“Thought leadership” is a phrase you often encounter in business. But many business owners and leaders aren’t sure if it applies to their brand or industry.
Because the term is usually applied to keynote speakers, authors, and the like, it’s easy to assume that thought leadership is solely the domain of influencers and well-known personalities.
Nothing could be further from the truth.
Every brand needs to be creating and sharing thought leadership content. Why? Because it showcases your brand’s expertise, positions your business as an industry leader, and helps you stand out from the competition.
So, what is thought leadership anyway?
Thought leaders have a unique perspective based on their position within an industry. They share insights from their own experiences and speak authoritatively within their area of expertise to establish credibility.
When brands create thought leadership content, the first goal is to add to the larger industry conversation by sharing educational content presented from the brand’s perspective. It’s deeply rooted in subject matter expertise and delivered from a distinct point of view.
Thought Leadership for Your Brand
There are several reasons why you should prioritize thought leadership:
- It builds trust. Consistently producing high-quality educational content positions your brand as a trusted resource for continued learning. There’s nothing more valuable than credibility.
- It’s an effective marketing tool. Thought leadership content can be used to help position a brand in the market. In any industry, consumers want to work with brands they trust and consider to be at the top of their game. Utilizing compelling thought leadership content in your marketing will help buyers view your brand as a knowledgeable voice and premier choice.
- It helps you stand out from the competition. In today’s crowded marketplace, it’s more important than ever to differentiate your brand from the competition. Thought leadership content can help you do just that by showcasing unique knowledge and expertise you have that your competitors may not.
- It drives results. Ultimately, businesses produce thought leadership content to achieve specific results. And there’s no doubt that it delivers! Thought leadership content is critical to building a strong brand image. It can also help close sales, attract new customers, and generate leads.
A Few Types of Thought Leadership Content
Thought leadership content comes in many forms, including but not limited to:
- Blog posts and articles are probably the most common types of thought leadership content. And these types of long-form content can also form the basis of other marketing content, like social media posts, eblasts, infographics, and more.
- White papers are usually technical or academic in tone and style. This content can be a deep dive into a particular industry issue, a researched opinion paper, technical documentation, or an industry report.
- Infographics are a striking visual format for sharing facts and statistics, presenting original research, and more.
- Video content—for example, a webinar, keynote presentation, speaking engagement, or product demonstration—makes for outstanding thought leadership content. Video is today’s #1 tool for engagement in most industries because it is so connective and engaging. Make sure to utilize it for your brand!
- Podcasts, though time-consuming, may be the most dynamic way to highlight your brand’s thought leadership. Podcast popularity is on the rise, so delivering compelling content through thought-leader style episodes can be a great way to stand out and reach your audience where they already are.
Creating High-Value Thought Leadership Content
Though it can be highly effective when done right, creating high-value content on a consistent basis is no easy task. Strong thought leadership content is well-researched, authoritative, and original… and you’ll want to keep it coming. Your audience may be looking for answers, but they know how to spot (and will likely skip past) filler content that’s unoriginal, too “salesy,” or isn’t updated regularly.
Another consideration for generating strong thought leadership content is search engine optimization. Creating the best content in the world is of little value if no one can find it. SEO best practices will help your content appear higher on search engine results pages. This doesn’t mean cramming keywords into every article on your website. The goal is to create readable content your audience enjoys or benefits from while optimizing your content for search.
At the end of the day, content generation is a time-consuming process. Creating the best original content related to your area of expertise takes effort, planning, and patience, so you’ll want to allocate appropriate time and resources to this effort.
Don’t have time to spare? That’s where we come in! With more than 40 years of experience creating and implementing strong thought leadership content, we’ve learned a thing or two about what works best in all sorts of industries. Let’s chat about your content strategy!