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How to Transform Thought Leadership into “Must-Read” Content

By April 2, 2024No Comments

A lot of people talk about thought leadership as a “nice to have” but not a necessary strategy in their marketing tool box. They are clearly not looking at the research, which proves its value as a solid investment of time and resources. In fact, 52% of decision makers and 54% of C-level leaders (Edelman/LinkedIn) spend one hour-plus reading thought leadership content on a weekly basis. This means that if your content is strong enough to grab the attention of current clients and prospects, you have an opportunity to form meaningful connections and spark interest in your products and services.

That doesn’t mean that it’s easy to cut through the noise and volume of thought leadership content that comes through email or other direct channels. How will you take your thought leadership content from “nice to read” to must-read? Here are 5 ways: 

Offer an Original Perspective

Don’t think you can simply repackage ideas found online and regurgitate them. Stand out thought leadership takes an original perspective that demonstrates how much thought has been put into the subject at hand. It shares one’s personal, big ideas, as well as nuances noticed and identified in their business. Leaders I follow for their unique thought leadership include social psychologist Adam Grant. Everything he says makes me stop, think, and rethink. His content is so provocative and his insights so extraordinary that I actually look forward to receiving his newsletter. 

Ask Top-Of-Mind Questions

Something extraordinary happens when a thought leader brings up “the” question/s and concerns that her/his audiences are thinking about but may not be addressing. When leaders or companies ask critical questions, ones that help you to reevaluate business decisions, they’re doing their job as influencers and thought leaders. I recall reading something about how women business owners should be marketing their companies. It was about nuances in my outbound marketing that I had been thinking of, but unfortunately not doing anything about as I kept pushing it away. When I read the question, it was eye opening; it also made me a bigger fan of the thought leader who put it out there. 

Be Unabashedly Honest

To be a recognized thought leader doesn’t mean you necessarily do everything perfectly (that’s impossible, anyway). It means that you possess the confidence to share your experiences and ideas, warts and all. I find it especially compelling when a leader I follow shares the story of a business error. It actually makes me think of them as more human, capable of error just like everyone else. It’s even more impactful when they not only share the error but also how they got to a solution. That’s empowering for the audience as they can take those “lessons learned” and apply them to their business. 

Build Familiarity

Like any type of communication, readers want to get to know who it’s coming from. 

Effective thought leadership has a way of seeping into our subconscious, building a connection and trust over time. When leaders and companies consistently send out messages that reinforce their core values, audiences take note and want more. 

Still not convinced you should be adding thought leadership to your marketing mix? I recommend reading my latest article Why You Need Thought Leadership Content: 3 Reasons.

Julie Livingston

Author Julie Livingston

Julie Livingston is president/founder of WantLeverage Communications

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