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What's The Challenge In Making Your Thought Leadership Content Impactful?

The trouble with thought leadership is that everyone wants to do it, but not all can succeed in doing it right.

It is an excellent way for industry leaders to connect with and educate customers. It is also an opportunity for them to showcase their expertise. If done right, it will keep you or your organisation in a potential customer’s mind and ensure a steady flow of new business coming in.

In fact, in a recent Edelman - LinkedIn Impact study a few customers gave their opinion on thought leadership.

  • 65% believe thought leadership content changed the perception of a company and, more importantly, for the better

  • 63% say that thought leadership proves that an organisation genuinely understands a business’s specific challenges.

  • 54% feel thought leadership draws attention to news topics that the media would rarely cover but are meaningful within the industry.

However, being a thought leader is easier said than done.

Often organisations use thought leadership content as a way to sell their product or service. Yes, the goal is to attract customers but directly selling to them on a platform where you should be giving insight will not increase your followers. Another mistake in publishing thought leadership content is to co-opt an idea in the hopes of creating an impression. Customers can see right through this façade.

So, what does it take to be a true thought leader? When Orbit Media conducted a study, they found these qualities best associated with a thought leader:

  • Opinionated

  • Experienced

  • Knowledgable

  • Transparent with a willingness to share wisdom

  • An outside-the-box thinker

But is it all? Here are some mistakes to avoid while creating effective thought leadership content.

Not defining your goals or your audience

The first step to a successful thought leadership strategy is identifying your goals. Go back and take a look at your existing marketing goals and see how thought leadership can be integrated to help you achieve them.

Alongside defining your goals, it is essential to remember to whom you are catering. In this scenario, ask yourself two questions:

  • Who exactly is my desired audience?

  • Who will benefit from what I have to say?

The end goal will always be to reach CEOs, decision-makers and marketing managers. But first, you need to reach a wider audience to help promote you or your company and become a part of the community, acting as a brand advocate.

Not putting out your real self

Often, thought leaders want the content to sound intelligent and intriguing. Your consumers on the other hand like the honest, transparent version of you. They like to know the people they follow. So, don’t just pick topics you think are intelligent, but what truly excites you.

Not caring about what others say

Disregarding what your competitors and followers think of your content is necessary to gain perspective and new insights. So, make it a habit to do your research and see what you can add to the conversation for higher engagement.

Not developing a content calendar

Often, leaders know the value of thought leadership content, but not necessarily the importance of consistency. Consumers like to know when the content they are following is coming. Whether you are writing two articles a week or posting 12 pieces of content a month, map it out and stay committed to that schedule. This will also help you keep up with the market trends, stay up to date with fresh research and find the scope to improve your work.

Not falling back on your team

Indeed, the thought leader’s content should come from you, the industry leader, but your team is who has helped you reach this position, and gain the required experience. You need to make them a part of your thinking process and collate their perspectives as well.

Not using your consumer’s language

When you’re an industry leader or a subject matter expert, you are sure to have gained a lot of knowledge and learnt new skills and terms that you would want to share with your readers. Note that most of your consumers may not know the jargon, phrases, or other nitty-gritties of the industry. If you want to connect with your target audience as a thought leader, you need to break it down and make the industry more understandable for them.

Establishing yourself or your brand leader as a thought leader can be leveraged to improve your brand’s image. All it takes is to follow the right strategy and replace the aforementioned mistakes with impactful solutions.


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