Thought leadership has been in vogue for at least a decade, but the concept is vague for many—maybe intimidating for some. As a ghostwriter I am aware of confusion on the part of some about what thought leadership is. For the uninitiated the term “thought leader” conjures a subject matter expert with a new, mind-bending idea or solution—a new paradigm. But “thought leadership content” is a horse of another color. LinkedIn notes three types of thought leadership content worth investing in: industry, product, and organizational. In the age of digital information overload—much of it irrelevant where the B2B market is concerned—thought leadership content has eclipsed marketing collateral as a necessary tool for increasing brand awareness.
Fresh thought leadership content is what helps you stand apart. Russ Alan Prince and Bruce H. Rogers, authors of “Profitable Brilliance: How Professional Services Firms Become Thought Leaders,” say too many professionals simply repeat the basics and call it thought leadership. What clients and prospects want—what will inspire loyalty and increase close rates—is timely, relevant, insightful, and new ideas that might move the conversation in a new direction. Some experts recommend taking risks and being unconventional. And while it doesn’t have to be groundbreaking, a new take on how something should be done, made, or thought about is one way to build authority and win top-of-mind positioning.
Injecting personality into your thought leadership content is also a best-practices recommendation. Here you’ll see my own effort to describe myself in a fresh way—I’d love to get your feedback on how well I’ve succeeded.
Thought leadership content can be used as a tactic in marketing or PR campaigns or be a strategic initiative to develop a thought leadership culture that draws on ideas and insights from all stakeholders—because managers, graphic designers, customer service staff, salespeople, customers, and suppliers all have knowledge, experience, and points of view that could help in prompting a buyer to act.
It is generally acknowledged that there is a direct link between being a thought leader—whether an individual or an organization—and significant revenue growth. True, the thought leaders who move the revenue needle most are those whose ideas are considered the most innovative and compelling. But with the emergence of value-added content as a key driver of customer engagement and sales, the concept of what thought leadership is has evolved. Enter the new breed of thought leader.
Please contact us to discuss your thought leadership content needs or to explore writing a book.