Why Thought Leadership? Isn’t That Just Jargon?
I started my writing career with blog posts and articles. They covered all kinds of topics from cryptocurrency to fences – yes, I wrote multiple 1000 word posts on fencing.
However, the more I wrote, the more frustrated I became. We live in a digital age, overloaded with vast amounts of information. Businesses understand that they need regular, fresh and SEO optimised content on their websites to improve their ranking. However, much of this content was regurgitated, adding nothing new for their audience. There are even companies that just “spin” content – hence why so many posts seem almost identical.
As someone who loved studying and learning, who values quality writing, it was frustrating and demoralising.
Then, I discovered thought leadership content. Now, many will read the phrase “thought leadership”, roll their eyes and mutter, “not more corporate jargon”.
However, in doing so, they are closing themselves off the many benefits that it can offer. If you are a brand that wants to be at the forefront of your industry and a company that has something different to offer, then thought leadership is important for you.
What Is Thought Leadership?
Thought leadership content is original, well-thought-out and adds something new to the debate. Rather than repeating what is already out there, this content is well-researched and demonstrates a more in-depth knowledge, showing the brand is innovative and different from the norm.
As you’ll see below, there are numerous benefits.
Improve Brand Perception
Think of thought leadership as a stamp that lays out what is most important to your brand, what you believe in and the direction that you’re taking. That doesn’t mean that everyone is going to become an enthusiastic fan of yours. However, for your ideal client’s it will capture their attention and increase the value they attach to your brand.
It’s not just your ideal clients, though. With a thought leadership strategy, you can position yourself as an authority, boosting brand value.
Employee Attraction & Retainment
While it’s common for businesses to associate content with marketing and increasing sales, there are many other benefits with thought leadership content. It will inevitably touch on your brand attributes and in their 2015 study, Myrden & Kelloway found that “young workers are particularly influenced by symbolic attributes of the organisations’ brand image”.
By placing yourself at the forefront of your industry and demonstrating your unique approach, you become a more attractive employer and will attract the best candidates for your vacancies. It is also likely that employees will stay with the company longer as they continue being a leader in their field.
Builds Credibility & Trust
It doesn’t matter whether you are B2B or B2C, if you want to make sales, your potential customers have got to trust you. You can achieve this by building your credibility and demonstrating that you are an expert leading the way in your industry. It’s just another example of why thought leadership is important. This type of content can demonstrate your research, experience and expertise.
Trust can be hard-won with an increasingly sceptical public let down numerous times. Thought leadership content allows you to share with honesty where you are at and what you are moving towards. It can show how you are serious about an issue rather than just spinning it for marketing purposes.
For example, I love working with socially responsible businesses, but we all know that some are more serious about this than others. A thought leadership piece could share the steps you’re taking, what you’re aiming for in the future and the challenges that you still need to overcome to do this. It shows that your not just a company trying to tick boxes but one that is taking the matter seriously.
Increased PR Opportunities
When you start putting your thoughts out there and show that you’re leading the way, it attracts attention and new opportunities. You’ll find that you’re invited to be interviewed, to be a speaker, to contribute to articles and more.
This only furthers your positioning in the marketplace and compounds your levels of success at becoming a thought leader within your industry. It’s the perfect way for your business to gain more visibility.
Why have I left this one to last? Isn’t this what all companies are ultimately wanting? Well, yes, but initially at least, this is not the biggest concern with thought leadership. Too many businesses think in this way, and eventually, they get their fingers burned.
Thought leadership is essential because it helps you to demonstrate your expertise, show what’s different about you and establish yourself as a leader, setting you apart from the competition.
However, that means tapping into the expertise held in your company, and it means you do need to be doing something innovative and different. Some businesses will see thought leadership content as a way to make more sales and be tempted to “fake” it as leaders. However, “the truth will always out”, and when it does, it can damage brand reputation.
No doubt establishing yourself as an authority leader will increase your sales long-term, but it’s far better to approach this type of content as an opportunity to share your brand approach, expertise and innovation with potential customers, stakeholders, staff and partners than to get sucked into the sales potential. Do it right, and the sales will come as a result.
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