When it comes to content, many marketing and business executives are looking for a quick win. What is that? It may be, to quickly generate more visitors to the website or additional leads for the sales team. Irrespective of the message or actual value they are delivering in the market. As a result, marketing executives may get a nibble here or there – but they never really engage the audience in a meaningful and lasting way throughout the customer experience.
For thought leadership to positively impact business performance, it must be intentionally designed and delivered. It has to have a purpose beyond engagement and conversion. According to Thought Leaders International, “Thought Leadership is establishing a relationship with and delivering something of value to your stakeholders and customers that aligns with your brand/company value. In the process you go well beyond merely selling a product or service and establish your brand /company as the expert in that field and differentiate yourself from your competitors.”
To be a thought leader … you can’t waffle. You have to know precisely what you want to be known for. You have to commit to the thought leadership positions you want to own in the minds of your customers. Then you need to earn those positions consistently throughout the customer experience.
Thought leadership requires a long-term strategy, anchored by a commitment from the entire executive team to put themselves and other subject matter experts out there. Where is out there? It’s a place most companies won’t go. Why? Because it takes guts and an unwavering commitment. Commitment to draw a line in the sand. Take a laser-focused position on issues your target audience deeply cares about. A commitment to put unabashed thoughts and opinions out there for the world to judge. Maybe that’s why respected authors Craig Badings and Liz Alexander once said, “Thought leaders are brave; explore areas others don’t, raise questions others won’t, and provide insights others can’t.”
True thought leadership is about change. Changing how your target audience thinks about or views their world. How they should approach problems and challenges differently because of the “insights” you deliver. Do you have what it takes to be a thought leader? There is one metric that will help you answer that question: the degree by which your executive team is committed to locking down specific thought leadership positions that your company wants to own in the minds your customers. It all starts here.