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About Vickie Sullivan

Vickie Sullivan is internationally recognized as the top market strategist for thought leaders, professional speakers and B2B professional service firms. Specializing in brand and message strategies in crowded markets, she has helped thousands of talented people outsmart their competition since 1987.

Written by: Vickie Sullivan  |  September 26, 2017

Use Your Past Strategically to Capture Attention

Use Your Past Strategically to Capture Attention

To get more attention, many thought leaders use current events to showcase their perspective. They lead with the well-known “scandal,” drill down on the problem and offer their solutions. Sure, that approach works. But everyone does that.

Another way to use the “insider view” lies in this Medium post by Yonatan Zunger. A former “senior Googler,” Zunger lent a practical, yet-still-angry voice to the debate about an engineer’s “manifesto” on gender differences. In a sea of outrage, this post went viral for explaining the on-the-ground impact.

Move past Zunger’s content; let’s put a wide-angle lens on how he used his role as a former leader. What Zunger did differently: He created compelling context with stories about Google’s environment. And check out how he promotes scarcity with this setup: “Hey, couldn’t tell you this while I was working there, but now I can.” Sounds fascinating, doesn’t it?

Any “former” knows they can’t be too specific. But focusing on the environment allows us to lay a more intriguing foundation for our views.


Listen: Another killer strategy that’ll make your content go viral


Too many thought leaders use their experience at 30,000 feet. Their bio will say, “launched five gazillon companies,” but they won’t use this information to create context. By not giving us the inside scoop—without telling secrets, of course—this information feels too sanitized. And too much like everyone else who has a good background.

When we use our experience to drill down into the inner workings, we create a more credible setup for our insights. Let’s take a page out of Zunger’s playbook.


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About Vickie Sullivan

Vickie Sullivan is internationally recognized as the top market strategist for thought leaders, professional speakers and B2B professional service firms. Specializing in brand and message strategies in crowded markets, she has helped thousands of talented people outsmart their competition since 1987.