The phrase thought leadership marketing is frequently used. But when you ask what it means, the replies are all over the place. It’s a personality type. It’s a sort of content. It’s a strategy.
The phrase thought leadership marketing is frequently used. But when you ask what it means, the replies are all over the place. It’s a personality type. It’s a sort of content. It’s a strategy.
According to research by Mantis Research and SurveyMonkey Audience, this is a more fitting definition based on participant responses.
“Educational material, provided by an expert or company, that recognizes new trends and is supported by research. It challenges the thinking of the target audience and promotes marketing outcomes.”
We get a more full picture when we include some of the less common replies (those with 50% agreement). When you bring the attributes together, you can see that there are three key ones: expert insights, personal brand, and taking a position.
These three classifications correspond to Aristotle’s Three Modes of Persuasion. They also correspond to certain online marketing techniques and broad personalities.
The thought leader sits at the crossroads of the subject matter expert, social influencer, and key opinion leader. Let’s take a closer look at each of those crucial features.
Let’s go over what it is and how to incorporate it into your marketing strategy in the sections below. We’ll also look at some of the best examples and types of content you can think about creating.
- What Is Thought Leadership?
- Thought Leadership Marketing
- 1. Get to know your audience and keep learning about them.
- 2. Be an expert in your field
- 3. Develop a strong (personal) brand within your industry.
- 4. Participate on social media.
- 5. Distribute material in a variety of locations.
- 6. Examine what your rivals are doing.
- 7. Create web pages and sites that show the results of your expert knowledge.
- 8. Create websites that showcase and mirror the search intent of potential sales leads
- 9. Be sincere.
- How to craft a thought leadership marketing strategy
- Step 1: Decide on your goals
- Define your audience
- Step 2: Review your existing thought leadership activities
- Step 3: Examine your competitors.
- Step 4: Identify Your Organization’s Focus and Its Thought Leaders
- Step 5: Create your thought leadership content
- Step 6: Produce and disseminate content pieces in a variety of places.
- Step 7: Evaluate the outcomes.
- Thought leadership content
- 15 ways to make yourself a more visible expert or authority
- Thought leadership examples to learn from
- Can a company/firm be a thought leader?
- Is it possible to outsource thought leadership?
- Do you need a sizable social media following?
- Do thought leaders need to speak up?
- Is it necessary for thought leaders to take a stand or have controversial viewpoints?
- Is thought leadership considered a sort of marketing?
- Does thought leadership marketing work for most companies? If so, what does the research say are the results we can expect?
- Why are there so few backlinks?
- What is the level of acceptance for this strategy?
- Listen or watch the episode with Sagar Sethi
- About Sagar
- Some topics we discussed include:
- Listen to the episode
- Related links and resources
- Connect with Sagar
What Is Thought Leadership?
Thought leadership is a strategy used by content marketers to establish credibility for themselves or company leaders. The primary purpose of such content is to be acknowledged as an authority in your industry and to be used as a go-to resource. To become a thought leader, one might generate and distribute instructive and useful information, as well as become involved in the industry community, particularly on social media.
Thought leadership can be used as a content marketing strategy by a person or company because providing value to your audience demonstrates your brand’s usefulness. Then, when someone needs a product or service similar to what you offer, they’ll regard you as an expert and come to you first.
If you’re successful, you’ll raise awareness among your target audience, generate more leads, improve social proof, and increase online engagement.
Brian Dean, for example, is a thought leader in the SEO sector. He’s demonstrated his worth as a content marketer worth following by routinely publishing material pertaining to his profession.
Benefits for a business
Consider the names Peter Drucker, Jim Collins, Malcolm Gladwell, and Seth Godin. These people’s names are familiar to you not because of their commercial successes, but because of their written ideas. They have established authority in their respective business niches, which has led to people trusting their recommendations. By developing content that connects with your consumers and industry members, you can position your firm in the same light.
Because it alters your firm’s brand perception, giving your consumers the idea that your organization is amongst the best in its sector.
According to Edelman and LinkedIn research, 58 percent of 1,200 respondents read one or more hours of thought leadership content per week. In addition, 55 percent of respondents said they use this form of content to vet potential employers.
Consuming such content has an impact on purchasing decisions as well. In fact, 60% of decision-makers stated that thought leadership persuaded them to purchase a product or service they had not previously considered.
In fact, it can have a tremendous ROI – perhaps greater than any other online marketing effort. Businesses with a strong thought leadership presence generate more sales leads, and their clients are prepared to spend more.
While revenue growth is the primary benefit, there are also other significant benefits. In addition to attracting leads, thought leadership marketing has the following advantages:
Recruiting new employees. Talented individuals gravitate towards organizations whose ideas are well-known and respected. And potential employees are significantly more interested in working for a firm that they believe is the finest in its sector.
Increasing press exposure. When the information on your website is actually intriguing, people – even journalists – tend to see the author as an authority. Because of their apparent authority, these websites receive greater press attention.
Receiving prospects for business growth. A great reputation attracts potential partners who can help your firm develop. The best business development is the kind that you don’t have to go looking for, but rather comes to you as a result of your authoritative presence.
Speaking opportunities are being requested. Public speaking at conferences and private events can also be considered as a form of thought leadership. Companies and individuals who are well-known for their ideas are more likely to receive these coveted keynote invitations.
Why thought leadership content marketing fails
According to the Mantis-Orbit-SurveyMonkey study, in order to be regarded as thought leaders, content authors must:
To put it another way, your material must have a clear aim, point of view, and influence on your audience. Don’t be a brand that simply releases content for the sake of publishing it.
The emphasis should be on informing decision-makers, keeping them up to date on critical industry concerns, and assisting them in making future predictions. You must also demonstrate empathy and understanding of the primary difficulties and priorities they confront. According to the Content Marketing Institute, ‘What’s lacking today is not the thought, it’s the leadership.
Mark W. Schaefer author of KNOWN: The Handbook for Building and Unleashing Your Personal Brand in the Digital Age says –
“Nobody is born a thought leader. It’s something you need to earn in the mind of your audience, slowly over time. You should approach the process of becoming known with humility and respect to those who came before you.”
So, how can you include a thought leadership marketing strategy into your plans? In this section, we’ll look at the best strategies.
Thought Leadership Marketing
Now that we’ve defined the term, let’s go over some good practices before we get started.
1. Get to know your audience and keep learning about them.
Knowing your audience is essential to the success of any marketing campaign, and it is no exception here. Begin by creating a buyer persona. What motivates, inspires, or irritates your audience? What are the questions they are posing? Investigate social networks or perform consumer interviews to find out. Once you’ve figured out these details, you can start responding to their inquiries with material that shows your expertise and authority in the field.
It’s also critical to check in with and reevaluate your buyer personas on a regular basis. Are your customers’ inquiries evolving over time? Do their pain points appear the same today as they did when you initially started your business? People change, and so will your target audience.
2. Be an expert in your field
Industry experience is the key to success in thought leadership marketing. Real-life cases and personal experiences give you unique insights that consumers may use. By sharing this information, you offer them access to unique perspectives and toolsets.
There are two kinds of expert brands: person-centric and company-centric.
Person-Centric thought leadership marekting
To be a thought leader, you must be an insightful professional in your field at a minimum. Being charismatic can certainly help as well.
While it is possible to be the face of the campaign with little actual knowledge and a team of professionals to support and back you up, it is extremely risky.
When you create a brand based on your persona but lack the actual skills, you risk jeopardizing your position and being exposed as a fraud, which will discredit both you and those who support you.
Company-Centric thought leadership marketing
If you really have a good eye for talent and a vision for a firm, in addition to a wonderful team of experts, you should think about putting the company forward as a thought leader rather than placing yourself in the spotlight as a thought leader. You will gain credibility while at the same time reducing the risk to yourself. Additionally, by doing so, you demonstrate that you are a capable and modest business leader to your peers.
You may give your brand a boost by putting aside your own ego and depending on the efforts of your teammates. You will have better results, be able to think up ideas that are more inventive and inspirational, and ultimately be able to give more value to your clients and followers if you go in this manner.
Who makes the best thought leaders?
Any expert can be a thought leader. A large majority of respondents (68 percent) believe that competence is required. It is the most important component.
Indeed, 34% of those polled replied, “I don’t think the style of a person counts; anyone can be a thought leader.”
But job and title still play some influence in believability. Executives are more effective thought leaders than consultants.
Around 30% of respondents believe that authors of books and event speakers are good thought leaders. Publishing and presenting are big plusses, but not required. Analysts who publish unique research also have an edge.
To truly succeed at this strategy, you must be creating content that is valuable. Demonstrate your expertise in the sector by speaking intelligently about relevant industry challenges. It is critical to go deep and demonstrate your proficiency in one topic area at a time.
For example, it might be difficult to establish oneself as an expert in marketing in general (at least at first), but you can have your company’s director of SEO generate material for your blog or LinkedIn to illustrate your brand’s unique knowledge in SEO.
3. Develop a strong (personal) brand within your industry.
To make an impact, the material must connect with an audience. It is the best-advertised material that wins, not the greatest content. Even the most informative information has little impact in the absence of an audience.
4. Participate on social media.
Social networking is an excellent way to enhance your brand and expertise. For starters, social networking keeps you active and involved in your neighborhood. Second, you may utilize it to comment on industry news and ensure that your brand’s voice is heard in discussions about important industry trends.
Furthermore, you may utilize appropriate social platforms to promote this content in an organic way that does not appear excessively promotional.
5. Distribute material in a variety of locations.
Creating such content entails more than just writing on your blog. It also entails being present on social platforms, guest writing on other websites, and speaking at events or on podcasts.
It’s critical to blend owned media with other media sources. Consider having a mix of written material, video content, and audio content, such as podcasts.
Finally, this content should be made available wherever your audience is.
6. Examine what your rivals are doing.
Analyze what your rivals are using a similar strategy. How frequently do they post? Where are they advertising? Don’t be scared to draw inspiration from your rivals.
In addition, you may observe what your rivals are lacking. Maybe you can fill in the blanks in the stuff they’re sending out.
7. Create web pages and sites that show the results of your expert knowledge.
According to the study by Mantis Research and Survey Monkey content that is most beneficial to people is educational/how-to information. In other words, consumers of thought leadership articles want to learn.
In the study, all of the information-based replies outnumbered the opinion-based responses. In other words, perspective is less essential than education.
71% of respondents agreed that “purely instructional information may represent thought leadership”
8. Create websites that showcase and mirror the search intent of potential sales leads
People, including journalists, have a tendency to view the author of the content on your website as an authority on the subject matter when that content is actually intriguing. There is a correlation between the amount of thought leadership on a website and the amount of press coverage the website receives.
Obtaining opportunities for the development of one’s business. Strong reputations attract the interest of possible business partners who can contribute to the expansion of a company. The most effective form of business development is the one that does not require you to actively seek it out but rather finds you due to the authoritative presence you exude.
It is important to understand how people search in this day and age because the majority of people use Google as their primary means of discovering new goods and services. According to recent research conducted by Google, our web browsing habits have evolved over the past five to ten years. The following are the three most important takeaways from the report:
Fewer people conduct searches that are only a few words long. Only thirty percent of those using Google search look for something like “CPA firms.”
The use of lengthy keywords is typical. The average Google search contains more than three words (e.g., “top CPA firms Sydney 2022”), accounting for 54% of all queries.
People are moving away from being “keyword-focused” and toward becoming “directed toward natural language.” One out of every five searches is entirely original, which indicates that the particular keyword phrase in question has not been looked up by anyone else in the preceding half-year.
One of the most important things that can be learned from this study is that people are no longer turning to Google to advise them who they should buy from – at least not directly. Instead, they are using Google to conduct research on several companies so that they may come to their own decision over which one to purchase from. This indicates that more than ever before, websites provide users with objective information that affects the decisions they make regarding their purchases. In addition, in response to the new method that people are looking at, Google has pushed websites that focus on resources and news to the top of the search results page.
The image below for the search term “CPA firms Sydney” is an example where most search results past the map results are resources.
9. Be sincere.
We can’t stress this enough: being too promotional will not connect with your audience. In fact, it will most likely irritate them. You should create material that is true to your brand’s identity. Furthermore, you should ensure that your material is understandable to everyone, provides perspective, and is supported by market-backed data that will assist shape your audience’s thoughts or judgments. Using examples, facts, and quotes will help you get your point across.
After you’ve considered incorporating thought leadership into your marketing, it’s time to consider the sort of content you’ll want to publish.
How to craft a thought leadership marketing strategy
As with most marketing endeavors, you need to have a strategy and a game plan for how you want to proceed.
As a beginning point, here’s a simple step-by-step procedure:
Step 1: Decide on your goals
As with any strategy, the first step is to figure out what you want to achieve. Consult your present marketing goals and see if thought leadership might help you accomplish them.
Establish a SMART goal. SMART objectives are goals that are specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and timely. Before you start working on thought leadership, decide what you want to achieve, whether it’s more traffic to your site or lead creation.
If say, you want to promote awareness of your business (and the solutions it offers), a thought leadership article about industry accessibility issues could help.
Define your audience
This step involves defining your audience. These are your buyer personas, but you should also evaluate who would benefit most from hearing what you have to say. Do you want to directly contact other CEOs? Procurement officers? Sales managers?
Your audience isn’t always your buyers. So y our thought leadership strategy may need to go beyond reaching those who make a direct purchase transaction from you. You may wish to reach bigger audiences who will help spread the news about your firm, join your community, and act as a brand champion.
More importantly, revisit your goals to see if the approach would make sense to your set of circumstances.
Step 2: Review your existing thought leadership activities
After you have determined both your objectives and your target audience, the following step is to conduct some research in order to gain an understanding of the thought leadership that is currently present in your specialized field.
Sagar Sethi says he recommends looking at data from prior interactions and activities.
He makes clear that he is not in the business of creating education for you, creating the need in the market for you.
He says – We are in the business of finding out where your market is looking and placing your offer that is very appealing to your clients.
The tip-over is much quicker and more efficient because I can fix my messaging and then align it with what type of client I want by following these steps:
Creating a plan based on competitive research
Compiling a list of potential channels/keywords/audiences that fit our brand’s target demographic based on current trends and targeting relevant online media outlets.
So we believe in data, but also in finding out where the searches are already there. We want to understand your audiences and what they’re looking for before we say social media is the way to go because a lot of agencies would just deal with social media without including other marketing avenues.
You gotta be able to understand based on data where your products and services are already in need. If you know that, then just hit your future customers up with a great offer. And then you’ll make it as easy as possible for people to reach you, which is the CTA that’s talked about everywhere but there’s a certain amount of process that needs to go in before presenting the CTA.
Investigate the many different communication channels that are available in your industry, such as:
- Online forums and communities
- News resources (online and offline)
- Trade publications and journals (online and offline)
- Personal brand platforms, such as LinkedIn and Medium
- Company blogs
- Social media
- Webinars and seminars
Then, start learning about current thought leadership trends and concepts. This can assist you to grasp your industry’s core concerns and identify key influencers and thought leaders.
Pay attention to your competition. What’s their stance? If they’re delivering thought leadership content, how? Analyze what they’re doing and use it to inform your plan.
Lastly, look within. Review your company’s historical blog posts or communications to determine its stand on particular topics. This will ensure you don’t alienate existing clients if you come out with a controversial position that goes against previously stated positions.
Step 3: Examine your competitors.
Answer questions such, as “Who is my audience currently looking to for answers?” to trigger further brainstorming ideas. Again, you’ll want to fill in the blanks in their content and discuss what they’re not.
Step 4: Identify Your Organization’s Focus and Its Thought Leaders
CEOs and other high-level managers provide thought leadership content in over 50% of organizations, according to SEMrush’s survey. Also, in 49.4% of organizations, SMEs develop content, while 48.7% hire in-house or freelance copywriters.
It is not uncommon for copywriters to create the text content, but also have subject matter experts, CEOs, and managers involved in the process.
So, how can you identify the right Thought Leaders in your business?
- Your first order of business before beginning the process of content creation should be to determine the organizational level at which your thought leadership functions. To give one example, what does your company specialize in doing the best? Where do you put most of your focus?
- The next thing you need to do is think about the larger brand story and principles you have. Is there a more significant goal or shift that you as a firm are attempting to bring about?
When it comes to determining who the thought leaders of your firm are going to be, here are some solid places to start. After all, in order for thought leadership to be effective, the individuals offering it need to be genuine and even innovative in their approach.
It is recommended that you compile a list of thought leaders because it is possible that you will wish to discuss a wide range of subjects. Consider the most important professionals that are currently employed by your organization. The following are some considerations to make:
- Alignment with your company’s mission and guiding principles. It is highly doubtful that this strategy will be successful if the thought leaders you employ do not have a strong belief in what your brand is all about, and if they are not aligned with your story and your perspective.
- Knowledge and experience are pertinent to the subject matter. Passion is another factor that has the potential to significantly alter the needle. If you are competent and enthusiastic about what you do, you will naturally inspire people to follow in your footsteps.
- Strong viewpoints, novel ideas, and cutting-edge conceptualizations. It is important to keep in mind that there is always the possibility of upsetting someone with the opinions that you hold. That being said, the fact that you can’t please everyone is perfectly acceptable (especially when it comes to thought leadership). Make sure you have a solid understanding of your target market, and base your decisions on the backstory and guiding principles of your brand.
- Experience in the creation of content, which may include the ability to write and talk, as well as previous appearances on webinars, events, and other similar occasions. In addition, it is beneficial if they are able to “establish” their trustworthiness by presenting credentials or affiliations in relevant groups.
- Your existing following extends beyond simply having a following on several social media platforms. However, this is something that develops through time, and some thought leaders will evolve alongside their organization as it progresses.
Step 5: Create your thought leadership content
Generate content ideas. Consider your personalities. Is your content targeted and strategic in relation to what people desire to read or watch? What do they look for and ask on social platforms? During your brainstorming session, respond to these questions.
There is no one specific method for sourcing material for thought leadership; however, a good beginning point can simply be to take what you already know about your goals and your audience and then use this information to begin producing ideas for content.
Other ideas for thought leadership content can come from the following places:
- Your/your thought leaders’ unique experience. Imagine, for instance, that you came up with a novel approach to resolving a problem or that you possessed an informative case study that you could share with others.
- An opinion that is widely held within your organization but deviates significantly from what is typical in the industry (here you might want to go back to your brand story).
- Because of the nature of your company, you have access to data and statistics that are one of a kind. It is possible that it is coming from either your product, your customers, or more research that you conduct.
- Market research and analytical insights. This is an excellent location to encourage your small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) to offer their thoughts and areas of expertise, and/or to use the resources of your organization to collect data that is pertinent.
- Collaboration with both your clients and your business partners.
- Collaborating with the thought leaders and influencers that are already present in the market.
- Your life’s narrative and background information. People are fascinated by tales, particularly ones that are autobiographical. For instance, a founder might tell a tale about something that occurred to them while they were establishing the firm and then discuss the major takeaways they gleaned from the experience.
Step 6: Produce and disseminate content pieces in a variety of places.
Once you’ve chosen what kind of material to publish, make sure you have a strong point of view and a distinct personality. Your material should be simple to consume and share.
Step 7: Evaluate the outcomes.
Keep track of your outcomes to discover if your content and overall strategy work. Determine the metrics you’re measuring using your SMART goals.
Thought leadership content
This content can take the form of public events or conferences, webinars, blogs, podcasts, guest posts, ebooks, videos, or social media. It takes time to create and produce this content, and it is a long-term marketing strategy.
So, how do you come up with topics to talk about or write about?
To begin, you may conduct keyword research to determine what questions people are asking. This is related to understanding your audience in order to generate content that answers their questions.
You should also stay up to date with industry news. Is there anything important going on? Is there anything going on in your field? If so, address them and anticipate your industry’s future.
You can also go wrong with articles that use forms like tips, how-tos, or best practices. You’ll only need to make sure you’re creating long-form, instructive material that your audience will want to read.
After you’ve decided on the format and sort of content you want to create, it’s time to get serious about the plan.
Types of thought leadership content
Blog entries, podcasts, and videos can all be thought leadership content. SEMrush conducted an analysis that reveals the most popular thought leadership formats as you can see in the figure below
15 ways to make yourself a more visible expert or authority
- Make sure your LinkedIn profile is flawless.
- Inquire about endorsements and recommendations.
- Search for yourself. Like what you’ve seen so far? If not, take care of your own SEO.
- Undertake research. Write an article on it for a trade journal.
- Write in-depth, thorough, and useful articles.
- Increase the frequency with which you share on social media.
- Share videos weekly on social platforms.
- Collaborate and network with other specialists.
- Form a mastermind group with other industry experts.
- Offer to talk to classes at local schools.
- Attend seminars and host breakfasts. Eggs for specialists.
- Begin a monthly meetup. Present on a topic and discover others to present on the same topic.
- Submit a guest post proposal to a related blog.
- Every day, write.
- Keep track of your expanding “Lifetime body of work” (LBOW) and use it to push you to continue producing work of ever-higher quality and quantity!
It is up to each of us to devise a strategy and implement it in order to achieve our objectives.
This leads us to our final data point, the crucial question concerning the important qualifications. We questioned whether these characteristics were necessary, desirable, or unimportant. When we categorize the responses, we can discover which components of thought leadership are favored.
Let’s sum it up in two sentences.
To be a thought leader, you must be able to clearly convey difficult new ideas, back them up with evidence, and have a strong point of view.
And it doesn’t hurt if… you’re a likable person who constantly writes, is referenced by others, and doesn’t shy away from contentious topics.
Thought leadership examples to learn from
Longitude’s CEO is Rob Mitchell who says-
“Thought leadership is about ideas, but those ideas must have a clear focus and influence on the audience.” The material must enlighten by contributing to the discourse, but that is all it must accomplish. Thought leadership that is effective also impacts behavior and, ideally, inspires the audience. It demonstrates authority by portraying your brand as an expert, but it also demonstrates empathy by exhibiting an understanding of the fundamental difficulties and concerns that business audiences face.”
We don’t anticipate this study to resolve the argument over what constitutes thought leadership. The brawls at bars and after-parties at conferences will continue. However, it is worth noting what some thought leaders are doing in order to inspire your own processes and journey.
New Ideas or Rehabilitated Ideas for Thought Leadership Strategies
It’s often about new or revitalized concepts that will make a positive influence on the industry and how you can communicate to that benefit. When others come to you with better or innovative ways to do things in your field, you may be a thought leader.
Thought Leaders to inspire your journey
How did certain thought leaders make an impact in their industry? Here are a few thought leaders in their industry who are worth monitoring, in no particular order.
Chris Guillebeau’s blogs have made Profiles, Travel, Work, Life, and Et Cetera industry leaders. Chris says he wasn’t extremely strategic, but he worked with passion. He knew he loved each category and wanted to use his design skills to provide readers rapid access to essential topics.
Thanks to his website’s outstanding content and simple navigation options, he has grown into a thought industry leader.
Marie Forleo didn’t start her business to make money. Instead, she started a business that made a difference because she realized success comes from touching people. Her web design company has made her a TV sensation with millions of fans.
Her first Marie TRV show was in 2010 before others thought of leading marketing through online TV or spectacular content performance. The most important lesson she teaches is to do the best you can with what you have. Your two, three, or seven-plus years of disciplined practice will help you attain thought leadership status.
Sally Hogshead reshaped the field of thought leadership when she discovered it isn’t all about how you see yourself. It’s how others perceive you. Her strategy is called The Fascination Advantage®. Sally is one of 172 Speaker Hall of Fame members, the greatest honor in thought leadership and content marketing.
She’s written many NYT bestsellers about developing your brand and how it’s built on perception.
Paul Jarvis is recognized for his honesty. Paul Jarvis has built a portfolio of enterprises throughout the 1990s. Ashton Kutcher and Ariana Huffington are students. They are two industry leaders in their own right but are seeking to learn more about thought leadership marketing strategies.
Can a company/firm be a thought leader?
Companies may be thought leaders, according to 70% of respondents. Of sure, a firm might assume leadership, but the thinking is always done within the organization.
Is it possible to outsource thought leadership?
And half of those polled agreed that ghostwritten articles may still be considered thought leadership content. This astounds me as well. Consumers of material don’t seem to mind whether the writing is outsourced. The creator of the material isn’t as significant as the content’s quality.
This demonstrates how much content marketing and thought leadership intersect. It is not necessary for marketers for the thought leader to be a person. A faceless corporation will suffice. And if it is a human, they are not even required to write the material.
Do you need a sizable social media following?
No. According to the poll, in order to be a leader, you must have a following, but it does not have to be a following on social platforms. Social networks offer one means of expanding your audience, but it is not the only one. Some leaders reach out to their audiences via books, essays, speaking opportunities, or conventional media.
Do thought leaders need to speak up?
We can see here how crucial it is to take a stand for (and hence against) anything. Typically, we follow people who have ideas rooted in deep beliefs. A person who lacks beliefs is less likely to elicit passion and motivate action.
However, research indicates that op/ed material is not essential.
Is it necessary for thought leaders to take a stand or have controversial viewpoints?
No. A strong point of view is necessary, but they don’t have to have beliefs that are unpopular or contentious.
Seth Godin disagrees.
he is of the belief that it should be an inspiration to others. To inspire others, one must take a stand on a controversial topic. That takes courage.
Mark Schaefer has been urging us to be brave and take a position with our material for years.
Thought leadership strategist Lee Price says –
“Perspective is the weight of your accumulated experience.” Ideas don’t just emerge out of nowhere. We form opinions based on what we have observed and learned. It’s why most thought leaders are in their mid-to-late-career stages, rather than at the start. As a consequence, I agree with the study results that thought leaders do require an opinion. We don’t want thought leaders to just convey empirical data; we want them to LEAD us with ideas they’ve developed and proven over time.”
Is thought leadership considered a sort of marketing?
Clearly, the panel of marketers who answered the poll believe so. It’s a marketing plan with precise goals and objectives. This is why thought leadership is essential for brands: it has a business impact.
Does thought leadership marketing work for most companies? If so, what does the research say are the results we can expect?
We questioned marketers that valued thought leadership if they believed it was effective. Yes, it is. 90% said their initiatives were “extremely successful” or “moderately successful.”
These findings were nearly identical to the replies to the same questions from our annual blogging survey, demonstrating the strong association between thought leadership and content marketing once again.
What precise results did they achieve? We asked the same question and discovered that the results are the same as in conventional digital marketing: website traffic, leads, and email subscribers.
The variations in results are more about boosting the brand’s profile: media mentions and speaking invitations. But consider this: why would a person or brand seek media mentions and speaking engagements? The solution is most likely more website traffic and leads.
Why are there so few backlinks?
That answer is surprising, especially given that several parts of this kind of content directly contribute to this type of outcome: original research, press mentions, and high-visibility statements. These are the perfect requirements for effective off-site SEO!
If 56 percent of respondents are driving mentions but only 26 percent are gaining backlinks, the remaining 30 percent should read this article: How to transform press mentions into links through link reclamation.
What is the level of acceptance for this strategy?
Thousands of businesses are releasing massive amounts of information, significant ideas, and fresh research. Many people consider this activity to be thought leadership, even if it does not emanate from someone with a strong brand presence or convey strong beliefs.
According to the majority of study respondents, their organizations prioritize this form of content marketing. In addition, over half of the respondents (47%) stated that they seek to be thought leaders as people.
Many people claim to be thought leaders. In fact, a fast LinkedIn search for “thought leader” yields 1,000,037 results. That is a large number of leaders.
There is some disagreement over this. Do you think you should use the phrase to describe yourself? Or is it better to let others label you?
Regardless of where you may sit in that debate, there is something to be noted in the fact that so many people are striving to be leaders by making a difference in the world by sharing their knowledge, and ideas and working to be more visible as professionals
Listen or watch the episode with Sagar Sethi
Sagar Sethi is the Managing Director and founder of Digital Marketing Agency Xugar – a growth-oriented digital agency. With more than a decade of experience in digital marketing. Xugar was started in 2017.
In this episode, Sagar shares his experience in using thought leadership marketing to grow at 1500% every year.
Some topics we discussed include:
- Why is there a lot of churn and burn in the market when companies look to get marketing help
- Do all roads in thought leadership marketing lead to better word of mouth
- How does thought leadership help with lead generation
- How to correlate building a personal brand vs the company brand
- How to use thought leadership marketing to position yourselves
- How to best pick the channels to focus on for thought leadership marketing
- Do you really need a strong brand presence to initiate thought leadership
- and much much more …
Listen to the episode
Related links and resources
- Check out Xugar
- Learn more with Susan Baier – What is Thought Leadership and How to Become a Thought Leader With Original Research
- Learn from Nicole Glickman – How to Create a Thought Leadership Event That Actually Drives Growth
- Check out the article – 20+ Powerful Marketing Strategies You Should Copy to Grow Your Company Fast
- Learn from Aron North – 7 Ways to Bring Empathetic Marketing Into Your Growth Strategy
- Learn from Sophie Wadsworth – How to Find And Embrace Your Leadership Voice to Spur Growth
- Check out the article – How to Create a Powerful Diversity Marketing Strategy That Drives Growth With Examples
- Check out the article – Richard Branson Building Thought Leadership Profile
- Listen to my interview with Ashley McManus – Thought Leadership Strategy: A Step by Step Guide With Examples For Growth
- Listen to my interview with Angel Ribo – Top 10 Tips to Scale a Business Successfully And Not Just Grow
- Listen to my interview with Marti Sanchez – How to Become a Thought Leader That Quickly Boosts Your Company Growth
- Learn from Ian Moyse – 10+ Ways to Use Personal Branding For Business Owners And Executives to Drive Growth
Connect with Sagar
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