The Mixed Blessings of Being a Thought Leader

by Loolwa Khazzoom • November 27, 2015 • Writing and Editing Tips

You have cutting-edge ideas to share with the world.

From a marketing perspective, being ahead of the curve is a mixed blessing. On the one hand, it gives you an edge, because you offer something fresh and unique that meets a currently-unmet need. On the other hand, people may not yet have a reference point or value for what you offer – meaning there may be a learning curve involved, and it therefore may be challenging for you to communicate about what you offer. You may end up feeling that you need to give people a workshop, for them to understand that they need a workshop!

As someone who has done ground-breaking work in multiple fields, over the past quarter century, I get it. I also know, from experience, how to leverage your uniqueness as an advantage, and to communicate in ways that even mainstream audiences (including top media) can get excited about. The core principle is to pay attention to what people already value and understand, something that is in the ballpark of what you are doing, and to use that language – something familiar, something that rings a bell. Doing so will help you get past mental barriers and skip at least some part of the learning curve.

Back in the early 1990s, for example, I began offering workshops on Jewish communities from Africa, the Middle East, Latin America, and East Asia – totally out of left field for the Jewish mainstream, which was entrenched in Euro-centrism and did not recognize as “Jewish” anything that was not European. I took the new (at that time) buzz word of “multiculturalism,” which people understood, and combined it with “Jewish” – coining the term “Jewish multiculturalism” and billing myself as the first-ever “Jewish multicultural educator.”

Using that terminology, plus other descriptive language that academic and progressive circles understood, I gained entry into the most prestigious, mainstream venues and media outlets, Jewish and otherwise – offering Jewish multicultural workshops at the likes of like Harvard University, Brown University, the Simon Wiesenthal Center, and the Skirball Cultural Center, and publishing Jewish multicultural articles in the likes of The Washington Post, Rolling Stone, BBC News, and Marie Claire.

By getting clear about 1) who your target audience is, 2) what they value and understand, and 3) how they think and speak, and by meeting your audience where they are at this time, then bringing them step-by-step to where you are and where you envision they can be, you too can enjoy mainstream success.

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About Loolwa

Loolwa KhazzoomLoolwa Khazzoom has worked with leading media outlets, including The New York Times, CNN, Rolling Stone, and ABC News. In addition, she has published two books and has lectured at prestigious venues including Barnard Center for Research on Women, the Simon Wiesenthal Center, and Harvard University. Loolwa is passionate about health, music, dance, multiculturalism, and Judaism.

Holistic Media, Marketing, PR

Loolwa Khazzoom is a a public relations manager specializing in holistic media, holistic marketing, holistic public relations, and holistic promotions. Her services include branding and messaging development, image and communications management, website content development and optimization, social media management, traditional media campaign management, book development, and in-house writing and editing.

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