Beginner’s Guide to Thought Leadership

 In How Tos, Marketing Guides

Thought leadership is no longer just a buzz phrase batted around in marketing circles. Everyone from manufacturers to online retailers are asking what content marketing’s more sophisticated, more engaging and honestly, more effective cousin, is all about. When content strategies are being drawn up “thought leadership” is too often haphazardly noted down when really, what’s eventually produced is far from the definition of the term. If you’re new to this or just want to brush up on your theory we’ve put together a beginner’s guide to thought leadership that’ll help you tie down the very basics (with a business development spin, of course!)

 

So, what even is thought leadership?

Thought leadership is an extension of content marketing that presents measurable value. It poses ideas that demand attention and that are educational and provocative, moving beyond content marketing’s standard purpose of entertainment with brand-building functions. It shares insights and ideas from the author or brand’s point of view, mainly new ideas and ways of looking at challenges. This is very effective in business development when thought leadership is combined with a solution sell.

Thought leadership provides assistance to help prospects address an issue and therefore buy into the product or service on offer. At OSBOS we work with many innovative, early-adopter brands looking to grow in a new marketplace, so achieving buy-in through authentic means is critical to a successful growth strategy. Prospects will know and understand your product through repeated content marketing reach. However, convincing them that it solves their issues and encouraging them to adopt new ideas and novel ways of overcoming these issues is the domain of thought leadership.

Thought leadership allows us to paint a picture of how issues can be addressed; moving beyond the above-mentioned problem identification and into the realm of strategic thought. It’s this consultative, expertise approach that delivers the knowledge people require to trust you as a reliable source and add you to their shortlist of eligible choices.

 

What does good look like?

No beginner’s guide to thought leadership would be complete without a quick rundown of the three types of thought leadership content. This triad is hailed as being the most effective and true to discipline by industry experts:

INDUSTRY

News, trends, the future. Looks at how ideas constitute new opportunities, an alternative path and a novel approach to a problem.

PRODUCT

How-tos, best practice, innovation strategy. Give audiences the means of how to achieve with a product as the vehicle for a better path. You here share the process and the story, almost using content as the evidence of the thought leadership.

ORGANISATIONAL

Culture, workplace, talent. You here would reflect a unique vision and culture. Providing this insight humanises the brand and strikes the optimum balance between the personal and professional and authoritative and authentic.

 

Expected impacts and development

To achieve value from thought leadership, content must be led by the reputation-relationships-revenue 3 stage principle.

This means that all thought leadership should understand what prospects believe and develop a well-informed point of view, framed within the delivered value of a product and service. This will gradually help prospects to break free from what they believe and see a new possibility in the form of you. To remain top of mind, you must regularly create quality content that is relevant and tailored to a niche audience that will be curated online on your website, LinkedIn, guest articles and influencer partnerships using ideal customer profiles and strategic connections. Consistently delivering thought leadership content can result in:

 

EARLY RETURN

  • Network growth, engagement, inbound enquiries, shortlistings

MID RETURN

  • Bigger deals, shorter sales cycles

LATE RETURN

  • Loyalty, increased customer lifetime value

 

We hope you found our beginner’s guide to thought leadership insightful. OSBOS works with clients across locations including Cheshire, Staffordshire, Shropshire and Birmingham from our Gadbrook Park, Northwich offices with low-risk, scalable outsourced sales and outsourced marketing. To find out how we can help you maximise your content strategy and develop a strong thought leadership presence just call + 44 (0) 1606 822606 or email hello@osbos.co.uk.

 

 

Amber Holme
Head of Marketing
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