Thought leadership is content that can influence the way people think or discusses and identifies industry trends in an interesting or thought provoking way. Think of thought leadership as you and your firm’s ideas, insights and viewpoints on relevant topics. Thought leadership is the most important ingredient in your content marketing program. Why? Your thought leadership is the entry point to build a relationship with prospective client. It can “confirm the purchase” with existing clients. It demonstrates your authority on topics in your marketplace.. Thought leadership can differentiate you from your competitors, add value to your brand, and allow you to become a trusted advisor to your prospective clients before you even meet them.
Here are some basic guidelines on thought leadership.
- Is cumulative, and requires a consistent, diligent effort.
- Is strategic in nature, yet manifests itself as tactical exercises such as blogging, white papers, tweets, by-lined articles, webinars, FAQs, case studies, etc.
- Offers ideas that change the way people view the marketplace.
- Consists of multiple voices or opinions at an organization– executives, sales people, relationship managers, portfolio managers, anyone with knowledge, experience and a point of view infused with the larger organization’s unique perspective.
- Answers the big questions on the minds of your prospects and clients.
- Is interesting, educational, entertaining, and rises above the noise.
- Sells ideas, not products or services.
- Shares your knowledge, your organization’s knowledge and best practices.
What is the bottom line on thought leadership? If your organization can successfully and consistently execute on thought leadership, you should attract and retain clients, drive revenue and get invited to all the right opportunities. You will be considered a thought leader and your thought leadership will reflect on your organization demonstrating how you behave, what you offer, what you know, and how you treat your clients.