What exactly is thought leadership content?
If you’ve done any reading about B2B content marketing or blogging, you’ve likely seen the term “thought leadership” thrown around. You may be asking, what exactly is thought leadership content and how do I create this type of content for my organization?
What Thought Leadership Is Not
It might be easiest to start with what thought leadership content is not. It’s not necessarily the most ground-breaking or innovative ideas out there.
- It doesn’t have to be something that qualifies for a TED talk.
- It’s also not a rundown of what makes your products or services the best in the industry. (That type of content is best suited for your B2B web design strategy.)
- This type of content is not a list of technical instructions either.
- Thought leadership is not simply created by the leaders in your industry.
What Thought Leadership Content Looks Like
Now we’ll take a look at what thought leadership content is and what it looks like.
Let’s break this down a little further.
Educational – Thought leadership content, particularly in terms of B2B content marketing, shares your expert knowledge with your audience. There should be clearly defined takeaways or a helpful explanation of a process.
Valuable Insights – What separates thought leadership from traditional blogging is that while it harnesses your expertise, it provides insights that your audience may not have realized or been aware of before. As we mentioned before, this doesn’t need to be ground-breaking but it goes beyond common sense. Insights could include best practices that you’ve learned over your 20 years in the industry and through trial and error.
Targeted to Professionals in Your Industry – This may seem obvious, but unless you have a clear image in your head of who the professionals are in your industry, your B2B content marketing efforts might be missing the mark. Thought leadership is not only for your prospects or customers, it’s also for the industry at large. It could be for the CEOs running companies in the industry you serve or for other vendors catering to your industry that you partner with.
Establishes You as a Resource – If you are producing B2B content that is educational and has valuable takeaways for professionals in your industry, you are starting to establish yourself as a resource. This is what truly separates great thought leadership content from a simple blog. When you start sharing your expertise, you aren’t giving away all your knowledge. You are educating your industry for the better. You want people to turn to you for helpful information and insights.
How to Craft Thought Leadership Content
When you begin crafting thought leadership content, you should always have the following question in mind:
As an expert in your industry, you likely have a bank of knowledge on what works, doesn’t work, and is critical to success in your industry. Start by drafting up a list of potential topics. This can include everything from thoughtful responses to current events impacting your industry to high-level strategy guidance. Once you have your list drafted up, tackle each topic individually with a clear outline, defined goals, and reader takeaways.
After you draft your content, ask yourself:
If you find the information you shared is a replica of what everyone else is saying, it’s not thought leadership. Don’t panic though, go back through and look at your writing to see if you can take a different angle or approach.