Three thoughts on thought leadership

While thought leadership is not a new marketing concept, I often come across clients or prospects who are familiar with the term, but aren’t quite sure what it is or why they should consider it as part of their marketing plan.

Thought leadership is a content marketing tactic that uses distributed written copy (webinars and infographics work, too) to share the company’s and its executives expertise. Thought leadership enables companies (and their executives) to take on industry or area leadership roles, that may help guide the futures of their respective industries.

Sounds great, right? Who doesn’t want that? Well, there is a little more to it.

Consider that the goal is not to immediately sell your product or services, but rather to be known as a respected, trusted industry resource. Content produced by thought leaders should reflect authenticity, credibility, trustworthiness and industry knowledge.

And this takes strategy, commitment and time.

Before delving in, give some thought to these three things:

  1. Think about your strategy. What are the company’s goals? What do you want to stand for? What topic areas do you want to become the thought leader for? Identify the prospective thought leaders in your organization and then talk about a content strategy for their area of expertise. What are your audiences’ pain points and challenges and how can you answer their most pressing questions?
  2. Think about the commitment. Effective thought leadership takes time to establish. Thought leadership is not a one-and-done endeavor. It takes consistent posting and sharing of valuable, relevant content. When you offer relevant content that clients, prospects and others find valuable, those individuals will begin to actively look to you for information. Your company – and its leaders – become respected knowledgeable sources as about issues that matter to them.
  3. Think about your workload. Do you have the time? Many of our clients lack the staff to handle ongoing content creation. That’s why they turn to a professional agency to develop editorial calendars, write and edit original content, pitch guest articles, publish informational stories or videos and schedule blog and social media posts. Professional PR/marketing agencies work with you to develop a content-marketing strategy to publish informational stories or videos on topics of interest in your field of expertise.

S&A publishes The North Carolina 100, which offers our clients many thought-leadership opportunities. The bi-weekly e-newsletter provides brief stories on a wide-range of topic to more than 50,000 business leaders across the state.

Finally, remember that to become thought of as a thought leader, your content needs to reflect your authenticity, credibility, trustworthiness and industry knowledge.

Let me know if you’d like to learn more.

Author: Deneen Winters Bloom
Deneen Winters Bloom is our Director of Client Services.

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