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Still want to be a thought leader? Get organised

Three-quarters of business decision-makers and C-level execs say thought leadership content has prompted them to research products or services they’d not previously considered[1]. But 57% of marketers say creating the right content is a challenge[2]. How can you make your thought leadership content compelling and help you stand out from the crowd?

When creating your content assets, it’s a good idea to follow a structured process that keeps you on message, on target, and producing great content. These 8 tips will guide your thought leadership content creation.

  1. Create in-depth content outlines. When kicking off a thought leadership asset, take the time to develop a detailed outline. A good outline should include the asset’s purpose, main points and arguments, supporting data, and key takeaways. It also helps ensure your content provides clear, actionable insights and is easy to understand.
  2. Develop content briefs. This helps keep your writer on track. An effective brief should detail the key points to be included in the asset, target audience, and desired outcomes. Your brief should also include guidelines on tone, style, language (such as UK or US English), and length.
  3. Create a content calendar. A content calendar helps you plan and organize content in advance to ensure a consistent flow of content. Which helps prevent last-minute rushes and allows for better resource allocation. Deadlines, responsible team members, and distribution channels should be included in your content calendar, so you know who is doing what and when.
  4. Collaborate with content experts. Your thought leadership output will only be as good as the experts you engage to produce it. So, work with professional writers, editors, and designers to ensure your content is polished and impactful. And make sure you carry out a robust review process to maintain accuracy and credibility.
  5. Develop high-quality, original content. Your thought leadership content needs to stand out from the crowd, so produce content that includes thought-provoking articles, comprehensive whitepapers that demonstrate your expertise, engaging videos, insightful podcasts, and interesting, interactive webinars. Always start out with a focus on creating well-researched, expertly-written, and visually appealing content.
  6. Distribute and promote your content. You want your thought leadership content in front of as many eyes as possible, so use multiple channels. Leverage your own channels, including your company blog, website, and email newsletters. There’s earned media, which is third-party media you don’t pay for, including press releases, guest posts, interviews, and mentions in industry publications. And there’s social media, which includes LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and so on. Post and amplify thought leadership articles, interviews, and other content to reach a wider audience.
  7. Engage with your audience. After people read your thought leadership content, you want them to share with colleagues. So encourage comments, shares, and discussions on social media and blog posts, and respond to feedback and questions to help build a feeling of community and trust.
  8. Host and participate in industry events. Thought leadership extends to getting your subject matter experts in front of industry peers. So organize webinars, panel discussions, and workshops to present your ideas, and target speaking opportunities at conferences and on industry panels to showcase your expertise.

Get organised

How do I know if it has been a success?

You can track different metrics like hit rate, traffic, engagement, and conversion rates, but it can be difficult to decide which are most relevant. To measure the engagement your content gets, you can use marketing automation tools, Google Analytics, press clippings, and social listening.

You can also extend performance analysis to wider, more targeted metrics. One is to measure the perception of your brand’s expertise in your industry using tools like surveys, focus groups, and social listening tools. Direct audience feedback can be gathered using surveys, feedback forms, and social media interactions to gauge the impact of your thought leadership work.

You can determine if your thought leadership is increasing your influence and authority with invitations to speak at industry events, requests for guest posts or opinions, and industry awards. Tracking community growth is another metric: using social media analytics and email marketing platforms, measure the growth of your following on social media, email subscribers, and other platforms where you’ve shared thought leadership content.

Done right, thought leadership content can be very effective and even award-winning. Some good examples of award-winning thought leadership content include Deloitte Insights, IBM’s Institute for Business Value, Boston Consulting Group’s Henderson Institute, and HubSpot’s Inbound Marketing Blog. They’re worth a look to give you an idea of what market-leading thought leadership content should look like.

Further reading

Thought leadership: a logical process, not a magic trick

Not yet a thought leader? Here’s how you can start

What thought leadership actually means

Why thought leadership matters… and how to build it

Need some support with thought leadership?

Futurity can help you design a programme, manage the content schedule, harness your thought leaders’ insights and support their comms activities.

Reach out to [email protected]




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