Three key challenges facing thought leadership
After working in thought leadership for many years across multiple sectors, writing about it, researching it and speaking to a wide variety of people across a spectrum of industries, I believe the key challenges facing thought leaders or a thought leadership campaign boils down to three things:
1. Thought leadership Engagement - are your senior leaders/executives engaged in your thought leadership position?
If not you will have a problem as the campaign is bound to be short-lived, it will miss the gravitas of senior commitment internally and externally, you will struggle to excite the target audiences for whom the thought leadership is intended, you will make limited inroads into making thought leadership part of the culture of your organisation and you will battle to convince your executives about the efficacy of thought leadership as a client and new business engagement strategy.
2. Thought leadership Connectivity - is your thought leadership campaign enabling your key client-facing people to connect with their clients and prospects? Did you include them in the journey? Do they feel part of this campaign or is it content that is thrust upon them at the last minute and they have to make use of it?
The risk to all of these questions that you can run the risk of your thought leadership material being perceived by your own people as ineffectual in helping them connect with your client or prospects resulting in them merely paying lip service to it at best and at worst not using it at all or dismissing it.
3. Thought leadership Packaging - are you maximising the opportunity to leverage your content as much as possible across every possible client or new business touch point? Have you researched your target audiences in terms of where they source their information, how they like to receive it, what they read, where they go online, whether they like face-to-face, etc?
These are critical questions that will guide you in deciding how you cut and dice your content for maximum effect. Furthermore, and only if relevant, are you packaging your content online for maximum search engine optimisation so that a) people can find you, and b) you feature on page one of Google for those specific search terms?