Thought Leadership 101: Controlling the Conversation with Content

Thought Leader Seth Godin

Despite its rapidly growing cachet and respectability in recent years, content marketing is rarely a home run for businesses that attempt to employ it. One of the biggest reasons why so many are struggling in the content marketing game is that they fail to differentiate themselves from the pack in a very crowded field.

In many cases, the missing ingredient that’s being overlooked is thought leadership. A powerful concept that can quickly transform any brand’s online strategy, thought leadership can be tricky to master.

Thought Leaders Defined

Generally speaking, a thought leader is a person that is an undisputed authority in any given field who can shape the public’s perception of said field in a significant way. Today, brands can be thought leaders that are just as persuasive as individuals.

To understand this, look no further than tech companies like Apple and online publications like The Verge. Establishing your business as a thought leader in its niche should be a key goal for any content marketer.

Compelling Thought Leadership Advantages

Before embarking on the journey towards eventual thought leadership, one should be aware of the many benefits that come with attaining this position. For one, thought leaders can spur their followings to action more easily through their persuasive content. That means more sales, more conversions and ultimately an improved bottom line.

After all, those are the primary goals of a content marketing strategy. Furthermore, thought leaders can execute PR operations, damage control and branding with far less effort than those without such influence.

Creating a Movement via Content

Becoming a viable thought leader through high quality content has an all-encompassing impact on all channels of your online marketing strategy. Thought-provoking content boosts your status as a thought leader, which in turn helps to promote your content in a self-reinforcing feedback loop.

What you absolutely must do is inspire the masses and become the leader of a digital tribe a la Seth Godin, one of the preeminent thought leaders of the modern web. Attribution as quantified by things like Google Author Rank can often be a reliable indicator of overall clout.

Favored Tactics of Thought Leaders

If you want to attract a passionate crowd, staying a step ahead of the heard is clutch. Find a new use for an existing product or approach a problem from a new direction before anyone else does. Stay on the cutting edge by crowdsourcing your research on Quora and similar sites.

Delivering both value and wisdom in equal doses is integral. Once you make a name for yourself as an incisive and astute thinker, you can afford to be a bit more cautious when broadcasting your missives.

Blazing New Trails & Profiting

The key to establishing a business as a thought leader is rejecting the trite and embracing the uncommon. The vast majority of white papers found online simply regurgitate talking points and restate the obvious. The ability to make people look at problems from a different angle is the essence of a thought leader.

If your content doesn’t do this, don’t bother publishing it. Outside-the-box thinking is easy in theory but harder to achieve in reality. If you can’t bring that creativity, hire someone that can.


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Earl is a writer at Crowd Content and creates content for a mix of technology and mobile marketing websites. To work with Earl and other great freelance writers, create a free client account at Crowd Content today!

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