Are you striving to position your organization and its leaders as thought leaders? This episode with guest Ashley Faus sheds light on how to do that very thing by using content and social media.

Faus, an expert on the topic, delves into the nuances of crafting a thought leadership strategy that not only caters to metrics and dashboards but also drives actual thought leadership.

She focuses on transcending the basic approaches of inbound marketing to create content that resonates, inspires, and positions your organization and leadership as though leaders.

For example, she advocates slowing down in order to speed up—i.e., reflecting and thoughtfully planning so that you can then quickly create and implement an impactful strategy. 

Check out the video for more details, and the full podcast (link below the video) for the entire insightful conversation.

Don't miss future episodes: Subscribe to the Marketing Smarts Live Show on YouTube. And to catch up on all previous episodes, check out the full playlist on YouTube.

Episode Details, Guest Information, and Referenced Links

Episode No. 38

Guest's Social media profiles:

MarketingProfs resources referenced in the show:

"In B2B News" article referenced in the show:

"From the #mpb2b Community" links referenced in the show:

Transcript: Developing a Content and Social Media Strategy to Foster Thought Leadership and Business Growth, With Ashley Faus

Do you have a thought leader content strategy in place for your organization?

What does that mean pertaining to the type of content you should be creating?

Then stick around because today's show is going to be entertaining and educational all at the same time!

Welcome to the "Marketing Smarts Live" show by MarketingProfs and the Marketing Smarts Podcast. Where we dive into B2B news, resources, valuable guest content, and much more each week.

If you're a B2B marketer looking for a place to learn, keep up to date, and have some fun along the way, grab a beverage, a notepad, or at least some style of writing utensil, and welcome to the show!

Hello to all my Marketing Smarts Live viewers today. I'm super excited to bring you Episode 38 of the Marketing Smarts Live show. This week's topic is all about Developing a Content and Social Media Strategy to Foster Thought Leadership and Business Growth.

So, if you're ready to get your learn on, buckle up and let's get ready to rock and roll.

Hey, I'm your boy George B. Thomas, speaker, trainer, catalyst, and host of this here show, the Marketing Smarts Live show, as well as the Marketing Smarts podcast found on your favorite podcast app. Our guest clips today are brought to you by none other than Ashley Faus.

Ashley Faus is a marketer, writer, and speaker by day and a singer, actor, and fitness fiend by night.

Her work has been featured in TIME, Forbes, and The Journal of Brand Strategy, and she's shared insights with audiences at Harvard Business Review, INBOUND, and MarketingProfs.

She works for Atlassian, a collaboration software maker on a mission to unleash the power of every team. Follow her on LinkedIn and Twitter, @ashleyfaus.

Now, remember the clips of Ashley Faus today are pulled from the full marketing smarts podcast episode, and if you want to listen to the full interview with Ashley Faus and myself, make sure to tune into the Marketing Smarts podcast, link to the full show will be in the description below after the live show ends.

Now, in this episode, again, I'm talking with Ashley Faus about Developing a Content and Social Media Strategy to Foster Thought Leadership and Business Growth.

Traditional marketing attribution is all about dashboards and metrics and how inbound affects the bottom line. But thought leadership, says Ashley Faus, is a different beast. It can't be measured using traditional methods.

So, to get us started, I wanted to pick Asley's brain about why is slowing down long enough to create a strategy around thought leader content so important for organizations.

This is what she had to say.


Ashley: Two big things. One, humans are lazy and platforms are greedy.

Most people don't come to you for the heck of it and to make you feel good. They come to you to get something for themselves. If you become that destination that they go to get something for themselves, then eventually there is going to be some sort of reciprocity. Build that trust, building that affinity is the foundation. If you don't step back and know the value that you're giving to them, if you're just churning, you're only doing things for yourself, and your audience is too lazy for that.

The second piece of this is that the platforms are greedy. The platforms don't want you to go anywhere else. LinkedIn wants you to stay on LinkedIn. Even your own website, you want people to stay on your website. You don't want them to go off and go somewhere else, unless the going somewhere else is to talk to a sales rep. Again, you still want to keep them in your own little ecosystem.

When you start to realize I'm going to have to fight for attention not only from the humans that are consuming my content, but also from the platforms that are hosting or serving my content, you start to realize you need to suit up for that. You don't go into a battle with just shorts and a T-shirt. You have to put on some armor, you have to bring your weapons, and that requires some training, it requires some skills, and it requires some thinking.

That's where you start thinking about that strategy. First is focus on that audience, what do they want, what do they need, how can you serve them. Second is how am I going to win against all of the other things on the platform that are going to keep their attention on the platform and not on my content.


OMG, most people are lazy, and all platforms are greedy!

Did you hear the important words? Infinity, trust, and reciprocity!

Can you start to feel the importance of the fight for attention?

I love how Ashley talked about you have to suit up!

And again, the important words—Training, skills, and thinking!

Do you have a strategy in place that gains infinity, trust, and reciprocity?

Put the answer to that in the chat pane or let me know on Twitter using the hashtag #mpb2b and, of course, tag me using @georgebthomas.

We'll get back to Ashley Faus and her thoughts on Developing a Content and Social Media Strategy to Foster Thought Leadership and Business Growth, But first, I have to ask...

Are you part of the MarketingProfs community? If not, become part of the MarketingProfs community by heading over to - that's

Now, it's time for one of my favorite sections...

In The B2B News: Where we talk about breaking B2B news or really important tips we find on the Google news tab related to you and your B2B business. This week, the title is...

How to do B2B content marketing the right way (with 5 examples) by Julia McCoy

Here we are, over two decades into the 2000s, but bad B2B content marketing still exists.

Digital content marketing has existed for at least 10 years, but some businesses still make elementary mistakes that wreck their potential for results.

That's a shame because most content marketers (71%) will tell you that content has only become more important over time.

Ready to see what content success and failure look like? To read this article, check out the link below when the live show is over.

So let's return to Ashley Faus and her Marketing Smarts podcast episode.

Now that we know how important it is to have a strategy, how the heck do you get started?

That is exactly what I wanted to ask Ashley next.


Ashley: That is a hard question, particularly for thought leadership, because so many people go to the goals, and usually those goals are around revenue. I think that in many cases for thought leadership you're going to have to abstract it a little bit away from revenue.

My sense is that thought leadership is not meant to drive short term sales. That's sales and that's marketing and that's product marketing, and that is buy intent content. That is not what thought leadership is meant to do. Thought leadership is meant to attract the right people to the brand and the company. That could be talent, that could be strategic partners, that could be for comarketing opportunities, that could be for investor relations or to improve analyst relations. There are a variety of things that you need to build from a trust perspective.

When you look at your thought leadership, you need to be cognizant of which of those audiences are going to result in the short term and long term outcomes. Yes, being a thought leader in your industry, being trusted, having that affinity across a variety of different audiences will ultimately lead to long term business growth, but that is very different than short term revenue. I think that mindset shift is the big piece.

I hear this all the time, "We're going to do thought leadership for a founder." Oh, are you? What are they going to talk about? "They're going to talk about why our product is the best." So, they're going to do sales enablement. "No. It's a founder, therefore it's thought leadership."

I'm like, let's go back here. Thought leadership is about trust and affinity. You can drive those and measure those in different ways, depending on the audience, the platforms, the person. But if the ultimate outcome that you are measuring in the short term is some sort of revenue or sale, you're not doing thought leadership. That's a different kind of content. It should also be quality, it's also in your strategy, but it is not thought leadership.


So many people go to the goals, and often those go around revenue.

Thought leadership is not designed to create short-term sales! It is meant to attract the right people to the brand and the company.

So much good stuff in the last clip!

Have you ever heard yourself or someone on your team say, "We are going to do thought leadership content for..." Oh my!

We'll get back to Ashley Faus in a few minutes, but first it's time for some... Dope B2B Learnings From The Vault of MarketingProfs Articles

That's right, It's time to dig into the treasure trove of valuable information and pull out two pieces of gold to help you be a better B2B marketer.

Article one this week is: So, You Want to Be a Thought Leader? A Framework and Guide for Your Thought Leadership Strategy by Ashley Faus

Thought leadership is not a new topic. In fact, the term was coined by Joel Kurtzman back in 1994.

In the two-and-a-half decades since, we've seen the rise of YouTube experts, Instagram influencers, and the Kardashians.

But are all of those people thought leaders? Are any of them thought leaders?

Find out more by reading this article after the live show ends.

Article two this week is: How Online Thought Leadership Can Transform You (and Your Company) Into a Trusted Resource by David Meerman Scott

An effective online content strategy, artfully executed, drives action. Organizations that use online content well have a clearly defined goal—to sell products, generate leads, or get people to join a community, vote, or donate money—and they deploy a content strategy that directly contributes to reaching that goal.

Often people ask me, "How do you recommend that I create an effective ____?" (Fill in the blank with blog, podcast, whitepaper, e-book, email newsletter, webinar, etc.)

While the technologies for each form of online content are a little different, the common aspect is that through all of these media your organization can exercise thought leadership rather than simple advertising and product promotion: A well-crafted blog, podcast, e-book, or Webinar contributes to an organization's positive reputation by setting it apart in the marketplace of ideas.

This form of content brands a company and the people that work there as experts and as a trusted resource to turn to again and again.

Don't talk about your company at all

OK, so what is thought leadership, and how do I do it?

Well, want to keep learning more? If so, check the links in the description below after the live show to get access to both amazing MarketingProfs articles.

OK, back to Ashley Faus... Let's dive back into this conversation of Developing a Content and Social Media Strategy to Foster Thought Leadership and Business Growth

One of the things I always like to ask the guest that I interview is what types of Hurdles are going to get in the way. What will be the stoppers to your success?

Here's what Ashley had to say about hurdles and today's topic conversation.


Ashley: I think the biggest thing is, we are still stuck in a lot of the attribution mindset from 10 years ago. Before social media really became a place that individuals could own and that businesses could partner with individuals to improve and share and grow that audience, everything came back to—it was brilliant when it came out, when inbound with the methodology of fill out the form, be able to track it and nurture it, that sense that you wanted to bring people in, educate them, nurture them, and then sell to them after you had built that, that was super smart a decade ago. HubSpot has continued to evolve their own model, but a lot of marketers are still trying to implement that same measurement strategy, and therefore the approach in their creation and their tactics [is] from 10 years ago.

It's hard. Your comment about you sent out that newsletter and you got a $12,000 PO or engagement, you can see that, that one click is worth $12,000. Right? But I don't actually know what the click through rate overall on the email was. If you were to send me that dashboard, it would not surprise me if it potentially had a lower click through rate just because it was the holidays. A lower open rate and potentially a lower click to open rate. Me as an outsider without that context, I might look at that and say, "Clearly this content didn't resonate," or, "This was not your best email." But for you, you're like one-to-one, it generated this much revenue. It's the same thing on social media.

I had somebody very kindly comment, "I think I should make a folder on my desktop for all of the posts you've made that I think are valuable." I jokingly said, "If you could make that public, that would be amazing. It helps me so I don't have to do it." An hour later, he sends me a link to a Google Drive of all of this content that I've created that he has saved. I don't know how you measure that somebody has taken the time to screenshot, download, link, or whatever, and put all of the content that I created into a folder so that it's easily accessible for themselves. Where does that show up in the dashboard?


Are you stuck in the attribution mindset?

Are you still doing historical "INBOUND MARKETING"? Or have you been able to evolve your measurement strategy?

We're going to get some words of wisdom from Ashley Faus here in a few minutes, but right now, it's time to turn the spotlight on you, the MarketingProfs community. Yep, time for...

From The #MPB2B Community

We searched far and wide in the #MPB2B universe to find amazing information and conversation to bring to the masses.

So, first, make sure you are using the hashtag, and second, make sure you have fun and add value to the community.

Then, we'll spotlight you or your crew on the show. This week, it's...

Ian Jackson = Designer / Coder / Marketer / Pokémon Master

Ian's LinkedIn post went like this:

Last week I made a post showing off Adobe's new AI #generativefill feature.

Well, today I'm here to let you know that if you want more AI content that MarketingProfs is putting on an 8-week online event focused on AI and content creation. Find out how you can use AI to boost your productivity, your creativity, and your career!

#ai #contentcreation #marketingprofs #mpb2b

But you need to check out the description and click that link to check out the post and also the link to the page Ian shared to learn more!

Marketing Smarts viewer, I have to ask... are you going to be next to get the spotlight?

Remember, community, use the hashtag #mpb2b on Facebook, LinkedIn, or Twitter and get the light shined on your awesomeness in the next episode or a future episode of the Marketing Smarts Live show!

Pro-tip, it won't hurt if you tag me in your post as well; I'm @georgebthomas on LinkedIn and Twitter.

OK, let's kick it back to Ashley Faus and some words of wisdom around this topic of Developing a Content and Social Media Strategy to Foster Thought Leadership and Business Growth.

Here is what Ashley Faus wanted to leave us with...


Ashley: I think the crux of this whole conversation, from my practice of marketing, is to fall in love with the humans. That is the humans that are consuming the content, the humans that are using your offerings, and the humans that are enabling the humans behind the screen.

For me, if you can fall in love with the audience and fall in love with the humans behind the screen, that is where you start to really get the magic.

Yes, there's numbers, there's revenue, all of the things, but if you can fall in love with the humans, you're going to continue to see those other outcomes for years to come.


Can we just drop the mic?

Fall in love with the HUMANS!

Have you fallen in love with the humans you are here to serve?

Magic things happen when the answer to that question is yes!

Have you enjoyed today's journey? Let us know, use that hashtag #mpb2b on whatever platform you are joining us on.

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image of George B. Thomas

George B. Thomas is a marketer, video Jedi, and HubSpot certified trainer with 25+ years of sales and marketing experience. George is owner and HubSpot Helper at He has a record-breaking 38 HubSpot sales, marketing, service, CRM, and CMS certifications. George harnesses his expertise in graphic design, Web development, video editing, social media marketing, and inbound marketing to partner with, teach, and develop solutions for companies looking to develop their businesses and increase their revenue.

LinkedIn: George B. Thomas

Twitter: @GeorgeBThomas