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The Why, What & How on Thought Leadership

Feb 14, 2018

In marketing, Thought Leadership has emerged as one of the quintessential pillars of a sound content marketing strategy. Thought Leadership builds:

  • Your credibility as an executive
  • Your company’s role as a business innovator
  • The social clout of both you and your company.

As your online audience grows bigger and broader than that of your competitor’s, your digital marketing platforms have a value not only for your products or services, but those of your customers, vendors and colleagues as well. You have the capability to amplify their message.

When you pursue thought leadership, you are:

  • Networking
  • Building Brand Awareness
  • Expanding your media reach
  • Expanding your product/service reach
  • Building SEO
  • And potentially, building an ancillary new service at your company.

All at the same time.

What Do I Write?

Focus on a lone aspect of your company or industry. Forgo marketing your products and services in the article, as any suggestion of sales will ruin your publication chances. Remember your company is part of a greater whole: you have a history and future, and your industry has a history and future too. Is there an aspect of your company culture that you are proud of, something other companies might want to emulate? How and why? Is there a trend you see happening in your industry? What steps have you taken, as a result of observing that trend? Write about it.

Next, tell a narrative. That means keep it personal – let your own voice and your own experience shine through. What was happening the moment you realized that aspect of company culture had a greater return than you anticipated? How has an innovation or challenge affected your industry?

OK, I’ve Written It. Now What Do I DO With It?

As the goal is broadening your reach, ideally you’d like to place the article somewhere other than your own website. But remember no effort is ever wasted: if you can’t find a bigger home for your content, you can always publish it there.

Media websites are generally the best option as they typically have the broadest reach. You can angle for mainstream media contributed content forums – WSJ, Forbes, Business Insider, etc. -- all have them. But don’t be discouraged if you get a no: these publications are offered so much content, they can be choosy. Think of them as a goal for your thought leadership platform, rather than the immediate objective.  

Online trade journals are a good alternative for early endeavors. They have limited in-house writing resources and as a result, are usually on the hunt for fresh content. If you’re a regular or occasional sponsor of the journal, that should boost your credibility when you or your publicist contacts the editor.  

Other opportunities can be found by looking at platforms you routinely use. For example, one of our clients has a great account with Glassdoor. As the article was about hiring trends, we contacted the company’s account representative to get the name of an editor we could contact. Glassdoor decided that yes, this was relevant to their employer platform and released the article to great success.

Does your job end there? No. You will need to promote that article in order to obtain a return on your investment. You will also want to ensure the article is a success for your publisher’s sake: one hit article will likely ensure they will want to publish another one.

How do you promote it? Tune in for Part II on our Thought Leadership series.  

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