There is a lot of buzz in the industry about the importance of thought leadership communications. They can provide a rationale for reaching out proactively to clients, serve as the core of a marketing campaign and demonstrate that an organization is dynamic and up-to-date on industry and market activity. The best thought leadership pieces have two essential characteristics:
1. They are intelligent. They effectively confirm and reinforce the perception of an organization’s level of expertise. In so doing, they validate the conviction that the organization’s products and services are of the highest quality and that selecting them is a reasonable and advisable course of action.
2. They are relevant. They inform readers on issues of critical interest and then, implicitly or explicitly, align the organization’s capabilities with the recommended or prescribed responses to the issues. They offer a solution.
Too often, organizations focus on proving themselves the foremost authority in specialized areas, while neglecting to explain to readers why and how this distinctive expertise is important to them. To maximize the effectiveness of thought leadership, content must be cutting edge and “thoughtful,” but it must also be relevant, timely, engaging and actionable. It must include information that clients and prospects want and need. Technical information and statistics need to be balanced with references to concrete problems and workable solutions.
Thought leadership must convey information about what an organization offers and why, but it must also explain why what it offers is unique in the marketplace. In the end, the most effective thought leadership educates readers, offers tangible solutions to their problems and inspires them to act.