Trends Lab Weekly: Your Best Content Strategy is Thought Leadership
So many people I have spoken to as of late complain about the term “thought leadership.” They are always asking, “what does it really mean and where does it get you?” B2B companies have known about this terminology for almost two decades and it has led to a lot of their content creation. In the B2B space, companies don’t make on-the-fly purchase decisions. You just can’t when you’re looking to overhaul your server systems at $4 million a pop. So you read up on what experts have to say on the subject. Maybe watch them give a speech or follow their Twitter feed to see what they are curating. These experts have been given names including influencers, champions, advocates, guru or even what I call myself, Subject Matter Expert or SME for short.
Why should your business be doing thought leadership? And who should do it? Well, to say it in short, everyone. Because thought leaders should be your entire organization. Not simply those at the top of the company. The best way for your company to transform is to crowdsource and collaborate as much as possible. Make everyone a part of the process in the new way of thinking about business. The other reason is thought leadership is your best content strategy. People want to feel like a company is larger than simply selling software or soda. They want to identify with it as a transformer of culture or the world at large. So here are five reasons on how to turn thought leadership into content. Have any ideas of your own? Feel free to join the conversation. After all, thought leadership means little if there isn’t a larger conversation around the subject.
1. There is a lack of thought leadership in the world. Only 30% of companies use it now. That’s a small figure. And of those an even smaller percentage use social to amplify this thinking. So if you write it or video record it, amplify it on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, SlideShare, etc. People enjoy this thinking and want to share it.
2. The largest return that a company can generate comes from not just displaying expertise but having superior services that help your clients. Thought leadership is that inroad to a potential or current client saying, “This is exactly what we want. Thinkers who can also act on that thinking and execute it for us into a meaningful solution.” But they can’t get turned onto this thinking unless they actually see it. And where they see it is on your social channel.
3. People are drawn into thought leadership because it’s editorial made for sharing. Content comes in all sizes and shapes but if it’s a passive piece of content will it reverberate within your community? Thought leadership looks to get a rise out of people. If it doesn’t it’s not leadership. The reason being is thought leadership is innovative, ahead of the curve and sets a bold new path where no one has gone before. That meets resistance from systems that don’t want to bend to change. And with that resistance comes conversation around the topic. And from conversation, sharing. And from sharing, invitations extending to more people to discuss your POV on the issue, subject, category, product, initiative, etc.
4. Thought leadership comes in many shapes and sizes. Many think it’s still a boring white paper. But the best is now video sermons, Tweetchats, Q&As, infographics and more. The way you serve up your thought leadership is packaged as content. It’s not simply words on a paper.
5. You become the conversation piece. Thought leaders don’t simply publish then sit back and move onto the next piece of content creation. Nor do those who consume such content not have an opinion. Content should be engaging. Thought leadership has this built-in so it instigates people to react. It’s a modern day futbol match. There are always two sides. One side may react in many ways generating additional reactive content that keeps your brand or company as the focal centerpiece around the topic. And when people are talking about the topic that you generated within a social environment, you’re creating a level of engagement that equates to a possible advocate and an advocate that equates to a potential lead.
Geoffrey Colon is Vice President of Social@Ogilvy and editor of the Futurist Lab on Tumblr. He also tweets @djgeoffe