There’s a lot of confusion about thought-leadership — even among international event and media executives. Is it marketing, learning or business development? Where should it sit, and who should lead? How can we manage spaces that generate and promote thought-leadership?
Thought leadership should be original thinking that helps companies engage decision-makers and support their wider commercial and marketing goals. Great examples contain agenda-setting insights that light up the world and create lasting impact on an audience — and on the business itself.
While it’s fair to see it as the cream of content marketing, it can also be a powerful force for business strategy and the learning and development of both staff and organisations. Projects are often large and complex, requiring many different stakeholders to work together as a team. Whether an event or media asset, thought leadership takes time to establish.
Research conducted to produce the content helps validate that your solutions are right for your market. A programme of content can ease prospects into a sales conversation, one where you have already gained their respect and trust in your expertise. Done well, thought leadership opens up conversations about challenges that matter.
Because it’s a great differentiator for business-to-business marketers and consultancies, lawyers, accountants and property agents are all laying claim to this new intellectual territory in order to start commercial conversations. Sadly, much ‘thought-leadership’ content falls wide of the mark.
Copy that merely regurgitates existing ideas — or, worse, is thinly-veiled sales spiel — might generate a few social media shares, but the attention will be fleeting, and the effort commercially unrewarding.
Yet, investing in surveying an audience and reporting back to it year after year — such as at an industry event — the media and other audiences will come to respect, trust and expect it.
Former managing editor at the Economist Intelligence Unit, Rob Mitchell, identified five common pitfalls:
Writer Erika Toni suggests companies choose which role to play. She’s picked out four archetypes who add value to public debate. The best role for you will depend on your organisation’s main strength.
Contented helps engineers to generate and promote insights and act on them. Contact us for further information on enquiry[at]contented.net