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What is thought leadership and why is it important?

By Georgina Kiely – digital content specialist

Thought leadership has become an integral part of a comprehensive marketing strategy for both B2B and B2C companies. It’s an effective technique for businesses of all shapes and sizes, giving companies the edge on competitors and establishing trust and credibility with their target audience, potential partners and fellow industry leaders.

What is thought leadership?

Thought leadership refers to a piece of content, generally long-form and in-depth, that demonstrates expertise, unique insight and experience within a particular sector. Unique doesn’t necessarily mean completely tearing up everything that’s come before, it simply means drawing on personal experience to further the exploration of a topic.

Who can be a thought leader?

A wide range of specialists within any number of sectors and disciplines could be considered thought leaders. These could range from but aren’t limited to:

  • CEOs and business leaders
  • Authors
  • Researchers
  • Specialists within a field

What makes a good thought leadership piece?

A successful thought leadership article will give the reader real insight and added value on the chosen topic. Thought leadership pieces will often add something new to the conversation around a popular theme, frequently exploring more controversial aspects or previously unexplored niches and emerging trends. The conclusion and overall stance will be obvious to the reader, the article needs to be laid out clearly in an easy to digest format and the writing will be engaging and attention-grabbing.

Strong thought leadership features will often draw on existing content and analysis to support their work and provide context. Any facts, figures or statistics will be well researched and backed up with references, rather than simply asserted and assumed. If the bulk of the feature is unsubstantiated and opinion-led without robust evidence, this can be a sign that the topic needs reviewing.

Good writing will always speak to the target audience, educate and inspire.

Why is thought leadership important for businesses and what are the benefits?

An original thought leadership piece can put your company on the map within your sector, establish your business as market-leaders and ensure that people associate your brand and your employees with expert, knowledgeable advice and innovative thinking.

A well-established thought leadership piece can:

  • Drive traffic, backlinks and shares as an evergreen piece of content
  • Increase brand awareness
  • Encourage client referrals and loyalty
  • Build authority and trust with partners and the public
  • Present new business opportunities

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