What do the Harvard Business Review, the New York Times and Fast Company have in common?
They all highlight contributions from thought leaders. In fact, many popular sites do. It is entirely possible for you to write thought leadership content that will be picked up by top publishers. These publications have high standards. They are looking for high-quality and insightful writing that will contribute to a larger conversation of interest to their readers.
Anyone can create thought leadership content, from scholars to CEOs to start-up founders. Increasingly, it is an important way of raising the profile of an organization’s work and expertise, and create trust between readers and company leadership.
If you’re interested in producing thought leadership content and sharing your expertise, you’re going to need to put together a strategy. Here are four things you need to do to create thought leadership content that hits the mark.
Demonstrate Your Credibility
For an editor to be interested in what you have to say, you need to make the case for why you are the right person to write about the subject matter. Assert your credentials — your position in your company, awards, knowledge of the subject, any previous publications — to show your authority to write about the topic.
And since you have the credentials and experience in the topic, draw on that experience as you write the piece. Show your audience how and why you know what you’re talking about.
Do Thorough Research
While you need to demonstrate your knowledge of the subject, don’t rely on that knowledge alone. Do your research. Talk to others with knowledge of the topic. Draw on data your company has, and any relevant external research. Thorough, properly cited, research will strengthen your article and made you seem more credible.
Don’t forget to subject your article to rigorous fact-checking. One error can make you lose a reader’s trust and undermine the credibility of the entire article.
Offer Unique Insights
It’s not enough to present thorough research that anyone could have found. You need to explain what it means. Go beyond a summary of information, or a recap of recent news or events. Offer your unique insights, rooted in your expertise and your, and your company’s worldview. Take a stance.
Editors and readers are looking to you for insight they can’t find elsewhere. Give it to them. If you’re explaining how customer preferences in your industry are changing, tell your reader what you think is driving the change and what it means for them. Draw connections your readers might not make. Provide the why behind the research.
Set Aside the Self-Promotion
Thought leadership is not self-promotion. You are not trying to sell your services; you’re trying to demonstrate your authority on a topic and offer real value to readers. If you want to see a direct link between thought leadership pieces to sales, set aside that thought. That isn’t the point of thought leadership content.
You get a ton out of writing thought leadership content, even if it doesn’t instantly lead to more sales. Well done thought leadership raises brand awareness, increases trust in your brand, establishes you as an expert, and demonstrates that your company cares about a particular industry or topic.
You’re running a marathon, not a sprint. Editors and readers will see right through you if you attempt to use thought leadership content as a way of selling your services or products, and they won’t like it. But if you slowly build your portfolio of thought leadership content in different publications, you’ll come to be a trusted source in your industry. And that will pay off in the long run.
Start Your Thought Leadership Journey
If you’re interested in producing thought leadership content but don’t know where to start, reach out and get in touch! RelationEdge Digital Agency can help you develop a thought leadership strategy, and can help you write it!