Table of Contents
- What Is Thought Leadership?
- The Benefits of Thought Leadership Marketing
- How To Build a Powerful Thought Leadership Strategy
- Step 1: Define Your Goals
- Step 2: Review Existing Thought Leadership
- Step 3: Identify Your Organization’s Focus and Its Thought Leaders
- Step 4: Create Your Thought Leadership Content
- Step 5: Distribute and Promote Your Content
- Step 6: Measure the Results
- Refuse to conform with the Standard with Your Thinking Leadership
Thought-provoking content is among the essential methods of building a solid brand. But it’s more than just offering an opinion on a subject or providing new information.
After interviewing and surveying more than 300 industry professionals and marketers, We’ve developed a process to create a powerful thought strategy for leadership.
In this post, we’ll explain the concept of thought leadership, the best way to develop compelling thought leadership content, and how to make it be noticed and connect with your clients.
What Is Thought Leadership?
Thought leadership is the creation of authentic and authentic content based on the writer’s experience, insight, and experience and the aim of sharing their wisdom with others.
Leadership through thought is about creating value, gaining knowledge and standing up for your beliefs.
Thought leadership is sometimes defined as the presentation of strong–and often controversial–opinions in a piece of content. It could mean making a statement on an industry issue that is debated.
Some believe it is all about being an expert in the field (SME) and leveraging this position to influence within a particular area of expertise.
In actuality, it’s a blend of both.
Based on our study, thought leadership is about sharing inspirational, scientifically-driven content that stimulates changes and provides educational value.
Thought leadership isn’t only about teaching the masses but. Tim Gibbon, director of Elemental Communications, founder and director Elemental Communications, explains:
There’s also a cooperative element with the peer-to-peer thought leadership that allows colleagues to work together and exchange experiences, expertise and expertise.
Tim Gibbon, Founder and Director of Elemental Communications
Who Are Thought Leaders?
In Orbit Media’s research, the most influential thought leaders are categorized as experts in their field. They may be CEOs, writers, consultants and coaches as well as companies (B2C as well as B2B).
Thought leaders usually have: who are:
- Positive opinions
- They wish to impart their knowledge to other people
- The capability to think out of the box
Most thinking leadership I’ve seen is light; writers don’t provide actual gems, tricks and valuable ideas. The most influential thought leaders always stay at the forefront and shouldn’t worry about sharing too much.
Tim Gibbon, Founder and Director of Elemental Communications
All thought leaders are eager to share their knowledge with the help of company resources and information to support their views and expertise.
The Benefits of Thought Leadership Marketing
Let’s explore how thought-leadership can benefit your company’s expansion strategies.
- About 65% of companies already incorporate thought leadership into their content marketing
- 29.5 per cent more will be doing this soon.
Incorporating thought-leadership into your overall strategy for content can be beneficial in three ways.
- Establish Brand Credibility and Authority
If you have something important and unique that you can share with the world, it creates a profile for your BrandBrand.
When your profile as a brand gets more well-known, more people will pay attention to what you say, making you an authoritative figure in your area.
The power of thought leadership can also help reinforce your Brand’sBrand’s identity.
It is possible to push the most important ideas you wish your audience to accept and change their thinking.
- Generate Backlinks, Shares, and Mentions
If your content is rich with opinions, research, or facts, it will likely inspire others to share and cite your content.
However, it would be best if you did not write thought-provoking articles solely to generate shares, likes and backlinks. It weakens the quality of your content and reduces its impact.
- Attract Potential Clients
Thought-leadership content isn’t designed to convert potential customers directly. However, it can help you create a loyal following and attract new customers.
Geri Stengel, the director of Ventureneer and founder of Ventureneer, is an excellent example of someone who has gained new clients due to her leadership in the field of thought.
Due to my thought-leadership on female entrepreneurs and funding for entrepreneurs, I have been able to get clients. Sometimes, my clients don’t have to verify references since they understand what I am about.
Geri Stengel, Founder and President of Ventureneer
Demonstrate that Seed is a probiotic company focused on demonstrating how bacteria impact our overall health.
Instead of just advertising the product, they decide to inform consumers about the science and benefits of probiotics.
The “probiotics are a science” approach presents an alternative method to take charge of your overall health. This helped boost their brand visibility and gain an extensive following.
You now know the concept of thought leadership and why it is essential for your business. How can you use your content aid in establishing yourself as a thought leader?
How To Build a Powerful Thought Leadership Strategy
There is no universally applicable way to implement a leadership plan. Many factors depend on the size and structure of your company.
For general guidance, Here are the six essential guidelines to follow regardless of the size of your business and standing.
Step 1: Define Your Goals
The first step in every strategy should be to define the goals you intend to reach to establish yourself as a thought leader.
To accomplish this, review your existing goals for marketing and then consider how thought-leadership will help you reach each of them if it actually can.
If you’re looking to promote awareness for your Brand and its solutions, then an article that is thought-provoking about accessibility issues faced by customers in your industry, such as this one, could assist in attracting attention.
Defining Your Audience
The most crucial element of this is to define clearly the person who your target audience is.
They should align with your customer persona(s), although you must consider the people who would benefit the most from your thoughts.
Remember that your audience might not always be buyers but could expand to encompass potential customers.
For example, are you seeking to connect directly to other chief executives? Purchasing decision-makers? Marketing managers?
Ideally, you’d like to connect with a broader audience who aid in spreading awareness about your business, be part of your network and become brand ambassadors.
Step 2: Review Existing Thought Leadership
Now is the time to study and discover what type of thought leadership is already in your field. This means analyzing you and your competition.
Discover the various channels of communication in your field, such as:
- Communities and forums on the internet.
- Information sources for news (online as well as offline)
- Journals and trade publications (online or offline)
- Personal brands, like Medium and LinkedIn
- Blogs from companies
- Social media
- Webinars and seminars
Learn more about what the latest thinking leadership trends and concepts are. This will give you a more understanding of significant issues that affect your industry.
It also allows you to get familiar with the experts currently.
Be aware of your rivals, too.
What positions are they adopting? What are they doing to deliver their thought-leadership content, or even if they do?
Study what they’re up to, and then apply this information to your idea-driven strategy.
Don’t forget to take a look around.
Review your company’s past blog posts or emails to determine your company’s previous opinions on specific topics.
It is essential not to disenchant existing customers by proposing introducing a controversial new idea opposing a prior policy.
Step 3: Identify Your Organization’s Focus and Its Thought Leaders
- High-level executives and CEOs make thought leadership content for more than half of the companies.
- Specialists on subject matters (SMEs) of all sorts produce content for 49.4 per cent of companies.
- 48.7 per cent of companies allow freelance and in-house copywriters do the job.
- 25.3 per cent of thought leaders are influential people and opinion leaders within their industries.
The next step is to understand the role of your thought leadership on an organizational scale.
As an enterprise, do you have a particular area of expertise? What are your specialities?
Take a look at your overall brand stories and values. Do you have a larger goal or change you want to bring about as a business?
These are great starting points for deciding who your company’s authentic and innovative thinkers will be.
How To Identify Thought Leaders
If you’re looking to speak about a range of subjects, It’s best to establish a list of thought-leaders. Consider the top experts who work at or for your business.
Based on our discussions with experts in the field, thought leaders role models generally contain these five characteristics in common:
- Harmony with your Brand and Its values: When your opinion leaders do not believe in your BrandBrand and are not aligned with the story you tell and your values, the strategy is unlikely to succeed.
- Solid Opinions, Creative concepts, and ideas The possibility of making someone feel uneasy with your views is always there, and it’s perfectly acceptable. But, those who are innovative and take the correct position can transform into true thought leaders.
- Industry Knowledge and Experience A third factor that can change the world is passion. Being knowledgeable and enthusiastic about your work is a sure way to make others follow you.
- Experience Sharing Publicly Shared Experiences It could be speaking and writing skills and previous appearances at webinars and other events. It is also beneficial when they can “prove” their credibility with qualifications or memberships in relevant organizations.
- A Trustworthy Follower This is more than having a following on social media. It could mean that you’re the only source an organization turns to for help when they have an issue.
A loyal following will grow over time. Confident thought leaders will expand along with their business.
Many companies have internal SMEs develop thought-leadership content.
For instance, YouTube’s chief executive Susan Wojcicki created an animated series called “Creator Letters,” in which she shared her views on YouTube’s plans, video content and vlogging.
These imaginative animations complement her message and provide an element of emotion to thought leadership by structuring it into a narrative instead of a lecture.
Another way to create thought leadership content using the C-suite executives of your company is the following blog post written by N-26 with the company’s CGO, Alexander Weber.
Step 4: Create Your Thought Leadership Content
The next step would be to begin creating content. So here are some quick facts about the types of content thought-leaders make.
- 91.4 per cent of organizations that engage in thought leadership write articles
- 44.1 per cent of people create video
- 36.2 per cent include speaking in webinars or at events
- 33.2 per cent opt for white paper as the format to promote thought leadership
Writing articles as a component of your thought leadership strategy is a good beginning. When you’re satisfied with an effective method for writing essays, you can explore other areas such as webinars, videos, podcasts, ebooks, and webinars.
Before writing content, decide what subjects you’d like to write about.
There’s no definitive method to get thought leadership content.
When seeking content for thought leadership, Use your objectives and your audience to come up with ideas for content. Be aware of the most recent trends in your field, and learning from other experts in your area is beneficial.
This allows you to have an idea of the topics that people are interested in and will ensure that your content can gain your audience’s attention quickly.
Other great ideas for thought-provoking content are:
- Unique experiences shared by you or other thought-leaders
- A strong and unpopular opinion by your company, which is contrary to the norms of your industry
- Individual statistics and data that you can access through your business
- Research and insight into the sector from SMEs or company resources
- Collaboration with partners, customers as well as opinion leaders and influencers
- Lessons you can learn from your personal story as well as background
Utilizing specialist tools to assist in Topic Research could help you find trending topics more simple. The most popular topics for content that match your SEO keywords could give you a variety of concepts.
Map Out the Content Production Process
Also, think about how the content is created.
When you begin to create your content strategy and assign subjects to your experts or content creators, an important step is deciding who is responsible for the content.
- Will the thought leader decide to write the piece by themselves?
- Is it a ghostwritten script?
- Will the format be an interview for the podcast?
- Do I need to contract out my content creation?
- Are there any tools that could assist me in creating content?
It’s always a benefit to have thought leaders who are proficient writers.
It could also be helpful to have internal SMEs in the event they are present in your workplace; they can develop thought leadership content.
But, if you believe asking your internal SME or thought leaders is too much work, or their writing abilities aren’t perfect, you can work with a copywriter professional to create written content.
A vetted copywriter can interview the experts or SMEs and translate this information into engaging material.
To ensure a satisfying user experience, it’s crucial to ensure each content item is of high-quality standards and delivers an enjoyable user experience.
Copy and paste your text into the tool, or utilize the handy add-ons Google Docs, Word docs, or WordPress. Then, you can get an instant analysis of your text on four main pillars: SEO reading comprehension, tone of voice and originality.
It’s essential to stay flexible in your publishing and editorial calendars. New trends and news stories can be swiftly changing, and you must be prepared to adapt to changes in the news.
Podcasts, for instance, are a fantastic way to create and provide relevant content.
For example, Refinitiv’s Sustainability Perspectives podcast was a key platform for creating ad-hoc content and facilitating Refinitiv’s thought leadership within ESG. ESG sector.
Inviting industry experts to be guest speakers on every program and speaking to the most pressing issues could be an effective and cost-effective means of reaching your target audience.
Step 5: Distribute and Promote Your Content
You can make the most informative, valuable and engaging content, but it’s worth very little if it is not able to access it on the internet.
Strategies and tactics for your dissemination and marketing of your thought-leadership content–and all valuable content, for that matter, are vital elements of a thought-leadership campaign.
Recommendations for Distributing Your Thought Leadership Content
Based on the nature of your business depending on your business, you can effectively market content using a variety of methods.
If your thought leaders have a network of contacts willing to promote their thought leadership, your content is more likely to trigger responses and engagement.
Startups and small-sized businesses may have a more challenging time gain exposure. If this is your situation, consider these strategies:
- Promote both internal and external company channels. Promote your content through your company’s channels or ask other people within your organization to promote the content. For larger companies using tools such as GaggleAMP could be helpful.
- Make pitches to publications, journalists, or other influencers in the industry; authentic and unbiased thought-provoking content can attract more attention and curiosity from publications. Services such as Help Reporter can assist with the creation of pitches.
- Collaborate with other brands not competing with you. Collaboration with other companies in your field to create shared thought leadership content. It is beneficial to establish alliances when you want to promote the same goals (e.g. digitalization within your industry).
- Join forces with influencers and opinion makers. Reach out to influential opinion leaders and influencers to solicit their assistance and promotional support for your thought-leadership content. You might want to ask for quotes and interviews.
- Examine content creators within your field, Find out what they’re discussing and then create relevant content that will encourage users to make it available for sharing. For instance, it could be something that confirms their viewpoint or gives new insight into the subject.
If you have money for paid advertising, think about including paid media in your plan.
For instance, if you published a thought-leadership piece on your site, you can repurpose the article into blog posts published by a third party. You can also request that the author of your blog be featured on webinars sponsored by sponsors and events and on podcasts.
The Importance of Content Engagement
Thought leadership is all about starting an environment for discussion. Therefore, you must follow your lead and connect directly with groups, leaders, influencers, and players discussing your work.
In larger organizations, you may have people managing reputation or BrandBrand who can handle this. In smaller organizations, the thought leader might have to be more involved.
It is also possible to search communities, forums, Slack channels, discussions, and other platforms to network with experts in your field.
Step 6: Measure the Results
Like any other tactic, evaluating the results of your thought-leadership marketing is essential to assess whether you’re achieving your objectives. Many metrics related to content can help assess outcomes in sales and performance.
Here are the most critical kinds of outcomes you can achieve by using thought leadership material, according to our studies:
- 81.4 per cent of thought-leadership content is a result of organic traffic
- 64.9 per cent of users see an increase in social media follower count and engagement
- 47.6 per cent of thought leadership content is the source of leads and sales
Don’t be afraid of getting some creativity in evaluating your objectives.
For instance, Erin Browner, a content manager at Clever Inc., regularly organizes thought leadership webinars and distributes rating-based questionnaires to attendees after every event. She also checks to see if her webinars are attracting the right group of people.
“If, for instance, we are seeking to engage with directors, we’ll measure how many have registered and attended,” she says.
This measure is much more critical for Browner than the total attendance and registration numbers.
Refuse to conform with the Standard with Your Thinking Leadership
The art of leadership is based on honesty, deep knowledge and innovative thinking that aims to challenge the established methods of thinking and doing.
To effectively communicate thought leadership, it must be in the form of quality information on topics relevant to your target audience is interested in.
Therefore, it’s essential to conduct extensive research on the subject and create entertaining and distinctive information.
To improve and strengthen your thought-leadership strategy for content to be successful in 2022, Explore the State of Content Marketing 2022 Global Report.