Why thought leaders need your help – and how they can help you!

In the latest in our series of blog posts by CommsDirect speakers, Grant Butler – founder and managing director of Editor Group- writes about the relationship between you and your thought leader and how it is beneficial for both.

This is just a quick post to say I’m looking forward to speaking at the upcoming CommsDirect conference and introduce my take on thought leadership.

I run an agency called Editor Group, which provides writing, editing, proofreading and strategy services to business and government clients in Australia and Asia.

In my former life, I was a journalist at The Australian Financial Review and a few other places (giving me an appreciation for the great work of the Walkley Foundation). I also spent time in lobbying and PR (giving me an appreciation of the other side of the information food chain).

Across all these roles, I’d say there’s been three constants. One is the written word. Two is news – researching or communicating facts in some shape or form. Three is what you might call thought leadership, the development and communication of pure ideas.

John F. Kennedy once said, “A man may die, nations may rise and fall, but an idea lives on.” It’s easy to see the necessity for politicians and the people around them to be leaders in coming up with new thoughts. It’s also easy to see that religion is built around beliefs. But what about business?

One of the revelations of business journalism and now corporate writing has been that business is also essentially a contest of ideas. What new product or service will sell? What’s the best way to produce them? How can we be different from the competitors? Who should I hire?

These are all questions business leaders ask every day, and they usually have no obvious answers. Someone has to take a guess about the future and then think of the best way forward. They have to lead their team, company or entire industry, based on thought.

However, while there are many bright people in the world with great ideas, there are few who are great at articulating those ideas in writing or speech. Even fewer are good at taking well-expressed material and using it to build their business or otherwise succeed.

This is where you come in as a writer or other type of communications professional, and some of what I hope we can discuss at CommsDirect. How do you help people in business come up with great ideas? How do you help them to better communicate those thoughts to others? And, most importantly as a communications professional, how do you make a buck doing it?

I’ll also try to remember to say that moving into business writing doesn’t just mean knocking out hard-sell ads, cheesy brochures and stories about company Christmas parties. At its best, it’s a journey into a world of very smart people with extraordinary ideas who have a pretty good idea of the future – or the one they want to create – and just need some help to describe it.


Grant Butler

Grant Butler is founder and managing director of Editor Group, the leading corporate writing agency with offices in Sydney and Singapore. He’s also author of the book Think Write Grow – How to become a thought leader and build your business by writing exceptional articles, blogs, speeches, books and more (Wiley, 2012). 

Grant will be speaking at CommsDirect on August 7 on the “Thought Leadership” panel. 

Tickets are just $395 for those working in media or the not-for-profit sector and $495 for corporate: $100 off the regular price!