What is the purpose of thought leadership content?
The concept of thought leadership is nothing new, as it essentially involves educating, informing, or answering the questions of your audience from your point of view as an industry expert.
On traditional media like film (e.g., documentaries), television, and radio, people usually see or listen to thought leaders sharing their expertise, analyses, and opinions about certain topics or issues.
However, thought leadership content in the Internet Age plays a pivotal role in building the credibility or authority of a brand or the representative of a brand. It’s a strategy content marketers use to create a persona their target audience or market can relate to and depend on for information, advice, professional opinion, and so on.
But what is the purpose and value of thought leadership content? How does one know if someone is a thought leader? What are the qualities of a thought leader?
The goal of thought leadership content
The goal of thought leadership content is to differentiate your brand from the competition and to be seen as an industry authority and a go-to resource in your sector or profession.
Thought leadership content gives your brand the chance to offer a distinctive voice or viewpoint regarding certain issues or industry topics. This helps boost your brand’s significance, expertise, and popularity. Coming up with thought leadership ideas and content requires a lot of time for research and analysis. However, when planned and done right, the rewards will more than make up for the costs.
Becoming a thought leader requires commitment and consistency. You also need to possess thought leadership skills, including research, writing, storytelling, speaking, and presenting.
Aside from contributing in-depth or insightful industry-related pieces to various media outlets or publications, you can create and share informative, useful information on social media, podcasts, webinars, guides, etc.
You can also publish white papers and participate in conversations within the industry community, or respond to comments and questions left on your web pages. By constantly sharing a stream of information, analyses, or advice that’s relevant and useful to your audience, you can build a following as a thought leader.
Qualities of a thought leader
To become a thought leader, there are certain qualities you must possess. These are:
Authenticity: To be trusted, one must be trustworthy. Walk the talk; be sincere. Don’t be afraid to lend your unique, authentic voice in discussions that matter, and don't be afraid to disagree with your peers.
Passion: In order to convince others, you need to be passionate about what you’re talking about and love what you’re doing. Even if your original goal for thought leadership is to build brand awareness and generate leads, you can only pretend to be fully engaged in what you do for a limited time. You must want to share information, too, and know why it should matter to your audience.
Humility, empathy, and approachability: If you want to engage with your audience, they need to feel safe interacting with you. They need to know that they can communicate their concerns to you, and that you understand and genuinely care. Put them at ease, be respectful, and learn to speak their language.
Consistency: Thought leaders adhere to a system of beliefs that is internally consistent. In other words, you shouldn’t deviate significantly from the behaviour that people have grown to associate with and anticipate from you. While everyone experiences not-so-great days from time to time, one of a leader’s many responsibilities is to serve as a constant, unwavering resource for their team and the target audience.
Dynamism and openness: Change is constant. Although consistency is key when it comes to your principles, it’s also crucial to know when change is necessary. Therefore, you also need to evolve, progress, and move forward with whatever serves your audience and your business best.
Thought leadership example: Daphne Magna
Why did I want to be a thought leader and how did I get to be a thought leadership example?
Firstly, why? I always had a voice that I wanted to use to improve the world and the way people live - whether as an activist, educator or artist.
When it comes to the cause you are passionate about, you need to emphasize the importance of thought leadership content. As a thought leader in anti-Black racism, I am uniquely placed in the position of educator, consultant, content creator, and so on.
To be an example, you need to live and breathe your expertise. I live and breathe multicultural experiences, heartfelt communication and the fight against anti-Black racism. My goal is not only to inform and broaden and deepen people’s understanding of the Black experience and global situation but also to promote diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) in all aspects of life.
This is why I invest time in doing a lot of research, brainstorming ideas on what topics resonate with my audience, engaging with people, and publishing relevant, informative, and useful content. I try to write as much as I can because I believe in the urgency of the need to eliminate anti-Black racism, injustice, and other forms of inequality in our society.
And you should too. If you want to be a thought leader in whatever drives you, figure out how to share your passion and deep understanding with the world.
I founded Tough Convos, to have deep discussions about issues affecting the Black community and we are actively working on initiatives that contribute to the development of a more racially and inclusive society.
Find out how Tough Convos can help your organization create a unique DEI project or initiative that fosters equity and inclusivity. Schedule a call with us or register for our upcoming monthly event.