Thought Leader Life with Willis Turner (@willisturner) #015

In this episode of Thought Leader Life, Michael and I hang out with thought leader Willis Turner. As a recognized expert in social media marketing and sales, Willis shares valuable insights on how thought leadership can be advanced by being a content curator, by opening opportunities for engagement, and by giving attention to tail marketing and gamification. Willis asserts that thought leadership is doing something relevant to the community. The Sales and Marketing Executives International (SMEI), a worldwide association with presence in 40 countries and where Willis is currently CEO (but he says he is more often its chief content curator), works on making itself relevant by stimulating content development, stirring up dialogue, and getting people to share ideas. Willis points out that SMEI’s blog and its Marketing Talk Radio form the foundation of their content strategy as it creates opportunities to give voice to those who bring relevant content to the community.

The discussion touches on why the use of social media tools, including Twitter, Google+, Facebook and LinkedIn, as well as podcasts, webinars, SlideShare, YouTube, and others, will not be effective without tail marketing. As Willis puts it, “If you’re not engaging, there’s no impact.” I mention my new partnership with Willis as the executive editor of 42 Rules, a book series published by THiNKaha. On this regard, Willis elaborates that writing books helps advance thought leadership, but that thought leaders must know that book sales is just one metric for success. In sales and marketing, a critical advantage of writing books is SEO, or in Willis’s words, “Google Juice.” In today’s world, Google is always answering the phone, either for you or your competitor. Earlier in the interview, Willis said Google can either be a friend or enemy. Google can serve up so much content, but the question remains, “Is that content relevant?” Thus, we go back to how thought leaders play the role of content curators – because it needs human skills, not just computer skills, to be able to bring out content that is relevant to the community.

To learn more about thought leadership and how it can help you be successful, subscribe to the Thought Leader Life channel at

Here are a few “‘aha’ moments” from the episode. See more in the upcoming book, soon to be a part of the THiNKaha app-only book series and watch the interview below!

A thought leader is not just a talking head. He demonstrates thought leadership by doing something really astonishing. #TLL @WillisTurner

If you’re not paying attention to gamification, you’re behind the times. @WillisTurner

It is crucial to make a contribution. At the end of life, the difference you’ve made matters more than the paycheck. #TLL @WillisTurner

When you get retweeted by a big brand, it’s a great opportunity as it opens up a social relationship. #TLL @happyabout

Follow Willis on Twitter at @WillisTurner. Tune into Thought Leader Life every Saturday for more thought-leader goodness!