Content is King in Thought Leadership

This second installment in a series of posts on launching a thought leadership program focuses on generating compelling content.

Marketers play a critical role in the development of thought leadership, because they are the bridge between the thought leaders—who have the expertise—and your firm’s clients and potential clients, who are seeking it. It’s up to the marketers to help the firm’s technical staff develop compelling topics that engage clients without being too broad or too technical; align with their key markets and service areas, and achieve the desired outcomes. It’s also necessary  to inspire the technical staff to participate (while some will jump at the chance to write or speak, others won’t).

On the other hand, if your firm is like most, there’s probably  a great deal of content at your fingertips, such as material produced for client reviews, in-house presentations about a project or topic, or a lecture given by a staff member at a conference or school. Maybe someone presented an interesting idea at a meeting—why not promote it? And if you’re coming up short, you can ask your colleagues for quick bullet points about a topic of interest, or an opinion about a current trend or news story.

Keep in mind that the thought leader will need to know the answers to basic questions as he or she develops a topic. Who is the targeted audience? How do his or her unique insights compare to previous writings about the topic? What (if any) research supports the thesis? What the audience will learn? Last, consider incorporating strong graphics, typography, and interactive charts to hit the points home.

Stay tuned for our next tip—communication channels for thought leadership—in next week’s Chronicle post

This article, written by Tami Hausman, was originally published in SMPS/The Marketer magazine.