The best thought leadership content can set a business apart from competitors by positioning it as a voice of authority in a particular field or industry. Individual business owners and directors, as well as companies and brands, can all benefit from well-researched and professionally written thought leadership content.
- What is thought leadership content?
- Why is thought leadership content valuable?
- Who can benefit most from thought leadership content?
- How to create thought leadership content
What is thought leadership content?
Thought leadership content is written or video content that has more depth and requires more research than other types of content. It usually takes a longer format, with a higher word count for written content, or longer running time for video content. It is also written or presented in a more intellectual and authoritative tone of voice than other types of content.
Written as a long-form blog articles or filmed as a pieces of investigative video journalism, examples of thought leadership content might include:
- A deep-dive exploration of a particularly niche topic
- A detailed analysis of a trend and its impact on a specific industry
- Sharing knowledge and ideas that are new to a particular audience, or old knowledge applied in new ways.
Why is thought leadership content valuable?
Thought leadership content is valuable in terms of brand positioning. It helps to position the source of that content as a voice of authority, building brand belief. It also helps your brand to reach new customers and audiences by funnelling traffic to your website from a broad range of touch-points. This can generate important in-bound leads by placing you and your content as the go-to place for information on a particular topic.
In SEO terms, thought leadership writing can help digital content to rank higher in searches for desired keywords, particularly long tail keywords. It gives scope to discuss topics at length, to an audience who are expecting to learn something and are prepared to spend more time on a page.
Who can benefit most from thought leadership content?
As well as the customers or audience getting value from the content, in terms of who might publish thought leadership content there are two main beneficiaries:
- Individual business leaders, directors, and C-Suite roles, as well as public figures and other high-profile individuals. Thought leadership content positions individuals as a trusted source of information in a given field of expertise. People connect with, and believe in, other people more than they do brands. Therefore, by releasing thought leadership content, individuals foster greater engagement and belief in the brands they are associated with.
- Companies who provide products or services that are particularly niche or complex. These companies benefit from thought leadership content because of the scope for sharing expertise and knowledge in their field. For these types of companies, customers can be especially discerning. Customers need to believe they are buying from someone who knows their needs and can speak with authority on the issues that matter to them. They may also appreciate being able to learn about a topic that is relevant to their lives, but difficult to find straightforward information about.
How to create thought leadership content
The starting point for creating any long-form thought leadership content is to get to grips with:
- The topic
- The intended audience
- The right tone of voice
Thought leadership content requires a great deal of research and attention to detail in order to stand out and be useful to the audience. It also means being comfortable with writing longer work and potentially working through several redrafts. For this reason, I would recommend working in a word processing platform like Word, Pages or Google Docs before transferring the final version into the CMS of a website, blog, or the LinkedIn article publisher.
Some companies and individuals have the time and resource to generate thought leadership content themselves. However, the depth and detail required for this type of content can mean extensive research time. It also requires someone with the ability to write long form and in a manner that is intelligent and authoritative, while remaining accessible and engaging enough to keep audience attention for a longer duration.
Most thought leadership content is created externally, by either marketing agencies or specialist thought leadership content writers. The work is then ascribed to the company or individual wishing to present the content, and published on their desired channels.
The process can be collaborative if the person or company want specific details to feature in the content. Equally, it can be as simple as giving a thought leadership writer a topic and allowing them to generate the right long form content based on their research.