To get to the C-suite, you need a significant amount of visibility in your professional network. A recognizable name means that companies will think of you when it comes time to hire a new C-level executive, because visibility keeps you on the radar. While making yourself visible requires dedication and diligence, it is not impossible. One of the best methods for becoming more recognizable is to create engaging content and publish it in relevant journals and magazines, make it available online, or present it at conferences. It’s also a good idea to maintain a professional presence on social media sites, especially LinkedIn, which is the most popular social network among top-level business leaders. Conveniently, LinkedIn also provides a platform for publishing content if you don’t have your own website or blog.
The following tips serve as a preliminary guide for creating the type of content that will get you recognized by C-level decision-makers.
Offer a fresh perspective.
Reaching the C-suite involves a great deal of hard work, but also intelligence. People who become C-level executives have amassed an incredible amount of industry knowledge over the course of their careers, and this level of intelligence is a large factor in why they got their job in the first place. In addition, modern C-level executives are constantly continuing to learn and seeking out content that offers them something new and interesting to consider.
Impressing C-level decision-makers with your content involves teaching them something that they did not already know, as well as something that they could not have learned from their team. While this may seem like a tall order, offering something new can be as simple as providing a take on an important issue from a previously unrepresented point of view.
Content that is watered-down, repetitive, or trite will make C-level executives—and any else who reads it—feel like their time was wasted. This type of content will likely give you a bad name. While ideas are naturally recycled in the business world, always strive to add something new and meaningful with each piece of content that you release.
Develop a content niche.
You can most readily teach C-level executives something new if you focus on specific niches within your field. When people start to think of you as one of the leading experts in that particular niche, you increase your visibility exponentially. Choose one or two specific niches to focus on, and create content that examines the relevant issues from a variety of different angles. Importantly, don’t choose niches at random, or just because they seem popular—if you pretend you’re an expert on some topic you really don’t know much about, people will see through you. Instead, identify the topics that interest you and that are closely related to the work that you do. In many ways, developing your presence in a specific content niche is part of building the unique brand that will help you advance to the C-suite.
Your niche does not have to be narrowly defined. Perhaps you are particularly interested in innovation and how to drive creativity in the workplace. When you explore how to encourage creativity in your particular industry, or in a specific workplace context, you’re addressing a topic that many C-level executives care about.
Once you have chosen one or more niches to focus on, spend some time investigating what others have said on the topic. You may find that the topic is already saturated and that you have nothing new to say, in which case you may want to shift your focus until you find something fresh and engaging to add. Keep track of how other people interact with your content and pay attention to people who start writing on the same topic.
Capture the reader’s attention.
Several factors determine whether a piece of content will capture the reader’s attention. When that reader is a C-level business leader, you should primarily focus on supporting your claims with data. While personal opinions can create meaningful content that is interesting to read, the pieces that typically appeal the most to C-level executives are those that are built on solid, quantified evidence. As much as possible, find data to support your claims and point to your sources. Doing so will build your credibility, which is a crucial element in commanding someone’s attention. As readers associate your name with well researched and supported arguments, they’ll be more likely to read the next piece you write, attend your next conference presentation, and search out more content from you online.
Catching the reader’s attention also depends on providing actionable tips. Every piece of content that you create should have a bottom line of how to apply the ideas in the real world. C-suite readers will actively look for these actionable items and may dismiss your piece if such information is missing. After all, new information loses some of its luster if it cannot be applied in a practical way. In the business context, you should ultimately strive to connect actionable items to improvements in the bottom line.