Thought Leadership Content Strategy

Before thought leaders put pen to paper (or fingers to keyboard), it’s important to strategically frame an article in terms of its readership. The following tips can help you shape your story so it has maximum impact and exposure.

Define the audience for your thought leadership topic. Start by identifying your clients and then think about their concerns. Consider how your expertise helps them better accomplish their mission and/or solve problems.

Write for a specific publication. If you are targeting a specific publication, first make sure that its editors accept content from outside writers. Then, educate yourself about the kind of content that the publication routinely includes in its issues. Most of all, remember that your article should be relevant to the publication’s audiences, as well as to your company.

Think about the different channels where your clients might see your content. Be sure to expand your reach beyond the print publication box. Consider the digital and social media platforms your clients follow. Get your content published where you know it will be seen and, more important, where you know it will generate online engagement.

Describe the insights that you bring to a specific topic. Speak to your expertise. Draw from episodes where you helped clients overcome great challenges. What did you learn from these experiences and what are the lessons learned that you can teach others as a result? This requires you to research what has already been written about your topic so you don’t retread previously-covered content.

List the key things that the audience will learn from your piece. Remember that your readers are looking to learn something new. Your content can educate your audience about a trend that will affect your clients’ businesses, a way to get better results for your clients, tools to address a social or environmental problem, a solution to a big issue facing your clients or the world at large—or all four!

Research or provide data to support your thesis. Google your topic. Do some background reading. Review your own projects and their outcomes. The best thing you can do is include real-life examples, quote a client, or insert findings from a legitimate study to bolster your argument.

Use visuals or graphics, typography, and interactive charts to make your points. Good images help tell your story and make it informative. Be sure you have good professional photography if a project is finished. (If a project is not completed, you can use renderings, floor plans, sections, and other drawings to illustrate your points). Create compelling charts and graphs to display your data and findings. Consider using videos and post them on social media.