care, and even better if it’s both at the same time. 

The rule in marketing is called “excessive share of voice” or ESOV. For brands, it’s a proven metric for increasing market share and if you have ESOV, you will grow. So make sure you’re getting out there, more and more, and make sure you’re always working on the content. 

Having people who support your content is useful too (those fast followers), so I’ll commit. 

If you posted on LinkedIn, send me a note (LinkedIn, text, email) and I’ll jump on and give it a like and comment to help get it moving. 

(3) Document over create.

I remember watching Gary Vee with a camera crew following him around, years ago. He posed it like this, “Don’t create, just document. You don’t know what’s going to be interesting for other people”.

And I think that’s spot on. You’ll find it hard to gauge interest in your own work, from your own perspective. So rather than trying to pick and choose what will get virality (or what will hit certain algorithms), just document and tell your story.

Do it often, and do it consistently. Hell, I’ll go do it now. 

Ok, I am back. I just wrote and posted this. Will it go viral? Unlikely. Will it be useful? Maybe. I can’t see it being harmful. I will probably get a couple of people connecting off it, I will get some more share of voice in people’s day. That will mean more people are on my journey. It is a silly but simple example.

I think the summary here is:

  • Do more, more often. 

  • Tell more people, and spread the word. The more of that you do, the better at it you will get. 

  • Compounding is real - you just can’t feel it at the start.

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