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The Thought Leader’s Playbook for Content Marketing

Written by: Katie Lipsett, Social Media Marketing Strategist

In this digital age where content is the key to digital marketing, it’s easy to stumble upon thousands of blog posts that cover the same topics. The web is a big bucket of information overload, and everyone is mining it for the newest ways to think and the information that hasn’t yet been told.

Wouldn’t you love to be the thought leader behind what everyone is looking for? Somebody who is influential and authoritative, answering the biggest questions on the minds of your target audience?

Those who can master thought leadership help establish and drive marketing strategy that’s lasting and prosperous. It’s a complex process and it’s a whole lot more complicated than writing a couple of blog posts on industry topics. Lace up your shoes and get ready to practice these five plays that can make you and your company the next thought leader.

Play 1: Be Confident and Passionate

In order for your audience to see you as credible, regular publications and being an industry leader are great – but not necessary. Thought leadership can come from any source – executives, product managers, designers, customer service reps, sales, you name it.

Thought leaders are people who are knowledgeable and passionate about a subject, and most importantly, they convey the information with the utmost confidence. If you are confident in your subject matter and you let that confidence show through in your writing, you’re already on your way to being a credible thought leader.

Play 2: Ask the Question

There really isn’t a magic question to ask. It’s questions in general that will break the are-you-credible spell. Believe it or not, if you ask your audience questions, you will be perceived as more credible and trustworthy. Showing your curiosity while involving your audience helps build credibility while simultaneously driving engagement. Cha-ching!

Play 3: Invite Experts into Your Circle

At some point in your life you’ve probably been asked, “If your friends jumped off a cliff, would you do it too?” Of course you wouldn’t! You’re a strong and independent thinker. Why would you do that?  But, what if all your investor friends are rushing to buy a specific stock because it’s “hot”? Or you go out and spend $1K on the new iPhone because everyone else is doing it? Don’t beat yourself up if you follow a trend, it’s normal. It’s actually the norm and the way commerce works. People naturally tend to adopt the behaviors and thought processes of those around them.

So, what does that mean for you as a budding leader of thoughts? It means your audience will believe you to be an expert in your industry if other members of your audience think you are. Want an easy workaround until you can establish yourself? Surround yourself with industry experts who have already established a favorable reputation by inviting them to be guest bloggers. Their expertise will bleed into your own and your audience will quickly begin to see you on the same level as these experts.

Play 4: Honesty is the Best Policy

Ever felt a sting of frustration after clicking a link that promised great information only to find out the article doesn’t deliver on the headline’s promise? This maddening click-bait marketing practice is not something we recommend. Be honest in everything you do digitally. Keep your headlines and content honest and your efforts will be rewarded with a good reputation.

Play 5: Challenge the Norm

Successful thought leaders take that confidence we mentioned earlier and spark a little friendly controversy. Of course, you have to back up your stance with ample evidence and examples. By doing this successfully you’ll encourage your audience to think differently, which will put you at the forefront of thought leadership.

All in all, the benefits of thought leadership begin with brand affinity and end with becoming a social business that people look to first, whether for advice or products. By effectively communicating thought leadership you not only become part of the conversation early in the consumer journey, but you also allow your audience to get to know your brand. Thought leadership is an outcome of a great content strategy. Exposing your thought leaders will set you on the path to becoming the innovative, influential business you seek to be.


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