Positioning you or your organisation as a powerful authority or thought leader will be a critical leadership and business aspiration as we begin the long and painful journey back to normality post COVID-19.
And intrinsic to achieving this goal is creating content that is useful, informative, challenging and more importantly … leads the conversation.
Here are my top thought leadership content rules which can be applied regardless of whether you’re blogging, engaged in public speaking, podcasting, developing a business book or seeking publicity.
Rule 1 – Your content needs to deliver compelling value
Providing value should be the guiding light to everything you talk or write about – even if you’re simply commenting on someone else’s blog or post.
As a thought leader your content should:
- Talk to the big challenges facing your customers, your industry or eco-system and provide the solutions and answers to those pressing problems and urgent questions.
- Provide useful tips but also the traps that should be avoided at all costs
- Introduce people to new concepts and talk about better ways of doing things.
Rule 2 – Your content should be original
Thought leadership is about producing original content, not regurgitating what everyone else is saying out there. So avoid repurposing “archived” content (that’s other people’s thinking) and present your own ideas and experiences.
The best mechanism for doing this successfully is to inject yourself into your stories and talk about your own experiences, what you’ve learned and the lessons you can pass on. Remember, thought leaders drive the conversation … they don’t just contribute to it!
Rule 3 – Respond to key issues in the external environment
As a thought leader it is essential that you are across the emerging trends, issues, threats and disruption facing your industry and that you not only alert your audiences to these but more importantly that you advise them on how to successfully navigate or respond to these opportunities or threats.
So if there is something of major consequence impacting on your industry, your client base or your community (i.e. key legislative changes, economic downturn, drought, fires, post COVID-19 concerns) be sure to weigh in with your guidance, ideas and inspiration.
Rule 4 – Climb off your pedestal
No one is perfect … not even thought leaders! In this modern age, people want to follow people who are genuine and real, not larger than life. They want to know about your failures and where you have gone wrong … and importantly how you have learned from the process. Mistakes, mishaps and shortcomings are teachable moments.
Sharing failure stories reminds others that even big dogs have bad days. Your audience will feel closer to you and will be more likely to listen to your insights and advice.
Rule 5 – Say what others are afraid to say
Don’t go running scared. You are a thought leader and people value your ideas and opinions so call out the BS in your industry or eco-system when you come across it. Don’t just complain. Rather shine a light on what is going on, explain why it is a problem and put forward suggestions about what can be done.
Let’s face it; we live in a world where people no longer believe the hype. They question everything. So if you are willing to say it as it is, you will stand out from the crowd … and for all the right reasons!
Rule 6 – Back up your ideas with hard data
One of the best ways of building great thought leadership content is to produce deep research on your niche topic or area of expertise. This will give you a depth of knowledge no one else has.
However this research does not need to involve hundreds of different projects each year but can simply be one truly worthy project that provides invaluable insights. Including data and research in your articles will ensure that what you say is evidence-based and will elevate your standing as a thought leader and vastly increase the likelihood of the media and conference organisers seeking you out.
If nothing else, having some actual data makes your ideas more persuasive than mere opinions.
Parker Public Relations helps individuals and organisations position themselves as authorities or thought leaders, strengthen their online presence and communicate their thinking and big ideas appropriately.
Call Wendy Parker on: 0422 694 503 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org