When you hear “thought leadership,” what comes to mind?
A TED Talk? A post on LinkedIn? Content on a website?
Thought leadership is all of those things and more. Thought leadership allows brands to bolster their current content marketing strategy in a low-cost or no-cost manner by tapping into the talent, experience, and insight from inside the company. Rather than a brand sharing a story or insights, employees—and leaders—become brand ambassadors, offering a “behind-the-scenes” perspective that lends authenticity and relatability to any topic.
Additionally, thought leadership allows individuals to corner a market as the “expert” in a given field, which can boost the credibility of a brand overall and offers a wealth of opportunities to build relationships with current and prospective clients.
But given the sheer volume of content produced and promoted every day, it often feels like an overwhelming challenge to try to break through the noise and put your content in front of those that may be most likely to consume it. So, how do you break through? Here are the four best practices that have proven effective, time and again:
- The content author is an expert in the topic that they are writing about. This goes without saying, but it’s important to get it out there in the open. Your thought leadership content should speak to your specific areas of knowledge and expertise. Rather than focusing on what everyone else in your industry might be talking about, a focus on your unique areas of expertise sets your content apart. What has your experience taught you that you can teach to others?
- The thought leadership piece is part of a larger, holistic content campaign. Whether it is a blog, a video, a whitepaper, website content, or a LinkedIn post, think about how the piece fits into your overall content strategy. Thought leadership content that is published once as an article on LinkedIn is great, but it has a short shelf life if it lives alone amongst all of your other content. There are several ways to get the more out of your content:
- Find ways to distill one thought leadership piece throughout several different channels (social media posts, website content, blog posts, podcasts) over an extended period of time.
- Create a series of thought leadership pieces around one centralized theme. This extends thought leadership opportunities out over a longer period of time, helping the thought leader—the brand and the individual—to be more consistently present in the audience’s content streams on one particular topic, which builds credibility, as opposed to multiple one-and-done thought leadership pieces that appear irrelevant to one another. Think: The Future of Energy: A Four-Part Series vs. What’s New with Renewables.
- There is a level of frequency and consistency with the thought leadership. Rome wasn’t built in a day, and thought leaders aren’t made with one LinkedIn post. It takes time to build your presence through published content, no matter the channel or medium. Create an editorial calendar that lays out a plan of how often and where thought leadership content is published and stick to it.
- Rather than focusing on one large group, the content focuses on a common pain point and a way to solve it. It is very difficult to write content that reaches a generalized audience and comes across to your actual audience as authentic and relatable. The reason? Everyone in that generalized audience is different. Not every CEO of every renewable energy company has the same values or interests, but they do ultimately have the same goals, whether it is to expand their services to different target markets, drive a profit, or play a key role in helping a state meet its own renewable energy goals. Many of them also have similar challenges. By focusing on a particular goal or challenge, your content will resonate at a much higher level than it would if it spoke simply to a generalized group.
Drop us a line and let us know: What is preventing you from making thought leadership a part of your company’s overall content marketing strategy? We’d love to hear your thoughts and answer some of your biggest questions around thought leadership.