5 Excellent Examples of Thought Leadership Content

Tom Popomaronis | June 4, 2021

Just like there are different styles of public speaking or other ways of leading, there are also different styles for writing thought leadership pieces. The most effective thought leaders understand these various styles, and can acutely adjust depending on the readership audience or goal they have.

Here are the five different writing styles for thought leadership articles with an example that perfectly illustrates each one.

1. The Storyteller

The storyteller is an article that uses an engaging tale to convey a particular point or lesson to readers. In this example, instead of writing an article about why it might be a good idea to hire a hacker, Stu Sjouwerman illustrates his point on FastCompany using his own experience with hiring one. Humans learn well through personal stories, and storyteller articles use this fact to create thought-provoking, interesting content for the audience. This style keeps the reader engaged and eager to learn more.

2. The Educator

The educator is a thought leadership article that puts a new spin on an old topic and succeeds in helping the reader think about the subject in a new and enlightening way. A good educator article, like this one by Ted Pawela on Entrepreneur Magazine, encourages readers to retrain their minds to analyze and engage with information in a novel way and expose them to new information they may not have been familiar with before. In this case, it’s literally an article about thinking outside the box. The educator style is used for articles with the goal of teaching readers about a certain topic in depth.

3. The Actionable Executive

There’s a reason “listicles” are all over the web — they’re a popular and easy-to-digest article format. When this popular format is coupled with executive insights, it can very effectually present information to a reader clearly, concisely, and actionably. This Entrepreneur Magazine article by Sumit Aneja takes the five key metrics every business needs to track and briefly discusses each — a perfect example of keeping the information short and to the point for a quick yet informative read.

4. The Motivator

The motivator thought leadership article uses an inspiring story to start a fire in the reader to take action. In this example with FastCompany, Sharon Harris gives actionable advice on some of the qualities young, aspiring tech professionals should master. The motivator inspires the reader to accomplish their goals and keep going, no matter what the world throws at them.

5. The Lobbyist

The final style of a thought leadership article is the lobbyist. The lobbyist article fights to change the narrative about a particular topic. This Medium article by Daniel Anstandig argues for change and encourages the reader to think about a topic from his perspective; in this case, to challenge their preconceived notions about AI. This style is the most effective for an article meant to persuade readers and make a difference in an area you’re passionate about.

If you’re an executive who is embarking down the thought leadership path, our Executive Branding team can help – we’ve mastered these thought leadership styles and can not only help you find your voice but get it in front of readers who need it most.


EVP, Innovation
Tom is a serial entrepreneur, product development expert, and content management strategist. Every hour of every day (perhaps too many hours) he focuses on strategies for our Executive Leadership Branding clients to build a powerful and credible online reputation.