Thought leadership means different things to people, or so it seems. In fact a quick survey on this term, even among just a few of your colleagues will give you an idea about how vast (and sometimes mystifying) this term really is.
Just to illustrate, say you want to go in for the latest ‘in’ haircut, who do you usually turn to? The hippest, fad following, fashion conscious colleague or perhaps your trusted confidante- the one you usually go to when you’re in dire need of life saving advice. Chances are you’ll do both, speak to your best friend but probably go with the recommendations of your colleague. This, my friend, is a form of thought leadership.
Defining thought leadership
Thought leadership can best be defined as an extraordinary content marketing that is useful, has indepth know-how about the said topic and is broad-casted by someone who is considered a guru on the subject. The articles, blog posts or content videos are comprehensive, inventive and aim to influence/ create/ build perceptions about the said business.
The motive of thought leadership is not to create content that sells; rather it is to provide relevant, contextual inputs that make a tangible difference in the follower’s lives. However, it’s not simply a philanthropic gesture, it is rather a more personalised way of reaching out to people who believe in the ideas and who empathise/ patronise the doctrine. That the followers endorse or choose to buy because they believe in the doctrine is an important, call to action response that is usually expected from this form of content marketing.
Forms of Thought Leadership
Thought leadership is a very powerful tool that has worked from time immemorial, in fact most of us have always relied on the guidance/ beliefs of subject matter experts, be it in the form of newspaper columnists or the close knit coterie of our friends and relatives. In the realm of the digital medium, this takes on the form of Thought Leadership Content Marketing.
While it can be said that the product/ business is a catalytic participant in the entire process, the thought leaders real aim is to create some sort of an entertainment, to please, create a CTA or maybe just to educate those who are already familiar with the product/ brand.
Our take on the different forms of Thought Leadership that are gaining traction in the digital marketing world-
Tried and tested, blogs have been a great way of publishing your thought leadership viewpoint online. Some choose to publish their blogs and maintain a relationship with their followers through a well connected chain of internal links, back links and subscription of their newsletters. Most others prefer to channel their views through a third party site or through an organisation’s website. This way the company leverages the thought leader and the followers who subscribe to his/her views.
Webinars are a very useful medium for creating an audio/ visual opportunity for disseminating viewpoints by the thought leader. It serves to allow for experts to share their experience of the product/ business and inform about possible upgrades in one seamless platform. The webinar can be uploaded for viewing later and can be easily shared, thereby creating a further prospect of propaganda.
Product based Thought Leadership
As is explicitly understood, thought leadership is not restricted to any one genre and there can be such SME’s in every field. So is the case with product based thought leadership, in which case the product manager/ expert publishes content that is credible and trustworthy, besides convincing enough so as to influence others of his/ her viewpoints on the product qualities and features.
Industry Thought Leadership
Effective thought leadership content for industry based viewpoints are effective not just for the followers/ users but even for the person in question. This is a very efficient form of content marketing wherein the thought leader is sharing his standpoints regarding the industry he/she operates in. The apparent perks of an effective leader are that he may even land a promotion, be invited to speak at other industry specific conferences or may even put him/her in touch with an greater authority on the subject.